The most popular casino card game in the world, baccarat has long been associated with elegance and class. Its popularity has spawned numerous variations, including side bets and Mini Baccarat. While many players enjoy these extras, they are often a distraction from the main game of predicting which hand will win. In a nutshell, the goal is to get your hand as close to nine points as possible.
The game is played from a table with anywhere from seven to 14 seats for players and a dealer area. The dealer passes out cards to the Player and Banker hands. The banker only gets two cards, while the player’s hand is dealt three cards. If either of these hands is closer to a nine than the other, the winner is declared. If a tie is determined, all bets lose.
While baccarat has been around for centuries, its popularity exploded in the 20th century as high rollers from Asia made it their game of choice. In fact, it’s now the most popular game in Macau, where casinos make more money playing baccarat than in Las Vegas.
According to Bill Zender, a former Nevada Gaming Control Agent and author of The Book on Managed Casino Games, Asian high rollers have become especially fond of baccarat because it suits their culture and sensibilities. He says that the game has become even more favored by Asian high rollers over the past twenty years.
In addition to betting on the Banker or the Player, baccarat offers side bets that pay out based on the outcome of specific events during the round. These bets can be placed after the deal, and they vary in size. The smallest side bet is the Banker and Tie bet, which pays out if the banker wins the round or ties with the player. The larger bets are the Player and Banker winning bets, which pay out if the player or banker wins the round.
After all the bets are placed, the dealer deals two cards to the Banker and Player hands. If a third card is needed, the banker can draw one or stand depending on the result of the first two cards. The Banker can also choose to ask for a third card if the player total is 5 or more.
When you play baccarat online, the game works almost identically to the live version in a Las Vegas casino. Once you’ve mastered the basics, set a win limit and cash out when you reach it. This will help you avoid getting too sucked into the game and losing your hard-earned cash.