Baccarat, also known as Baccarat or Punto y Banca, is a card game of French origin – though some say Italian – played in many casinos worldwide and online. The game has been around since the 15th century, but it was in the last century that baccarat became the most popular game.
Punto y Banca, or baccarat in Spanish, is a card game with a significant randomness component and does not require much strategy or in-depth knowledge of the game to play and win. However, you should always be clear about the different possible bets and whether they are better or worse.
There was a time when baccarat was not a very popular game, probably because it could only be found in big casinos, and only big players bet on it. But with the advent of online casinos in the late 90s, baccarat is increasingly available online, so more and more casino fans favor this exciting game.
As we said before, this is a card game in which, before you start playing, you have to decide how much you want to bet and place your chips/credits on the bets. In Baccarat, you have three options: bet on the player, the dealer, or a draw – meaning you can bet on whether you win, the dealer wins, or neither side wins – egalité, as they say in the original version of the game.
Once you’ve placed your bet, the dealer deals the first cards: two for you, two for him. The one whose sum of those two cards is closest to 9…. wins. But the aim of the game isn’t to have the best hand. It’s to guess which of the parties involved will play the closest to 9 – that’s what you’re betting on.
Based on these values: the dealer wins if his hand is closest to 9, the player wins if his hand is most relative to 9, or the game ends in a draw if the number is the same. It’s that simple! In the latter case, you will get your bet back.
You should also be aware that there can be up to 10 players in Baccarat, in which case your bet will be on whichever player wins (the point) or the dealer wins (the banker) – hence the name ‘point and banker’. Another thing to keep in mind when playing is that you can play up to 8 packs of cards – although online, it’s common to play between 3 and 6 packs of cards.
If a player or banker has an 8 or 9 when adding up the first two cards – a so-called natural hand – no more cards are dealt. But a third card will be dealt with in the following cases:
From this point on, the game becomes a little more complicated, but there’s nothing to worry about. The best way to approach it is this: since you can’t directly influence the outcome of the game, it’s best to start by playing a demo version online to familiarise yourself with the rules and dynamics of the game – especially since with this way of playing you can’t consider the dealer to be an opponent… he acts according to the rules.
In general, it can be said that the dealer has a definite advantage over the player(s). Also, since you don’t have to rely on yourself to win, you don’t have to focus on the cards you have as a player, but instead, focus on which side has a better chance of winning. In terms of odds of winning, they are more in favor of the dealer – with this distribution:
Thanks to the fact that graphics have evolved tremendously in recent years when playing online Baccarat, you can clearly see the different options you have. You can easily understand the dynamics of the game. Either way, our recommendation is clear: take advantage of the free versions of the game and practice with them before you bet your own money – don’t bet until you feel comfortable with the rules.
The following is a list of the different house edges according to the number of decks of cards placed in the shoe:
House Margin by Number of Decks
Baccarat is another casino game that gives the player almost as much chance of winning as the casino itself. It consists of a simple game with only three different types of bets. On one of these bets, the house has a massive margin of 14.4%, so avoid it at all costs. The other two bets pay virtually the same, and on one of them, the house edge is less than 1.5%.
Baccarat pits the point against the dealer: in each hand, the player must choose which of these two hands will win the round. If he chooses the right hand, the player is paid 1:1. If he bets on the point, the player is paid 1:1 with no deductions. If he bets on the dealer and wins, 5% of the winnings are deducted as a commission.
The commission exists so that players do not take advantage of the fact that the banker has a higher chance of winning (50.68%).
The best to avoid at the baccarat table is the tie. It pays 8 to 1, but the probability of hitting is only 9.5%. That gives the house a considerable margin of 14.4% over the player, as what the house has to pay when a tie occurs is offset by the few times it happens.
Betting on the point pays 1 to 1 and results in a successful bet 48.15% of the time. This is much better than betting on a draw, but even with the 5% commission to be paid every time the banker wins, betting on the point is still less advantageous than betting on the banker. Many players, in fact, only bet on the bank when playing Baccarat. It may not be the most exciting way to play, but mathematically it provides the most significant advantage for winning in the long run.
It is also important when calculating the odds of winning at Baccarat to consider the number of decks placed in the shoe of the game you want to play. Baccarat games use one, six, or eight decks of cards. The house edge differs according to the number of tiers.
House Edge With An 8 Deck Shoe
House Margin With A 6 Deck Shoe
House Margin With A Single Deck Shoe
Other casinos, both land-based and virtual, sometimes implement more liberal rules. The odds of winning in these baccarat games are higher because the casino adjusts the commission paid on a winning banker bet. These casinos’ percentage deduct from their commission varies from 1% to the complete 5%, and often liberal baccarat games are only available for a particular time and in high stakes rooms.
The odds of winning in a liberal game will change the house edge in the player’s favor, and, as with any baccarat game, those odds depend on the number of decks of cards placed in the shoe. Some casinos even pay 9:1 odds on a tie bet, which significantly reduces the house edge on that type of bet. In an eight-deck game where the tie pays 9:1, the house has a margin of just 4.84%. With six decks, the margin increases to 4.93%, and with one deck to 6.38%.
There is a widespread fallacy about the game of Baccarat that many players still believe. Looking for patterns in the cards that are dealt is a typical thing to see in most live baccarat games, as players try to find ways in the results of hands and alternate between the point and the dealer. Players are even provided with paper and pencil to keep track of the results, but it is all a waste of time. The results of a particular hand do not depend on the results of any other hand.
In the past, Baccarat was a game played only by people with a lot of money in a secret casino room. It has since evolved to become a popular game among players from all walks of life. The introduction of mini-baccarat made the game popular among all players, and the trend is still growing.
The game is easy to learn, and it should also be easy to learn how to manage the funds you want to bet. Players only need to set limits on how much they are willing to lose in a single session and how many winnings would be enough for them to consider withdrawing from the game and keeping the money.
Baccarat is very similar to the game of blackjack because the decision to exit the game at the right time is one of the most important decisions a player has to make. In all gambling games, there are times when you win and times when you lose; leaving the game when you are winning rather than when you are losing really makes a difference.
Players who develop strategies when playing Baccarat may think they are very clever and imagine taking advantage of mathematical advantages. But Baccarat is one of the worst games for those who want to win on a more or less regular basis.
It really is a game designed so that gambling bigwigs can dress up in fancy clothes, brag about all the banknotes they have, and generally walk away feeling that they have a license to kill. The latter, of course, is a reference to James Bond, so there was a good reason why 007 often appeared playing this risky game of chance in various films (until the horrible decision was made to change this game to Texas Hold’em).
Whether you’re a high-stakes gambler or a lowly working stiff looking for a high-stakes adventure, it’s a fact that you came here looking for advice on the best strategy for playing Baccarat. That’s why, despite everything, I don’t want to discourage you. I prefer to give you weapons so that you know how to achieve your goal.
The following is the advice I can give you on how to play Baccarat, which combines my own experiences, various sources on the internet, and a lot of time reading Ian Fleming’s novels.
This may sound horrible, but poor people should run away from the baccarat table as fast as they can. This is a game for those who can afford to spend money; those who can barely make the rent should head for the budget slots section. If you insist on playing anyway, I recommend trying online because many casinos place baccarat tables in private areas where a strict code of etiquette must be observed and where minimum bets are prohibitive.
Whether you are playing Baccarat or Uno, it is always helpful to know the game’s rules. There are mainly two Baccarat variants in casinos worldwide, so you must recognize the differences between point and bank and chemin de fer. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking like a fool in front of all the other wealthy players.
In the point and banker variant, you have the option of betting on who will win the round: the moment, the banker, or neither side, resulting in a draw. Avoid betting on the tie because the house edge is almost 15% on this type of bet. Betting the point gives the house an edge of 1.24%, while backing the banker offers a mere 1.06% disadvantage to the punter.
Wesley Snipes would tell you to always bet on black. We advise you: “Always bet on the banker.” In the long run, as a matter of mathematics, you’ll still be losing, but you’ll have a better chance of winning some excellent rounds.
Ignore betting patterns. Casinos always give notebooks and pencils to their baccarat players. Why? It’s so that patrons can write down the different totals for each hand and look for patterns. This may sound promising, but in reality, it’s like giving the same tools to a slots player and asking him to look for ways on the reels.
It has more to do with tradition than anything else, and many, many players don’t even bother to do it. The issue is that giving the customer pen and paper makes them feel like they can beat the game, which is often enough to keep them coming back to the tables again and again.
This strategy involves looking for winning streaks, either from the point or from the dealer. To apply this ‘e-strategy,’ place a bet on whoever won the last hand (as long as it wasn’t a tie). As long as the dealer or the point continues to win, continue to bet on them. When the winner changes, change your bet as well.
Another strategy employed in various casino games is to place bets in a pre-decided sequential pattern. Here’s an example of what we mean; note that it is only appropriate to identify each bet if the player lost the previous hand: $15, $30, $60, $120, and $240. The idea is that a losing streak has to end sooner or later, so doubling the bet each time you lose would have to compensate for those losses. Under this system, the player must bet $25 each time he has a winning hand.
As you may have noticed, I’m not a big fan of baccarat strategies. They are false beliefs whose purpose is to create the illusion that players can win in the long run, which is simply not true. Baccarat is a game of chance, and there is nothing the customer can do to change that.
Naturally, this does not mean that Baccarat should be avoided. As long as you have the money to play it, you can enjoy the adrenaline rush it generates as much as any other casino game. Just make sure you measure your expectations, manage your money well and focus on enjoying the experience. If you follow this last tip, you’ll always be a winner at the end of the day.