Baccarat is a card game that's extremely popular, especially among high rollers. Before Internet casinos came along, this game was only played among the social elite with elaborate formal affairs in closed-off, high roller sections of the casino. Now you can play for low stakes online, and that's great for a lot of players because it's a low-variance game with a low house advantage if you avoid the trap bets. We're going to show you how this game works and how to play it without getting burned.
Unlike blackjack where each individual player gets a hand, the dealer will only deal out two hands in this game no matter how many players are at the table. The two hands are called the "banker hand" and the "player hand." The players bet on either of these hands before the cards are dealt, and then a standardized dealing process is used to deal out the hands and determine a winner. Even though cards are used for this game, there isn't much skill involved aside from avoiding the sucker bets.
The available bets for this game are the player, the banker or a tie. Sometimes you'll have the option to bet on one of the two hands being dealt a pair as well. The banker bet has a house edge of about 1.06 percent, and it's around 1.24 percent for the player bet, and these are the best two bets in the game. The tie bet has an enormous house advantage of 14.4 percent, and the pair bets (when available) have house advantages of 10.4 percent. You should always stay away from the tie and pair bets regardless.
The dealing procedure is a little complicated, but it basically works with each hand, the player and banker, being dealt two cards. The goal is to have the "ones" digit of the total be as high as possible. Along these lines, a score of 16 loses to a score of 7 because the ones digit of 7 (which is 7) is higher than the ones digit of 16 (which is 6). One result is that it's impossible to "go bust" in this game, which adds a level of excitement since it always comes down to a showdown between the two hands.
If one hand is dealt a total of 8 or 9, then the hand stops right there and a winner is determined. Otherwise, the hands can be dealt more cards just depending on what the totals are and other conditions. The player doesn't have to remember any of this, and all you have to worry about is picking which hand to bet on.