South Korea has stringent restrictions on many traditional casino games. While there are casinos, they are only allowed for foreigners. Illegal gambling can earn South Korean citizens surprisingly hefty prison time; a trip to a casino can result in up to a three-year sentence. Even South Koreans who gambled outside the country can be prosecuted when they return home.
This means that traditional European casino games, baccarat included, have not reached significant popularity in South Korea. Baccarat is not a South Korean tradition, and given the current legal context, it is unlikely to become one any time soon. Instead, people favor licensed games of luck.
The game involves two players who play against each other. The players win based on a value that is calculated based on the cards. The value is not counted as in blackjack, but the sum must always be a single digit. The game can end in a draw.
Spectators can place their bets on who will win each hand. Different coefficients are dependant on who the spectator bets on. Betting on the house has the lowest ratio, 95 % of the value of the bet. Betting on the player has a coefficient of 100 %. Betting on a draw has a factor of 800 % or more.
Players can gain a minor advantage by counting cards, but it is not as significant for winning the game as it can be in blackjack. As the numerical value calculated from the cards which the players draw is defined differently from blackjack, it becomes more difficult to control the game, and the element of luck becomes more prominent.
Statistically, there are benefits of betting on specific outcomes. Counter-intuitively, in the long run, it pays to bet on the house, even though it has the lowest winning coefficient. It is the least lucrative strategy to bet on the draw, despite the significantly higher winning coefficient.
In baccarat, two players draw cards, and spectators can place bets. The two players are called "Player" and "House," but the game itself does not involve a casino dealer; instead, the two players take turns being the dealer and the player.
The two players draw cards, and their sum is used to form a single-digit number between 0 and 9 so that cards 2 and 3 equal 5, but cards 5 and 9 equal 4 because it is the last digit in their sum 14. Only the number cards count. King, queen, and jack are valued as 0.
The player with the highest value wins, as do the spectators who bet on him.
The legal restrictions on gambling define to a great degree which games are popular in South Korea. Online casinos do not enjoy a significant degree of popularity, and neither do many traditional casino games originating from Europe or even neighboring countries such as China.
In general, there is some degree of social stigma associated with gambling. It is generally believed that South Koreans should not gamble and are more prone to addiction. These beliefs have been strengthened through generations.
The strict gambling regulations do allow a government-controlled lottery, horse racing, and some forms of sports betting. These are the main attractions for South Koreans interested in some excitement and risk-taking.
All gambling in South Korea is prohibited unless separately allowed by law; generally, this means gambling does not take place apart from a few government monopoly games. There are some lotteries and casino establishments, but the casinos are not open to South Korean nationals, only tourists.
Online gambling is included in the general prohibition. The government strives to actively restrict online gambling and prosecute gamblers when caught. While the government is not able to effectively block all the casinos and find all the violators, there are cases of sentences being given and casinos being blocked. It is generally tricky, though not downright impossible, for South Koreans to gamble online.