Baccarat is one of the most popular table games in Las Vegas. It is easy to play, has a low house advantage and offers the opportunity for high payouts. It is also a game favoured by Asian high rollers for cultural reasons. The game is also easy to manage in terms of money, with a fixed set of rules determining whether a third card will be drawn or not.
The objective of baccarat is to get a player or banker hand to be closest to nine points when the pips (the dots on a playing card that represent clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades) are added up. The hand of the player or banker which is closest to 9 wins the game. If a third card is not drawn then the hand with the highest value will win, and the other two hands will lose. There is a third bet, a tie, but this has a much higher house edge of over 14 percent. For this reason, most serious players stick to either the player or banker bets.
In the traditional version of the game, players take turns to place a stake for the ‘banker’ and ‘player’ hands. When the stakes for both of these hands equal the banker’s, the banker deals two cards to himself and then to the players. If the player or banker has a total of 8 or 9, it is known as a ‘natural’ and no third card can be drawn. If the total is between 5 and 9, a third card can be drawn depending on what the player’s second card is.
When the first round is complete, bets are placed on the outcome of the second round. The game process is then repeated until the banker or player has a winning hand. The winning bets are paid and the lost bets are collected. The casino takes a 5% commission on the winning banker’s bet and keeps this in a commission box at the side of the game table.
Online baccarat tables are usually smaller than traditional ones because the game is played in a virtual environment. Instead of taking turns placing bets, players simply click the chips that they wish to stake on the game screen. Players can also check the game rules for bet limits anytime they want.
Although the decision making involved in baccarat is not particularly complicated, there are some important things to remember. For example, it is important to know that the maximum total a hand can reach is nine and to understand how this number is determined. If a hand has more than nine, players must subtract the number ten from the total or drop the first numeral to determine its true value. In addition, some casinos offer 9:1 payouts on winning tie bets. While these bets are attractive, they are also risky and should be avoided if possible. Players should always check the payouts and house edges of all the different baccarat bets to decide which ones are worth betting on.