Baccarat is a game of chance played with six, seven, or eight standard decks of 52 cards. The objective is to correctly predict whether the Player or Banker hand will win, or if a tie will occur. A winning bet on either the Player or Banker hand pays out at a ratio of 1:1. However, a number of other bets can be placed at the table, which are known as side bets. These wagers pay out if the first two cards dealt to the Banker or Player are a pair.
To begin playing baccarat, players must decide how large their bet will be (taking into account the minimum and maximum bets allowed at the table). Once this has been decided, a bet will be placed on the Player, Banker, or Tie section of the table.
Once the bets are placed, a dealer will deal two cards to the Player and Banker hands. Immediately after the cards are dealt, the Player and Banker hands are compared to determine who will win the round. If the hand is a “natural” – which means it has a value of 8 or 9 – then that hand will win the round. Otherwise, further cards will be drawn to determine a winner.
If the Player or Banker hands do not have a total of 8 or 9, they will draw a third card. The Banker hand will stand on a total of 6 or 7, and will draw a third card on any total between 0 and 5. The Player side will also stand on a natural, and will only draw a third card on a total of 6 or 7.
The rules for when to draw a third card in baccarat can be confusing for new players. The most important rule is that the total of the hand must be within nine points. If the total is higher than nine, then players must subtract ten from the total or drop the first numeral in order to achieve a lower total. The dealer must follow this rule as well.
In addition to betting on the Player, Banker, or Tie hand, baccarat offers a number of side bets. The most common of these is the Player Pair bet, which pays out if the first two cards dealt to a Player hand are a pair. The Banker Pair bet is similar, paying out if the first two cards dealt to Banker hand are a pair.
While a winning Player or Banker bet qualifies for a 1 to 1 payout, under baccarat rules a 5% commission must be paid on the winning bets. A long rectangle filled with numbers indicating each customer position is found next to the banker’s area, and the dealer marks each time a player pays their 5% commission. This makes it essential for bettors to understand the game’s rules and strategy in order to maximize their profits. Fortunately, many online casinos offer free baccarat games to allow players to practice their strategies before placing real money bets.