Baccarat Strategies

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Baccarat is often described as a “coin flip” type of game. With the exception of Ties that neither win nor lose, the outcome is simply “heads” or “tails”—Banker or Player. For that very reason, having the right betting strategy can certainly help boost the odds of winning.

But designing a strategy for Baccarat is rather different from the approach taken for other casino games. Most of the decision-making opportunities regarding hand play are predetermined by the strict rules of the game. After the initial two cards are dealt, there’s little for the player to do but watch and wait.

For that reason, Baccarat strategy must focus on the two aspects of the game that the participant has control over—which hand to back and how much to bet. In both instances, making the best choice isn’t simply a matter of luck. A good understanding of odds is required along with the ability to manage a bankroll.

Most Baccarat tables provide players with scorecards and pencils. Participants are encouraged to use these to keep a record of the outcomes of the hands as they are played. The object, apparently, is to take note of every Banker win, Player win and Tie, so that it becomes possible to analyse results, look for patterns and identify trends that can assist in determining which hand to back.

In truth, however, this is a total waste of the player’s time and intellect. There are eight decks in play. With no decisions to be made about drawing or standing, the order of wins and losses for either the Banker or Player will certainly be random. Even if a player were to record every single card dealt, the ones that remain in the deck would favour neither the Player nor the Banker. This explains why card counting has never been applied with any success to Baccarat.

On the other hand, there is one factor that can prove useful in deciding which hand to bet on—the odds. The drawing rules are set up to favour the Banker hand by a slight margin. Over the course of long periods of play, the Banker should prevail 45.86% of the time, while the Player’s success ratio will be 44.62%. The rest of the deals, 9.52%, will result in Ties. Clearly, betting on the Banker hand is the preferred strategy, at least a far as choosing the winner is concerned.

Many players will point out that something else must also be taken into account, namely the effect of the deducting a 5% House commission from the winnings whenever the Banker wager succeeds. But this is a money issue. It has no effect on the outcome of the deal or the winning percentages. It is a simple fact that the Banker hand will win more often than the Player hand, thus making it the preferred choice.

Another fact that can be derived from the odds is that betting on the Tie is a poor choice. Although winning Ties pay 8-to-1 in most casinos, or 9-to-1 in the most generous of them, the odds still do not justify challenging the House edge, which is typically 14.4%, or 4.8% for the 9-to-1 version.

Next, how much to wager at Baccarat must be a function of what funds are brought to the table. Wagering no more than 2% of the initial bankroll on a single hand is a good rule with which to begin. By the same token, the size of the total bankroll should equal at least 50 times the average wager to be made.

For example, when carrying a bankroll worth £500, the proper betting range is £5~£10 per hand. If the minimum bet required at a table is £25, the bankroll required would have to be 50 times that amount or at least £1,250. Preferably, £2,500 or more is needed if bets larger than the minimum are anticipated. It is a major mistake to sit down at a Baccarat table where the minimum bet is too high for the bankroll available.

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