Baccarat is an elegant game played in the high-limit section of casinos. The baccarat table is about the size of a craps table and can seat 12 to 14 players. A unique feature of baccarat is that the players take turns dealing the cards. Another baccarat privilege is the right to mangle the cards, a fresh shoe is dealt every time anyway. The game is entirely of luck and is similar to betting on the toss of a coin. In Las Vegas the minimum to play baccarat usually ranges from $100 to $1000. The minimums are not as high in Atlantic City, starting at $25. (Editor’s note: Most online casinos have a minimum of $10, as opposed to $1 or $2 for other table games like blackjack)
Baccarat is played with eight decks of cards. Each numbered card less than ten is worth its face value, aces are worth 1, and tens and face cards are worth 0. The suit does not matter.
Play begins by all players betting either on the ‘player’, ‘banker’ or a tie. I put player and banker in quotes because that is the correct terminology but they do not necessarily represent the dealer or the actual players.
After all bets are down the dealer gives two cards each to the player and the banker. The score of the hand is the right digit of the total of the cards. For example if the two cards were an 8 and a 7, then the total would be 15, and the score would be a 5. The scores will always range from 0 to 9 and it is impossible to bust.
A third card may or may not be dealt to either or both the player and the dealer depending on the following rules.