Baccarat is a casino card game played by players against the bank, or house. It dates back 500 years to medieval Italy, where it was favored by the upper class and aristocracy. It has since become a casino classic. It is a simple game, and a good choice for beginners to try because it’s a low-risk game with only three basic wager options.

Each player and the dealer receive a hand of two cards. The goal is to guess which hand is closest to nine, with the winner being whichever hand comes closer. Each card has a value based on its number of pips (the dots on a playing card that represent clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades) and its face value. The cards in a baccarat hand are dealt from a six- or eight-deck shoe, and the winning hand is the one that has a final digit closest to nine.

Once the player and banker hands have been dealt, a third card is drawn on the basis of the rules of the game. If the total of the first two cards equals 8 or 9 – a so-called natural win – the game is over and bets placed on either the player or banker hand are paid out.

Bettors who correctly predict a winning banker hand qualify for a payout of 1 to 1. However, those who wager on the player hand must pay a 5% commission and can only receive the 9-to-1 payout if they are lucky enough to win.