For many casino players, baccarat is a mystery. It’s a game that is often associated with high rollers or the suave patrons of James Bond, but in reality it’s a simple game that anyone can enjoy.

The basic game is played with up to 14 seats, two hands of cards dealt and a player’s betting area. Each hand is compared against the banker’s to see which one has a total closest to nine. The banker wins if his or her total is closer to nine, the player wins if their hand has a value of eight or nine and a tie pays out 8-to-1. There are usually sheets at the table for players to record their bets and scores.

After a player places their wager, the Caller (the person who deals the cards) will deal out the Player and Banker hands. A third card may be drawn if the Player or Banker hand is zero, five, six, seven or eight. A third card can also be drawn if the Banker’s hand has a total of four or less.

The Player and Banker hands are compared by the Caller and the winner is determined. The Player hand must score a maximum of nine points. If the Player hand beats the Banker’s hand, the winnings are distributed according to how much the player wagered on the hand.

One of the main reasons players avoid playing baccarat is because they don’t know when to hit or stand. Unlike in blackjack, where the player has a choice to make, baccarat is dealt by a professional and there are standard rules that determine when the Player Hand needs a third card or not.

Despite these rules, it’s possible for players to use some simple strategies to increase their chances of winning. For example, it’s better for players to bet on the Banker than on the Player, as the Banker has a lower house edge. The player should also try to avoid placing a bet on a third card, as this can be very risky. By following these simple tips, the game of baccarat can be more fun for everyone.