Baccarat is an elegant casino game whose trappings and glamour make it the most recognizable of all table games. The game, a favorite of high rollers and the elite, generates more revenue than any other table game in land-based casinos. In Macau, for example, bets of $100,000 a hand are not uncommon. But can the game of luck and chance have staying power as the casino patron base shifts?
Players place wagers on which of three outcomes will win the round: the player’s hand winning, the banker’s hand winning, or a tie. If the player’s hand wins, they receive a payout of 1:1. If they bet on the banker’s hand winning, they will pay a commission of 5% to the house. And if they bet on a tie, the payout is 9:9.
The game can be played with anywhere from seven to 14 seats for players and a dealer’s area. Two hands of cards are dealt, one to the player and one to the banker. Each hand is compared to a nine-point scale, with picture cards and the number 10 equaling zero points and all other cards counting as their face value. An ace counts as one point.
At the beginning of each round, a single player is designated as the banker. Then in counterclockwise order, the players declare whether they will match the banker’s bet or increase their own in an attempt to beat it. If anyone decides to go “bank,” they must place their bet in the betting box marked for the banker’s side, and all other bets must be placed in the box marked for the player’s side.
Once all bets are placed, the Player and Banker hands are compared. If either hand is a “natural” (valued at eight or nine), the winner is declared. Otherwise, additional cards are drawn until the winner is determined. If a tie is declared, all bets are returned.
In addition to the main bets, baccarat players can also bet on a variety of side bets. These bets generally cost more than the Player and Banker bets and are not recommended for new players. However, these bets can add to the excitement and enjoyment of the game. Depending on the casino, side bets can include: