How to Play Baccarat

Baccarat is one of the most popular casino games. The game’s appearance on the silver screen in James Bond movies has made it seem serious and elegant, but it’s actually one of the simplest table games to play.

The game is played with six, seven or eight standard decks of cards. Players sit in a circle or oval-shaped table and place their bets on either the Player hand, the Banker hand or a tie. The goal of the game is to correctly predict which hand will win, with nine being the highest value. The value of the hand is determined by adding up the values of all the cards in it. The value of the leftmost digit is dropped, meaning that a hand consisting of a 10 and 6 will only be worth six points, while a 2 and 7 will be worth nine points.

Unlike blackjack, which has many different betting options, there are only three ways to bet in baccarat: on the Banker, the Player or the Tie. The first step is to decide which bet you want to place. If you’re playing online, this is done by selecting the chip value you prefer. Once you’ve placed your bets, the dealer will distribute two cards to the Player and Banker hands. The dealer will then tot up the totals of each hand, and whichever is closest to nine wins.

There are a few other things to keep in mind when learning how to play baccarat. First, the game has several variations, including the well-known Punto Banco and the historical Chemin de Fer. These variants have small differences in the rules, and these can influence your gambling strategy. It’s important to learn these differences before you start betting cash.

Next, there are side bets. These are wagers beyond which hand will win, and they can have a higher payout than the main bets. Some examples of side bets include all red/all black and Double 8 (wagering that the Banker and Player hands will equal eight).

Finally, there’s the issue of edge sorting, which is a technique some players use to increase their winnings by analyzing the way the cards are dealt. This has become a hot topic since Phil Ivey won more than $10 million on two separate occasions using this method. While edge sorting isn’t illegal, it is something that gamblers should avoid.

In addition to understanding the rules of baccarat, it’s also important to set limits on your gambling budget and time spent playing each day. It’s easy to get engrossed in the thrill of the game and lose track of your bankroll, so it’s best to play within your means and stop once you reach your limit.