Baccarat Game

As with all table games, you begin by changing your cash money into gaming chips. In Baccarat (other than Mini-Baccarat) these gaming chips are quite a bit bigger than the regular casino chips. There is absolutely no reason for this other than the aura of special importance that Baccarat seeks to cultivate. Perhaps the casinos think that players will feel better about betting large amounts if they have big chips in their hands. But no matter how big these chips are, they function in exactly the same way as any other gaming chips in play throughout the casino. They can be changed for cash if you wish, or for regular casino chips.

In Baccarat it doesn't matter which seat at the table you will take. Unlike in Blackjack, or Let It Ride or Caribbean Stud, where position selection can be advantageous in a game with more players, in American Baccarat players don't compete against each other or even against the casino. Your betting strategy is solely against the cards. It therefore makes no difference what the other players bet on, or how much, or in what order the cards are dealt. In Blackjack, for instance, other players ahead of you in the turn of dealing can affect what cards you will receive when it's your turn to draw. This is why position selection can be important.

But in American Baccarat this doesn't matter. Even if a designated player at the Baccarat table does draw the cards, no player decisions are involved. Whether any extra cards are drawn depends entirely on the strict set of rules governing the draw of such extra cards. Consequently there is no possibility that a player in the position in front of you will receive the cards you would otherwise have received.

Chances are that if you sit down at a Baccarat table the game will already be in progress. Very rarely are Baccarat tables unoccupied. Many casinos employ house players, called "shills," a couple of whom are often seated at the Baccarat table so that potential customers won't have to be the first to sit down or play alone. The shills are paid employees of the casino who play with house money; they don't get to keep any winnings, but they don't lose either. Shills in Baccarat are just there to occupy seats.

When a sufficient number of customers arrive, the house players leave, returning only if the table becomes empty again. Unlike in Poker, Baccarat shills have no effect on your hands. If, however you feel uncomfortable not knowing whether or not there are any shills at the table, just ask the casino Pit Boss if there are any at your table. By law they must identify shills if they are present at the table.

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