# Baccarat Strategy

Baccarat is a game of chance, but you can improve your chances of winning by learning the rules and applying some strategies. Baccarat is a lot more time-consuming than most table games and will take longer to learn, but it has many rewards in the end.

A croupier (dealer) operates the baccarat table, and each player sits in one of six seats on either side. The croupier deals the cards from a box called a shoe, or more commonly a dealing tray. Eight 52-card packs are used and the decks are shuffled together before each deal. The table is covered with green felt and marked with the numbered areas for placing Player and Banker bets. There is also a place for a Tie bet, but intelligent players ignore this wager because it has a 14.1 percent house edge.

The object of the game is to get as close as possible to nine without going over. The total is determined by the sum of the values of the two cards held in the hand. If the sum exceeds nine, the player must subtract ten or drop the first numeral from the total to determine the new value. The player or the banker may draw a third card, but there are specific rules on when this must be done.

If the player calls ‘carte’ and the banker’s total is four or less, then the banker must draw a third card. However, if the banker’s total is five or more, then he must stand on his two cards. The player and banker must then reveal their hands and make a decision.

Traditionally, the game was played with both the player’s and the banker’s two-card hands concealed, with only their initial values being known. Then, decisions on whether to draw a third card were made with the aid of decision tables. These decision tables based on the player’s initial value and the banker’s total, were a guide for the dealer to follow in his decisions.

The best bet in Baccarat is on the banker, as the house applies a 5% commission to bets on the Player, giving the Banker an overall advantage of 1.36 percent over the player’s bets. A Tie bet is the second-best choice, but the house has such a large advantage on this wager that only a fool would place it.

Online baccarat is similar to its live counterpart, but you can play it anytime, anywhere. There are plenty of sites that offer a range of unique interactive experiences, and the best of them will be able to provide you with a great experience regardless of your location or the device you’re using.

Baccarat has become a more common sight in casinos than it once was. Zender reports that baccarat is often played on single tables in high-limit areas, and the James Bond pageantry of tuxedoed dealers has been replaced with a more traditional feel. Fortunately, it still offers the same level of entertainment.