Baccarat is one of the oldest and most popular casino table games. It is believed to have been introduced into France from Italy during the reign of Charles VIII of France, who ruled from 1483 to 1498. The name Baccarat means zero in Italian.
Baccarat is one of the easiest games to learn, and offers some of the best odds in the casino. Baccarat has a low house edge of only 1.06%. The game is played with up to eight decks of cards shuffled together. The “player” and the “banker” each receive two cards, and the object is to achieve the point total closest to 9. You can either bet that the point total of the "player’s" hand will win, that the "banker’s" hand will win, or that their hands will tie. Either hand may draw an additional card.
In Baccarat players calculate their score by taking the sum of all cards modulo 10, meaning that after adding the value of the cards the tens digit is ignored. So 8 and 7 total 5, and 6 and 4 total 0. The highest score that can be achieved is 9. Face cards and tens are worth zero, Aces are worth 1 point.
Baccarat is a game of chance. You have no control over the cards that are dealt, and all you can do is to bet on either the "player," the "banker" or the tie. The consensus best strategy is to bet on the "banker" all the time. Never bet on a tie.
Baccarat is usually played in casino sectioned off areas where the players can have some privacy. Table minimums are usually no less than $25 and can be $100 and up. Big money Baccarat games can often be found in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
Baccarat is the favored game of author Ian Fleming's character agent 007, James Bond. He can be seen playing the game in numerous novels, and movies – most notably Casino Royale, in which the entire plot revolves around a game between Bond and Smersh operative Le Chiffre.