Baccarat is one of the most popular card games, both online and in land-based casinos — and it’s easy to see why the table game has become a darling of casual and seasoned players alike. With the right baccarat strategy, you can help grow your bankroll, raise your winning odds, and take your gameplay to the next level.
Some inexperienced players would mistakenly assume baccarat is a game reserved only for the richest of high rollers who can afford to bet big in the opulent casinos across gambling hubs like Las Vegas, Monte Carlo, and Macau. Others are reluctant to try the game because they fear its rules are way too complicated for them to comprehend.
The good news is none of the above is actually true. The fact of the matter is nowadays there is even no need to leave your home if you want to play baccarat. There are plenty of licensed online casinos where you can bet as little as $1 per hand so lacking a substantial bank is no excuse not to give the game a shot.
The Basic Baccarat Strategy Explained
Before players start mastering the basic baccarat strategy, they should take some time to understand the probabilities they will be up against in this game. This is a very player-friendly game that yields the lowest house edge in a casino, the only other exception being the dice game of craps. In baccarat, you are fighting a long-term house edge of 1.06% for banker bets, 1.24% edge for players bets, and 14.36% for the tie bets, but the latter should be off limits for smart players.
Baccarat players who place player or banker bets are enjoying an almost even-odds game. The odds of winning with a banker bet are the highest at 45.84% whereas the player hand wins 44.61% of the time on average. Player and banker will tie on rare occasions so the probability of a push between the two hands is only 9.54%. It follows you should never bet on ties – not only because your chances of winning with this wager are slim but because you will be underpaid at reduced odds of 8 to 1. Note these figures are accurate when you are playing eight-deck baccarat.
The Basics of Baccarat: How to Play
With European appeal and all the glitz and glamour, baccarat can be a little intimidating at first. However, behind the tough exterior, you’ll find a decent card game with only three possible outcomes per hand. In fact, there’s little to no skill required to get started.
Like most table games like Blackjack, baccarat uses three to six standard 52-card decks which are shuffled together and placed in a dealing machine called the ‘shoe.’ Playing the game is as simple as it can get.
Despite what it might sound like, the croupier does all the heavy-lifting, including dealing out the cards from the shoe. All you have to do is place your bet, sit back, and let the fall of the cards decide your fate.
First things first: you have to wager using chips/tokens/checks on the Player hand, Bank hand, or make a tie bet.
The croupier will then deal out two cards to the Player (also known as the Punter), and two cards to the Banker, all of them face up. The goal here is to guess which hand has a count that’s as close to 9 as possible.
- Cards 2 through 9 carry their face values.
- Each of the Tens (10s) and Face (also called Court = J, Q, and K) cards has a numerical value equal to zero (0).
- Every Ace card counts as 1 numerically.
The values of the two cards are added to determine the worth of each hand. If the Player has 2 and Q, for instance, then the hand is worth 2 points. If the Banker has 3 and 5, the hand’s value is 8.
If the total of any hand is more than 9, the count is adjusted by deducting 10 or by dropping the sum’s first digit. Therefore, if the hand’s two cards are 9 and 6, the total comes up to 5 and not 15.
Each hand can hold up to three cards, and there are rules specified by the casino on whether the Player hand or Banker will receive a third drawcard. Most house rules dictate that a Player must stand when the count is 6 or 7.
When the Player hand is worth less than 5, a third card is drawn. If the count is exactly 5, the Player can either stand or call for a third card.
When does a Banker receive the third card? This happens if the Banker’s count is less than 3 or as stipulated by the most favorable odds.
On the other hand, the Banker must stand at any count of 6 or higher.
The Banker may stand or draw a third card if the Bank hand’s count is exactly 3 to a Player’s 3rd card of 9. The same should happen when the Banker’s count is 5 and the Player has received a 4 in the third-card draw.
Betting With the Banker: The Simplest Baccarat Strategy
Unless you are new to baccarat, the chances are you have heard that you “should always wager on the Banker.” This isn’t just one of the most cited gambling quotes.
Betting with the Banker is not only the simplest but also the safest baccarat strategy. And it all boils down to pure math.
First of all, the theoretical house edge for betting on the Banker, as mentioned earlier, is 1.06 percent. By the same token, the return to player (RTP) or payout percentage for Banker bets is a staggering 98.94 percent.
If we assume that you made a hundred $1 bets on the Bank hand, then you will get $98.94 back. It’s worth keeping in mind that this metric is theoretical and it only tells you whether a specific bet is better or worse than another.
The RTP of a bet on the Bank hand of 98.94 percent suggests that it’s slightly better than a Player hand wager, which has an RTP of 98.76 percent. Similarly, a bet on a tie is worse than either because of its relatively low RTP of 85.64 percent.
The reason betting on the Banker is always a good idea goes beyond the house edge and RTP, though. Let’s take a closer look at the math of the Banker betting baccarat strategy:
Assuming that the casino is using eight standard 52-card decks; Tie bets pay at 8:1; Banker bets pay evens minus 5 percent commission; and that there’s a 1:1 payoff for Player bets, then the math says:
- Player hand loses 45.87 percent, wins 44.63 percent, and ties 9.51 percent.
- Bank Hand, on the other, loses 44.65 percent, wins 45.87 percent, and ties 9.51 percent.
If we remove all hands that tie from the equation, then the Bank hand loses 49.32 percent of the hands, while it wins 50.68 percent. On the flip side, 50.68 percent of Player hands lose, while 49.32 percent win.
Against this mathematical background, it’s clear that Bank hand bets are more likely to win than lose, while Player hands lose more frequently than win. To correct for this, there’s a 5 percent commission on all winning Banker bets.
Even when you include the 5 percent charge and ignore hands that tie, the Banker hand’s house advantage is still a very favorable 1.17 percent. In other words, every $100 worth of Banker bets will result in a theoretical loss of $1.17, while similar Player hand wagers will result in a loss of $1.36.
Numbers don’t lie: you’re more likely to win if you trust your money with the Banker!
Don’t get it wrong, though. Betting solely with the Player has an almost equally low house edge of 1.36 percent, which means it can also be a viable baccarat strategy.
5 Basics Baccarat Tips to Win The Game
It may look a little tricky, but baccarat is a pretty simple game to play. It can make for a fun night out or gambling online — with some real opportunities at profits if luck goes your way.
Here’s a little casino advice before you take a seat at the baccarat table.
1. Don’t take the tie bet — There are three bets in baccarat and one of them is really bad. In a game that has such a low house edge and that can be so favorable for gamblers, the tie is an absolutely terrible bet. Players who take this bet, lured by an 8-to-1 payout, are handing the house a massive 14.36 percent house edge. Overcoming that edge and coming out a winner is virtually impossible. Bet the player or the banker — or just keep your cash in your pocket.
2. It’s rules-driven — The game of baccarat is centuries old and is governed by a specific set of rules. It makes the game more enjoyable to know the hand values and rules for drawing a third card. Each card retains its numerical value, but kings, queens, jacks, and 10s all are valued at 0. Aces have a value of 1. When two cards are added together and the total is above 9, subtract 10 to determine the value. For example, if you have a 6 and a 7 in your hand, that would be valued at 3. Watch those cards and follow along — hopefully with a bunch of winning hands.
3. Player meet banker, banker meet player — Ultimately, baccarat is a game of chance but with only a tiny house edge. Betting the player only affords the house a 1.24 percent advantage. A wager on the banker only carries an edge of 1.06 percent. Those are just a bit worse than 50-50 and players making good guesses can score some profits.
4. Walk away a winner — Too often players approach gambling with hopes of a major score and of turning their three-figure bankroll into four or five figures. But those expectations are usually unreasonable. Be ready to take a 10 percent to 25 percent profit if you find yourself ahead. Those house edges may be small in baccarat, but can catch up with players over time. If your gambling budget is $1,000 and you’ve won $150 or $200, consider it a good session and cash in those chips. If you’re online, it may be time to log out and be happy with a win. A celebratory cocktail or steak dinner might be a good way to close out the night.
5. No trends, no tricks — The game of baccarat is really driven by the dealer. It’s a game of chance dealt from a shoe that usually has eight decks. There’s nothing a player can really do to overcome the house edge or make certain choices that are better than others. Each hand is independent of each other hand, and betting on streaks or trends may seem like a great idea, but will usually prove fruitless. In essence, it’s a guessing game. But it’s a fun guessing game nonetheless. So, grab that lucky rabbit’s foot or horseshoe — maybe this time your guesses will be correct.
Addtional Basic Baccarat Betting Strategy: 10 Baccarat Tips Simple Guidelines To Winning
With these 10 baccarat tips you'll look like a professional when you take your seat, and you may even improve your chances of winning at this easiest of games. But while baccarat may be one of the simplest casino card games to play, it is also one of the most glamorous and visible games in many casinos.
1. The number one rule for gambling, and the most important of all baccarat tips is to never gamble with ?dear? money; only gamble with ?excess? money. In other words, never gamble with money that you will need now, or may need in the near future, to pay for your financial commitments and everyday living expenses.
2. The best of all baccarat tips you can receive when it comes to playing American baccarat is to ignore anyone who claims to have professional baccarat tips that will help you develop a ?winning strategy? for playing the game. The fact is that baccarat is governed by very strict playing rules that allow for no choices by either the dealer or the players. As a result, you are at the mercy of lady luck with little ability to improve your odds of winning.
3. The good news is that the house has a relatively small advantage on most of the bets in American baccarat. There are three potential bets in baccarat and the one with a slightly better advantage for you is the wager on the bank. If you're playing with an 8 deck shoe, the house advantage on this bet is just a little over 1%.
4. The next most attractive bet is a wager on the player. Again, if you're playing with an 8 deck shoe, the house advantage on this bet is only about 1.24%.
5. Since there are only three choices of wagers, if you want to simply avoid the bet with the worst odds in baccarat do not bet on a tie. Even though the payout of 9 to 1 may sound attractive, the fact is that the house still has a commanding advantage of around 6%.
6. One of the legitimate baccarat tips you should know is that your odds will either improve or worsen if you find a game being played with fewer than 8 decks. In a one deck game, for example, the house advantage on a wager on the bank drops slightly, the house advantage on a wager on the player goes up slightly and the house advantage on a wager on a tie goes up dramatically.
7. If you simply must some baccarat tips, and since baccarat is a European game, the tip you'll receive most frequently on the Continent is to use the ?Avant Dernier? system. In French avant dernier means ?before last? and that's exactly what you bet in this strategy. When betting on the current hand, go back to the winner of the hand before the last one and bet on that winner ? either banker or player. For example, if the last three hands were won by Player, Banker, and Player you would look back to the hand before last and place your bet on Banker.
8. While the Martingale system is a negative progression system that is sure to leave you broke over the long term, you might give it a try for a medium-long period of playing baccarat. Simply put, when you lose a bet with your standard betting unit double the amount of the bet on the next hand. When you win a hand, go back to the standard betting unit for the next hand.
9. More optimistic baccarat tips favor positive progression systems to manage money. Here, every time you win a hand, increase the size of your bet by 50% on the next hand. When you lose, go back to your standard betting unit. For example, if your standard betting unit is $10.00, bet $10.00 on the first hand. If you win, bet $15 on the next hand. If you win that hand bet $22.50 on the next hand. When you finally lose, go back to your standard betting unit.
10. One of the most legitimate baccarat tips is to look for a game where the house charges you less for the privilege of playing. The standard commission charged by the house is usually 5%. But if you take some time to look around, you may be able to find gaming establishments, both live and on the internet, that will charge a lower percentage of your winnings. You may find live games charging commissions of as little as 4.0% and internet sites have been known to impose commissions of as little as 2.75%.