Baccarat is the high-stakes card game famously played by Sean Connery in the James Bond movies. It is often played in a separate room in casinos, with a special table, and the banker’s and player’s areas blocked off from the rest of the casino action. It is also one of the few games where players can bet in real cash. In American casinos, this is done with $100 bills, while in European casinos, it is usually done using high-denomination chips.
A dealer deals two hands, called the Player’s hand and the Banker’s hand, to players who have placed bets on the outcome of those hands. The Player’s and the Banker’s hands are evaluated for their strength, or closeness to nine. The winning hand is the one that is closest to nine points. Points are added by counting the value of each card. Picture cards and Tens count zero points, numbered cards are worth their face value, and Aces are worth one point. Once the total reaches a double digit, the second digit becomes the value of the hand.
If the total is 9 or higher, the hand is a natural and wins. If the total is 8 or 9, the Banker’s hand wins. If the total is 6 or 7, the Player’s hand wins. If the total is 0 or 5, the Player’s hand draws. In a tie, bets on the Banker and Player are returned (no winner or loser) and bets on the Tie pay out eight to one.
The game’s low hold percentage and the relative infrequency of ties make it a favorite among high rollers. It is one of the few games where the Banker bet has a lower house edge than the Player bet. The third option, the Tie bet, has a much larger house edge and is rarely used.
It’s important to have a plan before playing baccarat, and a clear understanding of how the game works. Decide how much you’re willing to spend in advance, and leave the table when you’ve reached your loss limit. This is the best way to keep your gambling a fun and safe experience. You don’t want to find yourself getting swept up in the excitement of the game, and then be unable to stop yourself from spending more than you can afford to lose.