Baccarat holds a special place in popular culture as the preferred casino game of sophisticated gamblers like James Bond, and for many people the image of high-rollers risking thousands of dollars on a single hand persists today.
That reputation is certainly well-deserved, because throughout the high-stakes pits spread in Las Vegas mega-casinos and gambling halls around the globe, baccarat players still plunk down enormous wagers to play one hand of the classic gambler’s game.
Fortunately for those of us who aren’t millionaires or secret agents, the centuries-old card game is enjoying a modern renaissance, and you can find mini-baccarat games with minimum bets of just $5.
Mini-baccarat replicates the experience of big bet baccarat on a smaller scale, and the blackjack-like layout of the game will be instantly recognizable to new players looking to dip their toes in and test the waters.
The beauty of baccarat is easy to see, because despite the bells and whistles surrounding the game, players need to do nothing more than make three simple decisions: whether or not to bet, which side (“player” or “banker” or “tie”) to bet, and how much to bet. After that, the cards take over from there.
Baccarat is often called “the game of nines” because the objective for each of the two hands dealt is to reach the total closest to 9. Cards numbered 2 through 9 are worth their numerical value, 10s and face cards are worth 0, and aces are worth 1. There are more 0-value cards in the deck than any other, so 9s become baccarat’s most important card (10+9 = automatic winner). You can learn more about the rules of baccarat on our how to play page.
Despite the game’s 1-2-3 mechanics, however, the action comes fast and furious during a baccarat session. Players experience swings similar to those found in blackjack, and long streaks of wins and losses occur quite often. Because of this, many players try to track the results of previous hands during an individual shoe, with the goal being to anticipate and predict whether the “banker” or “player” side will win upcoming hands.
This is only a superstition though, and the most profitable play in baccarat has always been to bet the “banker” on every deal. More information on baccarat strategy is available on our strategy page.
In the big version of baccarat, players also savor the anticipation of squeezing out the cards, bending the corners up slowly while waiting to see if they’ve won or lost. Part of baccarat’s appeal to many players is the fun that comes with “sweating” the action, and you’ll sometimes see 30 seconds go by while somebody bends and reveals their last card.
Another entertaining aspect of big bet baccarat comes from holding the shoe and dealing out the cards for each hand. This can make many new players nervous, but the mechanics of manning the baccarat shoe are actually pretty straightforward.
Baccarat is the classic game of chance, and with a house edge as low as 1.06 percent on “banker” bets, you just can’t beat the value when it comes to casino table games. It’s widely known that blackjack offers the best value on the gaming floor when you play strict basic strategy, but baccarat runs at a close second-place in terms of value for the player. When you bet the “banker” and nothing more, you can benefit from one of the lowest house edges in all of gaming, all while enjoying a great time and a little gambling to boot.