Baccarat – The Lowest House Edge Casino Game

Baccarat is the glamorous casino game that many believe to be only for high rollers or sophisticated and suave patrons like James Bond. But the truth is that baccarat is a simple and accessible game that anyone can play – even with only a small amount of money to invest. What’s more, baccarat boasts one of the lowest house edges in casinos and offers an incredible profit margin over time if played correctly.

The game is based on a simple concept: Players bet on whether the Banker hand will win, the Player hand will win or if there will be a tie. The dealer deals two cards to the Banker hand and the Player hand, and whoever has a total closest to nine wins the round. Unlike poker, the game is not dealt from a standard deck of 52 cards. Instead, the dealer deals from a six or eight-deck shoe and only the first seven cards are used to determine which hand is closer to 9.

When betting on the Banker hand, players must pay a 5% commission to the house. This reduces the odds of winning to 8-to-1 and makes it more expensive than betting on the Player hand. However, the Banker bet is still the best option to minimize the house edge.

Despite the low house edge, many players swear by different strategies to increase their chances of winning. Some try to predict the outcome of the game by looking at past rounds, figuring that patterns will emerge over the course of 10 or more games. Others swear by the Martingale strategy, a method of gambling that increases the size of bets over and over until the player is finally lucky enough to break even.

While some side bets are available at online baccarat tables, they come with a high house edge and should be avoided. It is far better to place a bet on the Banker hand, as the higher payouts on winning hands more than make up for the lower odds of hitting them.

Baccarat was a popular casino game in France and England, where Ian Fleming learned to play it in order to create his famous character, James Bond. It was never able to catch on among the American public in the way that roulette and slot machines did, but its glamorous trappings, such as special gaming rooms blocked off from the masses and the use of real cash rather than chips, made it a popular attraction for wealthy patrons. The game was also the inspiration for countless Hollywood movies. In addition, its popularity in the United States was further fueled by the fact that Tommy Renzoni brought it to the Sands Casino in Las Vegas in 1956. There, he used the game as his inspiration for the James Bond movie, Casino Royale.