# Baccarat – A Game of Chance

From sticky-floor California card rooms to the tuxedo-laden casinos of Monaco, high rollers have always found something magnetic about baccarat. Perhaps it’s the mystical aura surrounding the game or its relative ease of playing.

Basically, the objective is to get the player or banker hand as close to nine as possible. A player is dealt two cards, and a third card is drawn according to predetermined rules.

## Game rules

Baccarat is a game that has grown in popularity among gamblers worldwide because of its moderately simple rules and the various bet choices players can make. The game also offers a high level of suspense which draws in players and increases their excitement.

After all players have placed their bets, cards are dealt to the Player and Banker hands. The winner is the hand that has a value closest to 9. Aces are worth one point and picture cards and Tens are worth zero points. If the total of the two cards is over nine, a third card is drawn.

Besides betting on the Player, Banker, or Tie, players can also place side bets called Tiger bets. These wagers pay out if the Player or Banker hands form a pair using their first two cards. This is an extremely risky bet and should only be made by those who are not afraid of losing large sums of money.

## Bets

Baccarat is a game of chance, so winning and losing is mainly determined by luck. However, experienced players have developed some betting systems to increase the chances of winning. These betting systems use compact formulas or recursive methods to calculate probabilities for various events in a given game of baccarat.

The odds of winning a bet on the Banker or Player are calculated using combinatorial probabilities, which are determined by calculating the total value of the cards (aces count as one and all other cards as their numerical value) for each hand. In addition, the number of decks in play may affect these odds. In a game with eight-decks, for example, the Tie bet has a higher probability of winning and offers large payout odds. Nevertheless, the game is still a game of chance and the odds will always be against you.

## Payouts

The payouts in baccarat vary depending on the type of bet placed. The Player and Banker bets have the same odds of winning, but a Tie bet pays 8:1. There are also several side bets that pay out at different odds. The Either Pair side bet wins if the first two cards of the banker and player form a pair, while the Big and Small bets win when both hands have a total value of four or six.

In the game of baccarat, the hand that is closest to nine wins. However, the banker’s decision is not always based on this number; rather, it depends on the players’ and the banker’s actions. In some baccarat games, the banker’s winning bet is subject to a 5% commission. In other variants, such as EZ Baccarat, the banker’s winning bet does not have this commission. In addition, some baccarat rules require the banker to stand on certain numerical values.

## Origins

The exact origins of baccarat are disputed but it does share some characteristics with the ancient Italian game Macao and the French card game Le Her. It first appeared in Europe at the end of the 18th century and was particularly popular in France. It is also believed to be influenced by Asian games that use patterns like San Zhang and Oicho-Kabu.

The importance placed on the number nine in these three games could be linked to the ancient Roman ritual in which vestal virgins would roll a dice and, if it came up as an eight or a nine, they were deemed to have become high spiritual leaders. The number nine was also important in Indian astrology, the Egyptian gods and Mayan beliefs.

Although there is no definitive answer as to how baccarat came to be, it did gain a reputation as a high-class game and was used by James Bond in Ian Fleming’s 1953 novel Casino Royal. The game is still seen as a glamorous and exclusive pastime today.