If you’re looking for James Bond-style gambling in Las Vegas with a minimum bet, baccarat is the game for you. Often found in high-limit gaming areas, this casino table game is simple to play and offers three possible outcomes: a player win, a banker win or a tie. Each player places their wager and the dealer does the rest. The object of the game is to get closer to nine than the other hand by evaluating each card’s value. Cards numbered two through nine carry their pip value, while picture cards and tens count as zero. Aces count as one point. If the total of the players’ cards exceeds ten, the first digit is dropped (for example, a seven and a six would be valued at 13).
Baccarat is played with between 7 and 14 seats for players and a dealer’s area. A card is dealt to each player and the banker. The Player and the Banker are compared and the hand that is closest to nine wins. There is a 5% commission charged on winning Banker bets, which effectively reduces the payout odds for that bet to 9 to 1. A Tie bet pays 8 to 1 and may be available at some casinos.
There’s no strategy that can guarantee consistent winnings at baccarat. It’s a game of chance with no skill involved, and any claims that there is some foolproof method to winning at it are likely bogus. If someone tries to sell you something claiming they’ve cracked the code to guaranteed success, run away.
While many Americans think of baccarat as a game that requires some degree of skill, it’s actually 100 percent luck and no skill at all. The only casino game that is more volatile than baccarat is roulette. The volatility of the game means that profits can plummet one month and soar the next.
Whether you’re a fan of the game or not, you can’t deny the fact that it’s an incredibly popular game in Asia. Macau casinos now make more money from baccarat than Vegas does, and high-rolling Asian tourists have made it their game of choice. Even on the Strip, where most visitors aren’t familiar with the rules of the game, baccarat accounts for 18 percent of the casinos’ total win.
But the popularity of baccarat is not without controversy. Some critics claim that the game is not only unwinnable but also unfair, because it benefits large groups of people at the expense of others. Others point out that it’s easy to understand the game’s rules, and argue that casinos should pay more attention to their Asian customers.