If you’ve been to a sticky-floor California card room or tuxedo-laden casino in Monaco, chances are that you have seen baccarat played. This classic casino game is a favorite of high rollers, allowing them to feel sophisticated while cutting cards and flipping coins for money. But it’s also a game for beginners and the casual player, offering simple rules and a fast pace that make it easy to learn.

Players place wagers on either the Player, Banker, or Tie hand. The goal of the game is to get as close to nine points without going over. The hands are compared and the winning hand is paid out. If the first two cards total 8 or 9, a third card is drawn to determine the winner. If the third card is a 9 or 8, the game ends and bets are paid.

The game’s popularity has spawned many variations and ways to play, including side bets and Mini Baccarat. But before you try out these new additions, it’s important to set a budget and stick with it, and to gamble responsibly by not chasing your losses.

The simplest baccarat strategy is to bet on the Banker. This bet has a lower house edge than the Player bet, so you have a better chance of winning in the long run. However, if you’re on a losing streak it may be a good idea to switch to the Player bet until you’ve broken even. Then you can switch back to the Banker bet.