Baccarat is a casino table game with few complexities and plenty of James Bond-style gambling fun. With just three possible outcomes – Player Win, Banker Win and Tie – players bet on either the Player or the Banker hand and the dealer does all the work.
Unlike other casino games, the banker hand is not controlled by a house rule but rather by the number of bets placed on each hand. When the totals are equal (known as a tie), further cards are dealt to decide which hand wins. There are two main versions of the game – Punto Banco and Chemin de Fer. Punto Banco is the most popular version of the game and has the simplest rules.
The game begins with the deal of seven or 14 cards, depending on which variant is being played. A croupier deals the cards to a player’s area and the banker’s area. The player’s and banker’s hands are compared, with the aim of getting closer to nine than the opposing hand. The values of the player’s and banker’s cards are calculated: picture cards and tens are worth zero points, numbers from 2-9 count at their face value and aces are worth one point. If a player’s hand is over nine, the first digit is dropped (for example, a six and a four would result in 15 but dropped to five). Score sheets are available for players to keep track of their progress.
In a Player Win, the Player’s hand must have a total of 8 or 9 to win. If the total is less than 8, a third card must be drawn. A Hand with a total of 8 or 9 is referred to as a “natural” and cannot lose. The only exception to this is if the banker’s hand has a total of 8 or 9, in which case the hand is a winner by default.
Baccarat’s popularity as a glamorous casino game has been fueled in part by its appearance in several films and TV shows. In the 2007 film Rush Hour 3, protagonist James Carter meets up with his female accomplice Genevieve as they gamble in a Paris casino. They play the game as a heist but end up winning big thanks to their superior skill and luck.
Baccarat is easy to learn but not necessarily simple to master. The best approach is to focus on the basic rules of the game and try to get as close to a perfect score as possible. However, it is important to remember that this is a game of chance and no amount of skill can guarantee a win every time you play.