Baccarat, also known as Punto Banco and sometimes called baccarat chemin de fer is one of the most popular casino games. It is easy to play and the objective is to predict which hand – the Banker or the Player – will come closest to nine. Players can additionally wager on the optional Dragon Bonus side bet which pays up to 30 to 1.
The game is played with an eight-deck shoe and a winning Player or Banker hand is paid out 9:1 (the casino takes 5% commission on the Banker bet). The house edge is slightly lower than other card games such as Blackjack but higher than roulette, baccarat is also relatively slow compared to most casino table games.
It is possible to improve your results slightly by counting cards but this is very difficult and not worth the effort. It is also possible to improve your overall win/loss ratio by avoiding the Tie bet which has a 14.1 percent edge in favor of the house.
Traditionally baccarat was played on large tables in special high roller rooms of casinos, with the game being very slow and ritualistic. It is now more common to find a mini version of the game in smaller casino spaces with table minimums of $25, $50 or $100.
Baccarat was made famous by its appearance in Ian Fleming’s novels and films starring James Bond, with the 1953 debut of ‘Casino Royale’ featuring the game between Bond and SMERSH trade union operative Le Chiffre. The game is also featured in many Asian casinos.