Baccarat is one of the most glamorous and opulent games in casinos. It is played for high stakes, and the gaming table is located in a special alcove on the casino floor that is often closed off from the rest of the casino action. The GameA game of baccarat begins with players betting on whether the Bank or Player hand will win. The dealer deals two cards to each hand, and sometimes a third card is dealt. A winner is determined by which of the two cards matches the highest ranked combination on each box. The Player Hand wins if the total of the Player's cards is less than nine, while the Bank Hand wins if it's higher. The Player's and Banker's cards are dealt from a six- or eight-deck shoe. All tens, Jacks, Queens, and Kings equal nine. The Ace is valued at one. Getting StartedThe first thing you need to do is calculate how much money you are willing to lose. This is an important decision, as a large amount of money can quickly change hands in a baccarat game. You also need to decide how big a bet you are willing to place, as most baccarat tables enforce a minimum bet level. You should always make sure you understand the house rules before you start playing. Unlike blackjack, in which there are many different rules to follow, baccarat has a very strict set of rules that govern how the cards are dealt. The dealers follow the rules to determine which hand needs a third card and which hand does not. There are a few optional bets that can be placed alongside the initial bet, including Super Six and Pair Bets. Both of these bets pay 12x the original bet amount if the Banker Hand wins with 6 points, or 11x the original bet if the Player Hand wins with a pair. A third bet is a tie bet, which pays 8-to-1 if both hands are equal. However, a tie bet has a much higher house edge than a banker or player bet. This means that intelligent players generally avoid this bet. Cultural PreferencesBaccarat is a popular game among Asian high rollers. This is a big reason why it has grown so much over the years. In fact, the casino industry in Macau, where it is one of the most lucrative games, has seen a huge increase in baccarat play. The GameThe game of baccarat is based on the Italian game of baccara, which is played in casinos around the world. The name is derived from the word "baccara," which means zero in Italian. According to Bill Zender, a former Nevada Gaming Control Agent and current consultant, the game has grown a lot in recent years as Asian high rollers have turned it into their favorite casino game. He explains that, for these players, baccarat is the game of choice because it's very culturally appropriate.