Perhaps the most glamorous of all casino games, Baccarat’s trappings are what made it so popular. The lure of the game? It requires no skill – it is a game of pure luck! Baccarat is played for very high stakes, and the gaming table for it is placed in a special alcove, blocked off from the masses and the rest of the casino action. In American casinos, Baccarat tends to be played with real cash – $100-bills are spread all around. European casinos use chips, but the high-denomination chips are oblong “plaques,” which make the game look just as exciting as the American version when they are stacked in front of a winning player.
Eight 52-card packs are shuffled together and dealt by the croupier (dealer) from a dealing box, called a shoe, which releases one card at a time, face down. In some games, six packs are used.
The very large Baccarat table has 12 seats, six on either side of the dealer, who only banks the game and does not otherwise participate. Green felt covers the entire table, and the numbers 1 to 12 are marked on it. These numbered areas are where the players keep their money (or chips, as the case may be). A player may bet on the Bank or the Player, and the layout indicates where such bets are placed.
Baccarat is known in some areas as Punto Banco. The only difference is that the word “Bank” is replaced by “Banco,” and the word “Player” is replaced by “Punto.” While in most casino games, the dealer stands, in Baccarat, the dealer is seated between players “1” and “12.”