Baccarat is a classic casino card game and one of the most popular games for high rollers. It is played with a fixed set of rules and offers a low house edge. It is easy to learn and a very enjoyable game to play. It also does not require any knowledge of complicated card counting strategies like blackjack. Baccarat can be found in many casinos around the world and is available online in the five states that now allow online gambling: Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Michigan.
A simple game of chance, baccarat is very beginner-friendly, allowing players to make three bets in each round: Player Win, Banker Win and Tie. Cards are dealt out in pairs to the Player and Banker hands, which must match a total closest to 9. The highest value hand wins. In the case of a tie, players’ stakes are returned. The game can be played on small tables or a large table with up to fourteen players.
Unlike blackjack, which has many side bets to choose from, baccarat is simpler and only offers the Banker Win and Player Win bets. The Tie bet is a separate wager and offers higher odds, but has a much larger house edge of over 14 percent. This is why most serious players stick to the Banker and Player bets.
The game was formerly played with the banker’s and the player’s two-card hands concealed. This allowed the banker to draw a third card with the information he had in front of him, but it also enabled some form of collusion between player and banker where players signaled the cards they were holding to the banker. The current system of revealing the first two cards is more transparent and prevents this type of cheating.
In addition to the Player and Banker bets, online baccarat also offers several side bets including the Yen (Japanese) bet, which pays out at 9 to 1 if either the Banker or the Player wins, but has a much lower house edge than the other bets. The EZ bet is another popular option that gives players the chance to win nine times their original bet if they have a correct bet.
Those who prefer the more traditional game of baccarat can find a live version in Nevada’s casino high-limit rooms and some European and Asian casinos. The game is played on a large table with up to twelve or fourteen seats and a shoe that contains eight decks of cards, rotating around the table. It is also played in some land-based casinos with bigger table limits. High-rollers often flock to baccarat for the same cultural reasons Zender mentioned, as well as its low hold percentages, which can vary widely from month to month and quarter to quarter. In the long term, though, baccarat’s low hold percentage is offset by the large bets it attracts. Consequently, it is still an important source of revenue for some casinos.