Baccarat is a game that has long been associated with opulence and wealth. From the sticky floors of California card rooms to the tuxedo-laden casinos of Monaco, the game is an icon of high stakes gambling and has appeared in numerous films. It is the game of choice in the opening scene of the first Bond film, where 007 matches wits with Sylvia Trench over a green baize table.
A game of baccarat involves betting on either the player or banker hand, with the goal being to get closer to nine than the opposing hand. If the players’ two cards total more than nine, they must drop the first digit to determine their true score. A seven and a six, for example, would yield a total of 15, which must be dropped to 5. Aces count as one point, while face cards and other 10-count cards count as zero.
There are only a few things to know about the rules of baccarat in order to play the game correctly. It is important to remember that this is a casino game, so the outcome of each round will be determined by chance. This is why you must always place a wager on the winning side and avoid betting on the losing side.
The game begins when the dealer deals two cards to each player and to the banker. The player must stand if dealt a hand with a score of 8 or 9 (known as a “natural”), and the banker must hit on hands that total five or less. A third card is drawn if the player or banker has a total of 6 or 7. In case of a tie, bettors will receive 8-to-1 payouts. Score sheets are usually available at baccarat tables so that players can keep track of their scores.
In addition to the cultural reasons Zender outlined, baccarat is also a popular game for high rollers because it has one of the lowest house edges in the casino. Its house edge on the player and banker bets is around 1.2 percent, while the tie bet has a higher house edge of over 14 percent.
While the game of baccarat has a glamorous reputation, it is not without its drawbacks. According to MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren, high-rolling players from outside of Asia prefer games like blackjack and roulette over baccarat. The reason is that baccarat requires a large bankroll, and many high-rollers do not want to put up that much money for an unknown outcome.
While the game is slow and ritualistic, it has become a favorite of many casino players for its low house edge and high payouts. The game is also gaining popularity in the United States, with a number of casinos offering live tables with minimum bets of $20 to $25 per seat. While most American players stick to the player and banker bets, the game has a third option: a tie bet, which pays out eight-to-one, but has a house edge of over 14 percent.