If you have visited any land casino from a sticky-floor California card room to the tuxedo-laden casinos of Monaco, chances are that you’ve seen baccarat players. These beautiful women, some wearing designer gowns and others in tuxedos, are seated around the oversized table playing one of the most lavish and least understood games in gambling. You may have even spotted special agent James Bond sitting in one of the seats, but chances are you didn’t know much about how the game works.
In baccarat each hand is dealt two cards. The player and banker bet on the outcome of the hand, with the higher valued winning if it is a “natural 9”. The cards are counted for their total value with tens counting as zero and all face cards worth their face value.
Baccarat has a strong house edge, and while the 5% banker commission does reduce it to some degree, it is still a significant advantage over other casino games. This is why it is a good idea to play the game only when you’re in a place where you can afford to lose a few rounds.
While some baccarat players swear by betting strategies that claim to decrease the house edge, the simple fact is that there is no way to influence the outcome of the game with other decisions beyond placing your bet. That is why it is important to practice good stake management, staking 10 units for each wager and playing only a few sessions in a row followed by a complete break.