Baccarat, the enigmatic casino game that conjures images of men in tuxedos and women in glitzy evening dresses, is an exciting card game that is easy to learn but can take some time to master. This elegant game has a sophisticated veneer, and it is often seen in movies where high rollers play in opulent casinos. But the reality is that the baccarat tables are just as boring as any other casino table and players can expect to lose a little of their money every round. The game of baccarat is simple and involves predicting whether the player’s or banker’s hand will be closest to 9. In the beginning, it might seem that the answer to this question is straightforward: the one closest to nine wins, so betting on either side is a good idea. But that’s not always the case, as you will soon find out. After the initial bets are placed, the dealer deals two cards to the banker and two to the players. If the player or banker hand totals 8 or 9, a third card is drawn to determine the winner. Otherwise, the first two hands are compared and the one with the higher value wins. The only exception to this rule is when a player’s hand contains an ace. Aces are worth only one point in baccarat, so if the ace is part of the hand’s total, no third card is drawn. In a game of chance such as baccarat, there is no foolproof way to guarantee winnings. However, there are certain plays and actions that should be understood before a wager is placed. A good place to start is by understanding how a third card is dealt and how this affects the game’s outcome. When a player or banker has a total of eight or nine, their hand is deemed a “natural” and will win the game. The other hand will then be compared to the banker’s, and if it is closer to nine, the winning bet is paid out. If neither the player nor banker have a natural, the game is considered a tie and further cards are drawn. Players who correctly predict a winning player or banker hand will receive a payout of 1 to 1. In the case of a winning tie, the players will qualify for a payout of 8 to 1, but this is reduced to 19 to 20 by a 5% commission. This commission is often not included in the advertised odds of a winning hand, so it is important to check the rules before you play. In addition, it is a good idea to set a loss limit and cash out when you reach this amount. This will keep you from losing too much and ensure that you can walk away with a healthy profit.