Baccarat Basics

Baccarat is a table game played with eight decks of cards. A table is covered with green felt and marked with numbered areas where players place their chips. Players may choose to bet on either the Player Hand or the Banker’s Hand. Betting on the Tie is also available, but it is not common because of the low payout – 8-1 for a $20 bet.

When a game begins, a designated player acts as the banker and deals. The position of banker passes counterclockwise throughout the course of a session. A player may continue to bet on the Player Hand or Banker’s Hand until they lose or win. If a player wishes to change sides, they must first withdraw their wagers in reverse play order.

In some circles, the role of banker is auctioned, with the first person willing to risk the largest amount winning. However, this is not the case in most casinos. The banker sits opposite the croupier with the discard area between them and on both sides are the punters (traditionally, ten such players constitute a full table). The croupier deals four cards, two to the player, one to themselves, and one to the banker. If any of these hands total an eight or nine, the result is announced and the game is finished; if not, drawing rules are applied to determine whether the banker should receive a third card.

After the initial round is over, the banker resets their bank to whatever they wish. They may also retire from the banker role if they wish to, but will not be replaced until a new player has passed in play order. A seated player may not bet on the same side of the table more than once in any given session.

The game of baccarat is not only popular in Asia, but has also become an integral part of European culture. The game has been adapted for several movies and TV shows, most notably the 1956 French heist film Bob le Flambeur, in which the main character James Carter plays baccarat with his new girlfriend Genevieve. It was also the game of choice for the fictional spy James Bond, created by Ian Fleming.

A version of baccarat called “punto banco” is the overwhelming majority of games played in casinos in North America, Europe, and Australia. These games are often referred to simply as “baccarat.” In punto banco, the casino banks both the banker and player’s hands and commits to playing out each of these hands according to fixed drawing rules. This is a departure from more historic baccarat, which was not banked by the casino and did not have a specific association with the player or banker hands.