# Baccarat Basics

Baccarat is a game that is played by two people: the banker and the player. Before the cards are dealt, each person decides on which hand they would like to bet on. After all the bets have been made, the cards are dealt face up. The goal of the game is to reach a total of nine points without going over. This is called the “natural.”

If a player’s hand is a natural, they win. If it is not a natural, they lose. Unlike roulette, where the house wins most of the time, baccarat is a game that has a small house edge. Generally, the house advantage is around 1.2 percent. However, the house edge increases to over 14 percent in the case of the tie bet.

The player’s goal is to make a hand that is closer to nine than the banker. To do this, the player makes bets on their hand and the banker’s hand. Each of the bets pays out depending on how the hand performs in the round. For example, a bet on the player’s hand will pay out twice the amount of the player’s bet. Conversely, a bet on the banker’s hand will pay out only 95% of the wager.

When the first two cards add up to eight or nine, the hand is considered a “natural.” In this scenario, the player can bet on the natural and win. Alternatively, they can bet on a tie and win. With this bet, they can win 8 to 1.

If the dealer’s hand is a natural, the players can also bet on the tie. This is not recommended, however, as the house edge on the tie bet is over 14 percent. That is why most baccarat strategies recommend betting on the banker.

In baccarat, the dealer draws a third card. They always draw a third card when the player’s total is a 5 or less. Additionally, the banker can choose to draw a third card. But, if the total is a 6 or 7, the banker will not draw a third card.

A player may be tempted to bet on the banker’s hand because it has a better house edge. However, there is a 5% commission on the banker’s hand bet, reducing the payout odds to 19-20. Since the house has a slight advantage, most players stick to the player or banker bets.

Baccarat can be confusing if you are a new player. It is important to learn the rules. Knowing when to draw a third card is also a good idea. While you don’t have to have a precise strategy, understanding when a third card will be drawn will help you to bet as correctly as possible.

Other aspects of baccarat you should understand are the side bets. These are usually offered at the baccarat table, and can be fun to play. Side bets can include a bet on whether the banker’s cards are all black, or on whether the player’s cards are all red.