Baccarat oozes sophistication and is often associated with high-rollers in opulent casinos. But despite its reputation as an esoteric game for sophisticated high-rollers, the game is actually easy to learn and fun to play. And while many players are intimidated by the sexy tuxedo-clad dealers and opulent rooms, it’s more than worth the effort to give it a try.
The simplest way to understand the game is that players wager on either the Player hand, the Banker hand or a Tie. The dealer then deals two cards to each, and the goal is to get a total closest to nine. The Player and Banker hands pay out based on their odds, but tie bets offer much higher returns (with the player paying a commission on the Banker winning hand).
Traditionally, the games was only offered in a small pit with pricey table minimums, but over time, the game has been made more accessible. While it still isn’t common to see a table with less than $20 minimums, the game has found its way onto casino floors and can be played for as little as a $5 bet.
In fact, according to Snow, baccarat is now a major contributor of revenue to casinos worldwide. “In Macau, you’ll see super high-limit players betting $100,000 a hand,” she says. “And in Singapore, it’s not uncommon for bets to exceed $500,000 a hand.”
While the game may look intimidating to those who haven’t tried it before, the reality is that the rules are simple and the rules are the same online as they are in person. Whether you choose to bet on the Player, Banker or Tie, you’ll make your bet before the cards are dealt and you can adjust your stake for each round.
Another simple tip to remember when playing baccarat is to always play within your bankroll. You can’t win if you run out of money, and the best strategy is to split your wins in half and only use the winner to continue playing. This will prevent you from getting too excited or losing it all in one hand.
Besides the basic wagers on the player, banker or tie, there are a number of side bets available. These vary by establishment and platform, but the most common include: