Learned The Rules Of Baccarat

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James Bond: It appears we share the same passions: three, anyway.
Xenia Onatopp: I count two: motoring and, uh, baccarat. I hope the third is where your real talent lies.
James Bond: One rises to meet a challenge.
--From 1995's

I enjoy playing card games, especially the varied poker games I play with my family members. I had played the most popular casino games before, like Texas Hold 'Em, blackjack, craps, and roulette, but I had only heard of baccarat. Whenever I saw it dealt, I thought it was so confusing. How can a 3 and a 4 in a hand be better than a pair of 6's?

Baccarat is usually played in a fancy, roped off, some would say snooty, section of the casino to separate itself from the other games, and the minimum bets are usually quite high. It's definitely been marketed as a sophisticated game.

The reason I'm interested in baccarat at all is because it's the card game of choice for the world's most famous fictional secret agent,
James Bond. In fact, the unabridged version of the Casino Royale novel included a primer to baccarat, even though the 2006 film had 007 playing Texas Hold 'Em against Le Chiffre.

I looked the
rules for baccarat online, and even though they were laid out, it was still confusing. The job of the player is to guess who is going to win the hand and bet accordingly. It isn't necessarily to win the hand. They can bet for the dealer, the player, or a standoff (tie). It's a little bit like roulette in the guessing part, but it's a little bit like blackjack in how you start with two cards and count your cards. The winning hand is the one with a higher value. A hand can have a value of 0-9, and whether or not you get a third card is dependent on your current hand and in some cases the value of the opposing side's hand.

I had to re-read the rules a couple times and deal a few hands out on the table to better visualize it, but I finally did get it. It is fairly different from any other game I've played, so this was a pretty big learning experience. I enjoyed it, and now, I have a brand new card game added to my repertoire.
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