Bacarrat Basics

Baccarat (, bakrat) is an elegant and surprisingly simple game of chance. Though portrayed as formal and elegant in the movies – it’s James Bond’s favourite game – there are no special skills required to play. It’s all about guessing which of the two hands – the Banker hand or the Player hand – will have a total closest to nine. This hand is determined by comparing the number of pips on the cards, with 9s counting as zero and aces counting as one.

The game is most often played with eight decks of cards shuffled into the dealing shoe. Players can place bets on either the Banker hand, Player hand or a tie. The Banker side has a slight statistical advantage, but it’s not impossible for the Player to win a couple of games in a row.

A baccarat strategy known as the pattern system can help players reduce the house edge. The basic idea is that shoes tend to zigzag between banker and player wins, with double win streaks appearing for both sides. During a double win streak, this strategy recommends that players increase their bet size on the opposite hand winning.

Baccarat is a popular casino game in the US, though it’s more common in Canada and the UK. The game is also available at a variety of online casinos in both real money and free-play modes. Whether you’re an experienced player or are just getting started, it’s important to know the rules of the game.