How to Play Baccarat

Baccarat is that exciting card game you see in movies, with men in tuxedos and women in posh evening dresses putting down chips as the dealer hands out cards. The game exudes refinement and seems intimidating at first, but with the right tips, anyone can learn to play Baccarat.

Baccarat, also known as Punto Banco, is one of the oldest and most popular casino games. It is played on large tables in the high-roller rooms of casinos and requires a minimum bet of $25, $50 or $100. It is slow-moving and almost ritualistic, but it is easy to learn. Once you get the hang of it, baccarat can be an excellent moneymaker.

Before the game begins, players place their bets on either Player, Banker or Tie. Then the dealer deals two cards to each hand, and the winner is determined by which is closest to nine points. The game is usually dealt from a six- or eight-deck shoe. Picture cards, tens and face cards equal zero points; all other cards are worth their face value; and the ace equals one point.

When a hand totals more than nine, subtract 10 from the point count to determine the actual value of the hand. If a hand totals nine, it is considered a natural and all placed bets are paid out. If the Banker hand and the Player hand have a total of 8 or 9, they are both considered a natural as well, and the game is over.

Once the point counts are calculated for each hand, a third card may be drawn to either or both of the hands. If the second card results in a Player or Banker win, all bets on that outcome are paid. If a third card results in neither a Player or Banker win, the game continues with the next round.

After the third card is drawn and the points are calculated for both hands, a decision must be made as to whether a fourth card will be drawn. If the Player or Banker hands have a point total of 8 or 9 in the first two cards, they are considered to be a natural and are both paid out. Otherwise, a fourth card is drawn.

Some online baccarat sites offer side bets, although these vary by platform and establishment. Some of these wager that the player or banker will receive a pair on the deal, paying 11:1 odds. There are also bets on the number of total points in a hand, but this bet pays only 1:3 odds. These side bets can cost more than the main bets, so it is best to avoid them. This will help you keep your bankroll intact and give you more time to enjoy the game. If you are not sure what to bet, consult with a knowledgeable croupier before placing your bets. This will ensure that you are not making a costly mistake. This is especially important if you are new to the game.