If ever there was a game that conjures up visions of loaded players in wealthy evening attire betting for wealthy stakes it is baccarat. You will find there are only three common variations of the game but Punto Banco is the most used edition seen in North American casinos. A standard baccarat table is about the size of a craps table, is staffed by three casino dealers and can host about a dozen players.
Play revolves around to hands dealt for the ‘Banker’ and also the ‘Player’. These names are titles for the dealt hands only and there is no real banker or particular player. Players place their wagers on which hand they think will win. Hand scores are calculated by choosing the face value for all cards worth less than ten, one for an ace and zero for tens and face cards. The worthiness of hand is the total of the cards worth but if it comes to greater than ten you shed the very first digit. By way of example, 8-ace-jack is worth 8 plus 1 plus zero = 9. But 9-5-5 is also worth 9 (9 5 5 = 19, drop the initial digit = 9).
Players take it in turn to act as ‘dealer’ although this just includes turning on the cards. A player generally continues to act as dealer so long as the ‘banker’ keeps winning. According to the totals the casino dealers may instruct the ‘dealer’ to deal another card. With all cards dealt winning wagers are paid out or losses accumulated.
Basically a game of chance, what it lacks in ability it makes up for in the size of the stakes involved. In many casinos the minimum stake can start at $25 and dedicated players often wager hundreds and even thousands of dollars on a single game that provides baccarat its exotic atmosphere.