Baccarat is the exotic card game that’s a staple of high-roller casino games. It’s the game that evokes images of men in tuxedos and women in posh evening gowns laying down chips and watching as the dealer distributes cards. Yet, despite the mystique of this elegant game, it is simple to learn and play. Baccarat is a card game where the object is to get a hand that totals closer to nine than the opponent’s. If your two cards add up to more than nine, the first digit is dropped. For example, an 8 and a 6 would result in a total of fifteen, but only the number five is displayed.
The game can be played with either money or oblong betting cards, depending on the casino. At some casinos, the cards are stacked in the middle of the table, while at others, they’re laid out on an oval “plaque.” In American casinos, baccarat is played for high stakes, so players place their bets with real cash. In Europe, players use oblong betting chips.
Baccarat’s popularity has been driven by its simplicity and the fact that it doesn’t require any skill. Players place bets on the Player, Banker or Tie, with a winner declared each round. The game’s rules, however, are not always followed exactly.
Historically, the game has been played with different rules in each country. For instance, in the US, the Banker is required to draw a third card when the score is 0 or 5 and stand on a total of 6. Under older rules (sometimes still seen outside the United States), the banker did not need to draw a third card, and stood on a 6 or 7 score.
In recent years, baccarat has exploded in popularity. It has been helped by the growth of Asian markets, where baccarat is a staple casino game. It is also supported by a variety of technological innovations. For example, at G2E 2019, AGS showcased a second-generation progressive jackpot system that can link all tables in a casino and offer one shared progressive prize.
But does baccarat have staying power as the casino patron base shifts? Bill Zender, a former Nevada Gaming Control agent and longtime casino executive who literally wrote the book on managing table games, thinks so. He tells Forbes that he has seen Asian high rollers make baccarat their casino game of choice over the past twenty years. He attributes this change to baccarat’s ability to appeal to their cultural preferences.