How to Play Baccarat

Baccarat is one of the most popular casino games in Europe and Latin America, but despite its reputation for being a game for the rich and elite, it’s actually pretty easy to play. It’s a simple card game with only two main bets, and the objective is to pick which hand will come closest to nine points.

Before you begin playing baccarat, make sure that you have a bankroll and a spending limit in mind. It’s easy to get carried away in the excitement of this game, and the last thing that you want is to lose more money than you have. Baccarat is also a great way to relax, so don’t let it turn into a stressful experience.

The first step is to choose a table and seat. There are typically seven to 14 seats for players, and each player has a lined-off area where they can place their bets. The dealer will then shuffle the cards and place them in a shoe or special box to start the dealing round.

After the shuffle, the dealer will deal two cards to both the Player’s and Banker’s hands. Once the players and banker have their cards, they’ll be compared and the hand with the value closest to 9 wins. There are a few rules that differentiate the game from other card games: picture cards and tens have zero value, and all other cards count at their face value except for Aces, which count as one point. The leading digit of the total is dropped when the sum reaches double digits.

If the Player’s or Banker’s cards total 8 or 9, this is called a “natural win” and all placed bets are paid. If either hand does not have a total of 8, the dealer will draw a third card. If the total of the Banker’s and Player’s cards is a tie, the player must choose to either accept or decline the third card.

The Tie bet is a risky bet with a high house edge, so smart Players avoid it. Instead, they concentrate on placing bets on the Player and Banker hand, which have better odds. There are a few different baccarat strategies to try, including the Martingale betting system. This strategy involves doubling your bet size after every loss and increasing it after every win, allowing you to balance losses and gains over time. You can test these strategies out in free-play mode before you begin playing for real money.