What is Baccarat?

Baccarat is a card game that originated in the mid-19th century in France. It is a casino-style game that requires little skill to play. It is commonly found in high-limit rooms of casinos in Europe and the United States.

Often misunderstood, Baccarat can be confusing to new players, but it is a simple game that does not require much skill. The basic objective of a baccarat hand is to get closer to nine than the opposite hand. This is accomplished by dropping the first digit in a total if the total is above nine.

The game is played with eight or six decks of cards that are dealt from a shoe that rotates around the table. Each player at the table holds a stake in either the Banker’s hand or the Player’s hand.

When the shoe is shuffled, each card in the deck is assigned a numerical value by the dealer. 2 through 9 pips carry the highest numerical value, while 10s and face cards have no value.

Each player at the table is given two cards to play with, and a third card is also dealt to both hands. The players take turns placing bets on the Banker’s or the Player’s hand, depending on which they want to place their bet on. If no one wants to bet on a particular hand, the banker may decide to withdraw from the game and replace himself with another player.

Unlike blackjack, baccarat does not have a house edge. In fact, the long-term hold rate for baccarat is about 12 percent of the money gamblers risk. This is less than the house edge of most other games, but it can fluctuate dramatically from month to month and quarter to quarter.

In addition to the Banker’s bet and the Player’s bet, most casino baccarat games offer a Tie bet. This bet is similar to the Player’s bet but pays odds of 8 to 1 against a tie, rather than 5 to 1.

Most casinos have tables that seat up to 12 players. These tables are called “big-table” baccarat and are often in high-limit rooms.

The rules of baccarat are relatively simple, although many people find it confusing because they do not understand the significance of the numbers on each card. However, there are several strategies that can help reduce the house edge of a baccarat game.

A key factor is how the numbers on each card are arranged. All 10-count cards (tens, jacks, queens, and kings) count as zero, while aces count as one. Similarly, all other cards are worth their face value in baccarat.

The game’s name is derived from the Italian word baccara, which means zero. It is a very old Italian game, and earliest references to it are from 15th century Italy.