The Basics of Baccarat

Baccarat is a popular card game played in casinos and online. It can seem difficult at first, but once understood it is one of the easiest casino games to play with a low house edge and good payouts. It is also featured in many James Bond movies and has a certain glamour that can make it a favorite of high rollers.

In Baccarat, players place wagers on either the banker or player hand. The winning hand is the one that has a total closer to nine. When a card is dealt, the total number of pips (the dots on a card that are clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades) must be added together to determine the value of the hand. All picture cards and tens count as zero, while Aces have a value of 1. The rest of the cards are assigned values based on their rank. The highest value is ten, while the lowest is one.

After all bets have been placed, the dealer will deal two cards to the banker and two to the bettors. The winning hand is the one that has the best value. The winning player and banker hands will be compared right away, and the bettors who have placed bets on them will win if their hand is higher than the other.

The game is typically played with eight decks of standard 52-cards shuffled together, though it is not uncommon to see a variation of the game where six decks are used instead. In the case of the latter, the game is sometimes referred to as Punto Banco and may not be as widely available in brick-and-mortar casinos.

A number of rules are different between baccarat and other casino card games, but the most important is that each side must bet an equal amount on a hand. This rule ensures that the game is fair and not rigged by one or more sides. There are also rules about the way cards are dealt and how they must be sorted to decide on a winner, including whether or not a third card is drawn. This technique is known as edge sorting and was the subject of a $10 million lawsuit between Phil Ivey and one of his casinos in 2012.

There are several different variations of Baccarat, but the version most commonly found in casinos and in the five states that have legalized online gambling is called Punto Banco. The name is believed to be a combination of the names of the two most famous players in the history of the game, Joseph Jagger and Felix Ungar. Punto Banco is a simplified form of the original version of the game called chemin de fer, which was developed in France in the 19th century.