If you’ve ever been to a casino anywhere from sticky-floor California card rooms to the tuxedo-laden casinos of Monaco, chances are you’ve seen baccarat played. It’s one of the world’s oldest and most popular games, and it has spawned a number of variations and additional ways to bet and play.
The game was invented in the 1400s by an Italian man named Felix Falguiere, and it eventually spread to France where it became known as ’Chemin de Fer’ and ’baccarat en banque’. It also went on to become popular in England where it was known as ‘baccarat’ and in the United States where it is now played under various names, most commonly Punto Banco.
Generally, the game is played with 8 decks of standard cards shuffled together. The cards are dealt from a dealing shoe, and the player’s and banker’s hands are compared to determine which is closest to nine points. Unlike blackjack, there are no face cards in a baccarat hand, and the suits have no significance to the value of any individual card.
A winning bet on the banker side of a baccarat hand qualifies for a 1 to 1 payout. However, the banker must pay a 5% commission, which reduces the odds on a winning bet to 19 to 20.
The best baccarat strategy is to practice good stake management. This means that when you lose a wager, increase the size of your next bet by the same amount, and then repeat this process each time until you win a wager. This is called the Martingale system and is one of the most effective betting strategies for casino games that pay even money, including baccarat.