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The Basics of Baccarat


Baccarat is one of the most elegant and sophisticated casino games. It’s often tucked away in an exclusive alcove away from the masses and is played with large wads of cash and/or high-denomination chips. It has a low house advantage and has historically attracted affluent, high-rollers to the table.

During the ’70s and ’80s, a significant portion of Las Vegas baccarat action was attributable to Latin American players from Mexico, Central America and South America. Those customers have faded as the U.S. dollar has become stronger and as the economies of those countries have suffered from periods of severe inflation. Now, Asian high rollers are making baccarat their game of choice.

While it requires no skill to play, baccarat has certain rules that must be observed. First, there is the card ranking. Cards numbered 10 and up are worth their face value, while cards with a suited suit (tens, jacks, queens and kings) count as zero points and the ace counts as 1. In addition to the scoring system, players must follow proper table etiquette. For instance, a player should never peek at the cards that have already been dealt to the banker and player hands.

Another crucial baccarat procedure is the use of pre-shuffled playing cards. Traditionally, it is standard procedure for new decks of eight cards to be inspected by both the floor supervisor and dealer, then scrambled or washed together before they are inserted into a shuffling machine or manually shuffled. However, with pre-shuffled cards, the process of immediately introducing new decks is dramatically accelerated.

Before a round of baccarat begins, the dealer must shuffle the playing cards and place them into a special dealing box, called a shoe. The dealer then reveals one card at the Player box and another at the Banker box. If the player bets on the correct box, he or she wins that round. If not, the game is a tie.

The shoe itself is an important component of the game, because it prevents the game from being rigged by players or other employees. It is also designed to make the dealer’s job easier by allowing him or her to easily identify winning and losing bets.

Baccarat tables are usually large, with 12 seats, six on each side of the banker. Green felt covers the table and it is marked with numbered areas where the players keep their money or chips. Players may bet on the Player hand, the Banker’s hand or a tie.

As in all casinos, baccarat is governed by strict rules that are enforced by the table supervisor and/or the casino’s management. In some cases, players must sign a statement stating that they are not responsible for any losses incurred at the table. In addition to that, there are other regulations regarding the handling of money and the way in which customers can bet on a baccarat game. Some casinos have score sheets for customers to track the results of a game, and others post scoreboard screens such as “Bread Pan” and “Big Road” that advise the players whether or not the previous result will streak or repeat.