Baccarat, or Punto Banco as it’s sometimes known in the US, is a casino card game which has gained recent popularity among high rollers. It has a glamorous feel to it and is played on a separate table within the casino’s high-stakes area. The table is usually covered in green felt and has twelve seats, six on either side of the dealer who only banks the game and does not play in it. The croupier deals from a special box called a shoe which holds eight standard 52-card decks.
The goal of the game is to guess which hand will come closest to nine. Two cards are dealt to the Bank hand and two to the Player hand, with a third card often if the player chooses. The player and banker bets are paid out depending on the outcome of the hand. A tie bet pays 8:1 while the Dragon Bonus side bet pays up to 30:1.
Bill Zender, a former Nevada Gaming Control Agent and casino dealer, literally wrote the book on managing casino games, and he’s seen baccarat grow considerably over the past thirty years. He believes it has become a favorite of Asian high rollers because it is uniquely suited to their cultural preferences.
Baccarat is a game of pure chance, but there are some strategies which can help players get a better edge. One of the most popular systems is the Martingale system which involves progressively increasing bets. It works in most casino games, but it is particularly effective in baccarat because the house edges are very low.