Baccarat Game Rules
Baccarat is probably the most lavish and least understood
of all casino games. If you've ever been to a land casino,
and taken a stroll by the baccarat pit, you may have glimpsed
gorgeous women seated about the oversized table, and both
players and dealers clad in tuxedos. Perhaps you expected
to see special agent James Bond himself sitting in one of the chairs. If
you ventured a little closer, you may have seen enormously
large bets being placed on the table in this peculiar game
where the player makes absolutely zero decisions to determine
the outcome. Trying to take all this in at once may have left
you feeling perplexed and maybe even a bit intimidated. You may
have wondered: "why would someone want to play a game
where the rules and gameplay are already predetermined?"
Or, "what is it about the game that attracts so many high rollers
to the tables?" These quandaries are just
part of the mystique that is baccarat.
History | The Pit | Rules | Strategy | Final Say
casino: Red Flush
Baccarat is easier to learn than most people think. Only three betting options are available, and two of them offer very good chances for players.
Believed to originate in Italy around the mid-nineteenth century around the same time as the invention of modern bingo, baccarat - also know as Baccarat Punto or Punto Banco, was a spin-off
on the French game of vingt-et-un (21). The original rules of the game allowed
a player to also act as the bank. This version is still found in
some European casinos. This option caters exclusively to the high
roller, because few players are willing or able to put up the bankroll
required to be the house. During the 20th century, baccarat remained
a fixture in most European casinos, and didn't make a strong showing
in the United States until the late 1960s to early 1970s.
In this period, Las Vegas was still entangled in a web of bad publicity
related to various casino operators skimming profits and other scandals
involving the mafia. Back then, the town was still viewed as a haven
for outlaws - far from the family friendly, international tourist
destination the city is today. In an attempt to 'class up'
the casinos and cater to a broader audience, operators brought in
the first baccarat games. They understood that baccarat was a game
of style and sophistication, whose roots ran deep in the European
gaming culture. They also saw it as an opportunity to bring in more
high rollers. Apparently, it worked, as baccarat pits have become
a fixture at every modern casino.
Baccarat tables are usually found apart from the main casino floor,
off in their own section known as a 'pit'. If you've ever
seen one, then you have likely noticed the luxurious appointments
that grace these pits, such as plush chairs, fine artwork, and the
dealers all wear tuxedos. So why are these pits apart from everything
and so lavish? The main reason is because they cater to the high
roller. It is not unusual for players to use 1,000 credit markers (and higher)
as betting units. The casino management is interested in making
their elite clientele feel comfortable, so you won't find the clamouring
sounds of slot machines near the pit. The other formal
touches are pretty much a given. Don't feel intimidated, though.
Even the low-roller can play and enjoy baccarat, as long as you
understand the rules before you bet - like in any game.
The object of baccarat is to hold 2 or 3 cards, which count 9, or
as near to 9 as possible. The values of the cards are: face cards
and tens are worth zero, aces are 1, and any other card is worth
its face value. Units of 10 points are disregarded so that 9+7 count
as 6, not 16.
The dealer will deal out cards to both the player and dealer. Depending
on the value the initial 2-card hands, a third card may be dealt
to either one of the hands. Ultimately the winning hand will be
the one closest to 9. When a tie arises, that is considered a push,
just like in blackjack, and the bet is returned to the player. You
may also bet on the tie, which is paid off at 8 to 1.
In baccarat, you have the choice of betting on either the player's hand or the
dealer's hand to win. When you play baccarat at online casinos,
to place a bet, you simply click either the 'Player'
or 'Banker' button that corresponds to an area of the table and type of wager. The only other playing
option is the 'Tie' bet, which is strongly recommend against, mainly
because it carries the poorest odds of the three. An additional strategy you'll want to avoid is the martingale betting system, which has a player doubling a bet after each losing wager in hopes of leveling out. The best bet in baccarat is for the banker
to win. The banker bet actually carries a positive expectation for the
player, meaning the odds are in favor of the player walking away
with more money in the long run. However, the casino is wise to
the discrepancy, so a 5% commission is taken on all banker bets to even
the advantage. Similar to sports betting, the commission is called
"vigorish" or "vig" for short. Even with the
5% house take, the banker bet still offers better odds - if only slightly -
Baccarat is a game wholly its own that can be enjoyed by both high
and low rollers alike. It provides a relaxing respite from the other
games found on the casino floor, and offers a sophistication
that is reminiscent of the famous casinos of Europe and Monte Carlo. The next time you're playing at a favorite gambling hall, be it online
or on-land, try a few hands of this unique and interesting
table game, and you may discover the allure of baccarat.
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