How to Beat the Casino at Baccarat

Baccarat is a simple game that’s easy to play. It is a table game where players place wagers on either the Player hand, Banker hand or Tie. The goal is to correctly guess which hand will come closest to nine when all the pips (the dots on the cards that represent clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades) are added up. Two cards are dealt to the Banker hand and the Player hand, sometimes a third card is drawn for both hands, which is known as a “natural” or the “8.” If the player or banker hand wins the round, the player will receive a payout equal to their bet amount. The casino however, takes a 5% commission on winning bets placed on the Banker hand.

Despite its elementary nature, baccarat generates a substantial chunk of Nevada’s casino table-gaming revenue. The game’s popularity has even spawned a few variations on the rules, and additional ways to bet and play.

In February 2010, for instance, Nevada casinos won more than $206 million from baccarat players. That compares to a little over $400 million in the same month for blackjack and less than $180 million for both craps and roulette combined.

While there are plenty of shady legends about the origin of baccarat, the game has been around for centuries. The earliest references to the game, though, come from France.

In the modern world, baccarat is largely dominated by Asia. It’s the most popular game in Macau, which dethroned Las Vegas as the world’s biggest gambling destination in 2006. In Macau and Singapore, baccarat accounts for nearly 18 percent of total casino revenue. On the Las Vegas Strip, where many visitors don’t even know how to pronounce the name of the game, baccarat brings in just over 17 percent of total casino win.

Baccarat is easy to play, but the long-term house edge is a bit higher than some other casino games. That doesn’t mean you can’t beat the casino at baccarat, though. Just keep the following tips in mind to minimize your losses.

The first thing to do is decide on which hand you want to bet on – Player, Banker or Tie. The Player and Banker bets are the only bets you can make before cards are dealt, but you may be able to change your bet after the deal.

When the dealer deals out the cards, the Player and Banker hands are compared. Those with the highest totals win. If the total of the Player hand is 8 or 9, no third card is drawn. When the Banker hand totals 8 or 9, it’s called a ‘natural’ and can’t lose, while a 9 is the best possible score in baccarat.

Then you need to decide on a bet amount. The minimum bet is usually $10, but you can also bet much more than that. You can also place side bets, which are wagers on the outcome of the Player or Banker hand. These bets typically pay out at 1:1, but they will cost you more than the main bets.