Baccarat is one of the oldest games in the casino, known for its high-roller pits and lavishly decorated tables. For decades, the game was kept relatively under wraps and only played by the elites of the gambling world. This is probably why baccarat players are often treated like royalty and are even roped off from the rest of the casino floor.
Unlike roulette or blackjack, baccarat is a game of simple rules and straightforward betting options. Its rules allow players to place bets on either the Player, Banker or Tie, making it easy for any novice to get started. Baccarat is also a good choice for players with a small budget because its minimum bets are much lower than those of other table games.
Players bet on the outcome of a round by placing chips on a baccarat table or on a virtual baccarat game. After placing their bets, the cards are dealt and the player or banker must then choose whether to stand or draw a third card. If the player’s hand totals 8 or 9, it is considered a ‘natural’ and no third card will be drawn. A natural is the best possible result in baccarat and is one of the most lucrative wagers available.
The history of baccarat dates back as far as 1490, when it was introduced in Italy and France as an alternative to chemin de fer. It became very popular among France’s elite gamblers and soon spread to North America, where it was renamed Baccarat. Despite its shaky history, baccarat is still a very popular game and remains one of the most thrilling and prestigious games to play in casinos.
In the modern version of the game, eight standard 52-card packs are shuffled together and dealt by a croupier from a dealing box or shoe. Two cards are then dealt to the Player and the Banker, with the aim of winning a hand with a total closest to 9. The game’s name is derived from the Italian word baccara, meaning zero, which was the original point value of the face cards.
A baccarat table is usually marked with a green felt covering and numbered sections indicating player and banker bets. The game is supervised by the croupier who takes the bets and pays out winning bets. A croupier must wear a white suit and a black tie, and a microphone is used to announce the results.
In addition to the Player and Banker bets, most baccarat games offer a Tie bet that offers charming odds of 8 to 1 against. This is a risky bet and players should only place this bet when they have enough money to afford to lose it. Some casinos also offer unique side bets, with higher payouts but a much higher house edge than the usual bets.