Baccarat has a mystique that surrounds it, evoking images of high-rollers playing in opulent casinos. It is an exciting game that is simple to learn and fun to play. However, many players are intimidated by the game’s perceived sophistication.

Baccarat is a game of chance, but there are strategies that can help you win more often than you lose. The most important thing to remember is that you should always be in control of your bankroll, no matter how much money you’re betting. Set your limits ahead of time, and don’t let your emotions drive your decisions. Ultimately, the goal is to have a positive total and leave with more money than you came in with.

The croupier deals the cards from a special dealing box, which is usually called a shoe. Eight standard 52-card decks are used. Depending on the game, there are from seven to 14 seats for players, and two hands of cards dealt: the player hand and the banker’s hand. Each player has a betting area where they place their chips. The winning hand is the one with a total closest to nine. Picture cards and tens count as zero points, while the remaining numbered cards and aces are worth their face value.

If you bet on the player hand and it wins, you will receive a payout of 1 to 1. If you bet on the banker hand, you’ll be eligible for a payout of 9 to 10, but there is a 5% commission, so the actual payout is 8 to 10. If you bet on a tie, your payout is 8 to 9.

Aside from flat betting, another strategy that you can use while playing baccarat is following pattern trends. While this strategy is easy to implement, you’ll need to monitor your win/loss streaks and be prepared to change your betting patterns if the trend changes. Staking 10 units per wager with a maximum of 200 units per session followed by a complete break is a smart staking schedule to follow.

As with any casino game, it’s best to start small and work your way up to a larger bankroll. This allows you to get a feel for the game without risking too much. The best way to do this is by signing up for a free account with a reputable online casino that offers a baccarat bonus. FanDuel, for example, offers a free account with up to $1000 in bonuses and promotions to help you get started on your baccarat journey.