Baccarat, for some reason, is a game cloaked in mystery for most American players – even though it is available at most American and European land based and online casinos. With no real strategy needed and a relatively low house edge, land based casinos often relegate the game to a secretive back room open only to high rollers – after all, when the customer is just as likely to win as the house, larger pots are attractive to both sides.
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As you will see in this brief introduction to basic Baccarat, the mystery really is just part of the packaging. Now, with top online casinos bringing Baccarat out of the back room and onto your computer screen, you too can start winning at the game once reserved for the rich and famous.
Baccarat is a table game played using cards. Two hands are dealt – one to the Banker and one to the Player. A hand consists of two or three cards and the one with a total that is closes to nine wins. Number cards retain their regular value, except for 10 which, along with the face cards, carries a value of 0. When the total of a hand is over nine and goes into double digits, the first digit is always ignored, so a 19 becomes a 9 and a 11 becomes a 1. The value of the first two cards determines whether or not a third card is dealt – the Player hits if the total is below six a third card is dealt. The Banker's decision to take a third card is determined both by the face value of the original two cards dealt and the third card dealt to the Player. If the face value of the original two cards is an eight or a nine, this is called a natural and it is an automatic win unless the other player has a natural nine.
Betting on Baccarat
Wagers in favor of either hand can be placed by anyone at the table. Wagers can also be placed in favor of a tie. Banker and Player wins usually pay even money, but Banker bets are subject to a low percent commission. This is because Bankers are perceived as winning more often. Because the seldom occur, ties payout 8:1, but only if you've placed a tie bet.
Electronic gaming software like Microgaming and Playtech give you the option of playing in a live game that includes a live dealer and other players or with a computerized dealer using RNG (Random Number Generator) technology to select the cards. When playing with a live dealer, online, at the best Las Vegas casino or at the best Atlantic City casino, the basic rules remain the same. Be sure to double check minimum and maximum wager requirements, as well as the house edge and house commissions on different types of wagers. This is a fast paced game, so be sure to pay attention – you can easily forget to pick up your winnings and find that you've automatically made a bet that was unintended.