The game of Baccarat is one of the most popular casino games in the world and it can now be enjoyed on PCs, mobile phones and tablets in offline casinos as well as at a growing number of online operators. This highly stylised card game is favoured in Asia and has long been associated with high-stakes gambling.
In the United States, baccarat is commonly known as Punto Banco and it can be played in all five US states that offer legal online gambling. It is a simple game with only three major wagering options – betting on the player hand, the banker’s hand, or a tie. The tie bet is not recommended, however, because it offers very poor odds of winning.
A standard baccarat table is about the size of a craps table and can seat up to 12 players. It is covered in green felt and numbered areas for players to place their chips. The croupier, who also acts as the dealer, deals two cards for himself and then two for each bettors side. Each hand is then compared and the one with the highest value wins. Only the rightmost digit of the total is taken into account, so a 9 and a 6 will have different values even though they are the same total.
The standard baccarat rules differ from one casino to the next, but generally the game is played with eight standard decks. This reduces the house edge on the Banker bet but increases it for the Player and Tie bets. Most casinos also charge a 5% commission on all winning Banker bets.
A variety of side bets are also available at some online baccarat sites, although these tend to cost significantly more than the main bets and should therefore be avoided. The game is also sometimes offered with a number of different betting systems, such as the Martingale strategy which is usually recommended for roulette outside bets but can also work in Baccarat.
Baccarat’s glamour and prestige has made it a favourite of James Bond films, appearing in several of the franchise’s titles including Dr. No; Thunderball; On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; and GoldenEye. The baccarat scenes in the latter two films are especially lavish and are filmed on a specially constructed set inside a huge glass box.
The history of baccarat is a little hazy, but it is believed to have originated in Italy before spreading to France where it became favored amongst the elite gamblers of the period. The game eventually travelled to North America and became the fad of high rollers, who often played it in private rooms away from the main casino. The game has also gained popularity in the modern era thanks to its appearances in a wide range of TV and cinema shows. Despite its glamorous trappings and history, it is a simple game of chance and there is no guaranteed way to win every time you play.