The Basics of Baccarat


Baccarat (also known as baccara or ba:k@raet; French for “banker’s game”) is one of the most popular casino games in the world. It is a table game of chance, where players bet on the hand they think will have the highest value—a player’s hand, a banker’s hand, or a tie. The winning hand is whichever one totals closest to nine. Optional bets such as the Super Six and Pair Bet are also available. The game is traditionally played on a large circular table with a raised “shoe” containing 8 decks of cards. The shoe is dealt by a croupier, and the table is divided into boxes to place bets.

After all players have placed their bets, the dealer will call ‘no more bets’ and then deal two cards to each box—one card for the Player box, and one for the Banker box. The player and the banker both look at their cards; if either the Player’s hand or the Banker’s hand is an eight or a nine, the winner is declared and all bets are paid out according to the payout tables.

If neither the Player’s hand nor the Banker’s hand has a total of eight or nine, the croupier will consult the tableau and draw a third card for either the Player or the Banker depending on the rules of play in effect (see below). The winning wagers are paid out even money—player bets win 1-to-1, and banker bets win 9-to-20, with a 5% commission to the house on the banker’s win.

The simplest rules of baccarat are as follows: The best hand is the one that totals closest to 9. All cards count as their face value, with the exception of the Ace which counts as 1. When a number in the total crosses or enters the double-digit, the second digit is added; for example, an eight and a three would equal thirteen. The game can also be played with other rules—including those of baccarat chemin de fer and baccarat banque—but the basic procedure remains the same.

To begin a round of Baccarat, one player is selected via auction to hold the banker position, risking an amount of money they are willing to lose. Each player then makes a bet, with each additional player to the right of the current banker in play order wagering up to the amount of the total bank (the maximum total of all the players’ wagers is equal to the size of the current bank). If a player goes bank, they will remain as the banker until they wish to withdraw, or until they run out of money to stake. The banker position then resets to the first player in play order willing to take it on. The game can be played with up to 10 players in a circle. The game has been featured in numerous film and television adaptations, most notably as a climactic scene in the 1954 British heist film Bob le Flambeur; the 1967 British James Bond film Dr. No; the 1974 American heist film Thunderball; and the 1985 James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and its 1989 sequel, For Your Eyes Only.