The Basics of Baccarat

Baccarat is a popular card game in many casinos. Players place bets on either the player’s hand, banker’s hand, or a tie. The winning hand is the one that totals closer to nine. All cards two to nine hold their face value, while aces are worth one point. There are some rules that should be understood before playing the game.

The first thing to understand about baccarat is that it’s played with real cash. Baccarat tables are often found in special alcoves on the casino floor, away from the hustle and bustle of the action. In America, the game is often played with $100 bills, though some casinos have specialized high-denomination chips that look more like European high-stakes chips. In Europe, players use oblong “plaques” for their bets.

Whether you’re at a live or online casino, you should familiarize yourself with the rules of the game before betting your cash. There are a few differences between the versions of baccarat that you’ll find in different casinos, but each version is similar in that they offer a low house edge and require an average of just 5% commission on winning bets.

You’ll be dealing with six decks of standard cards in the game of baccarat. The first player to act as the banker puts down an initial stake, and then players take turns adding to it counterclockwise until their total matches or exceeds the banker’s bet. Once the banker’s bet is equal to the amount added by all players, the banker will deal the cards.

After the cards are dealt, it’s time to calculate the hand’s total. The winning hand is the one that totals closest to 9. If a player’s hand contains a pair of 8s, they’re deemed a “natural,” which automatically wins the hand. If the banker’s hand has a pair of 8s or 9s, it also wins. Then, a third card is drawn for the hand to determine its overall value.

It’s important to remember that when a total goes over 9, only the rightmost digit is used. So a hand that has an eight and a five will have a total of 6, not 15. This makes the game much more predictable than some other card games, and it helps explain why it has such a low house edge.