If you are looking for a table game that has the James Bond aura of glamor, elegance and prestige that makes Vegas casinos so unique, Baccarat is the one for you. The game of choice among high-rollers and Asian gamblers, it has gained a foothold in American casinos, as well. Baccarat is a simple, straightforward and slow-moving game of pure chance with only three possible outcomes: player win, banker win or tie.
The croupier (dealer) deals from a shoe consisting of eight decks of cards. The game is played on a large table covered in green felt with numbered areas where bets may be placed. There is also a separate box for placing bets on the banker or player hands. The box is marked with a “B” for banker and a “P” for player. Players choose a seat and place their chips in one of the numbered areas around the table. The croupier will deal two cards to the Player and Banker hands and a third card if the first two are tied. The score of the hand is determined by adding up the total value of all the pips on the cards (aces are zero, while picture cards and tens count as one). The winning hand is the one that comes closest to nine.
Baccarat has the lowest house edge of all casino games. It has a house advantage of only 1.2 percent on the Player and Banker bets, compared to 8.5 percent on the Tie bet, which is a gimmicky side-bet that is rarely made by serious players. A player can make a third bet on the tie, which pays out 8-to-1, but this is a very risky wager and should be avoided.
As a general rule, the more money you bet on the Banker hand, the better your chances are of winning. The reason is that the banker has a lower house edge than the player, and this difference adds up over thousands of rounds of play.
However, you must be aware of the different house edges between Player and Banker bets, which can lead to big losses if you are not careful. The best way to prevent this is to follow a simple strategy that involves flat betting and recording the results on your baccarat score sheet. Then, if the pattern trends are zigzag or streak, you can change your bets accordingly. But always remember to set a loss threshold before changing your bets. This will help you to control your bankroll and avoid getting too greedy. This is a critical factor to any successful gambling strategy. The more disciplined you are, the more you will enjoy your time at the tables.