Baccarat is an exciting card game and the favorite casino game of the world’s most famous spy, James Bond. And while the game may not be quite as popular as it once was, there are still thousands of gamblers around the world who enjoy this easy-to-play card game. Whether you play in person at a casino or prefer the convenience of playing the live dealer or online versions, we have some great advice to help you master this classic card game.
Join us as we take a quick look at how the game works and the advice you can incorporate into your baccarat strategy to increase your chances of winning.
A quick introduction to baccarat
Baccarat is a popular card game that is similar to blackjack in the sense that all you need to know is how to compare two hands of cards. This makes it very easy to learn. If you are new to the game, here’s how to play baccarat.
How to play baccarat
Gamblers place a wager on either the “player” or the “banker” to have the highest hand value out of nine points. These wagers offer payout odds of 1:1. Hands are calculated using the pip value of a card. Kings, queens, jacks and 10s are all worth zero; the ace is worth one, while cards from two to nine are worth their face value. You add up the value of each of these cards to determine your total hand value.
In the event that your hand total is equal to eight or nine, you have a natural win. If your hand total is more than 10, you drop the first digit from the total and only use the second digit for your hand value.
For example, if you have a one of clubs and a six of diamonds, your hand is worth seven. If you have a seven of spades and an eight of spades, your hand is actually worth five because you drop the first digit (one) from the total of 15.
Gamblers can also wager on whether there is a possibility of a “tie” between the “player” and the “banker” hands. Since this is quite a rare occurrence, it pays out 8:1.
If you’d like to learn more, be sure to check out our Beginner’s Guide to Baccarat.
Five Strategies for Baccarat
Here are five baccarat tips and tricks to help you improve your game:
Don’t rely on a betting strategy
Many people suggest you use a betting strategy such as the Martingale strategy, the Fibonacci strategy or the Paroli system to increase your chances of winning. But there’s one obvious flaw with all of these systems: no matter what they say, these strategies cannot overcome the odds of any game or particular wager. Whether it’s 2% or 20%, a betting strategy is always affected by the house edge. No matter what supporters of these systems may tell you, no betting strategy can overcome the house edge in pure games of chance.
Bet on the banker
When it comes to bets, it’s always recommended to bet on the banker. This is because the banker has a 45.8% chance of winning, compared to the player’s 44.6%. Yes, there’s almost always a small commission on bets placed on the banker to offset this, but in the long run it’s still worth your while to put your wager on the bet with a greater chance of winning.
Avoid the tie bet
When you compare the tie bet to the banker or player bet, it’s easy to see why so many baccarat players consider it to be a trap. The banker has a 45.8% chance of winning, the player 44.6%, but the chance of a tie is only 9.6%. Yes, at 8:1 the payout odds are great but you’re going to spend a lot of money chasing a win with a tie. If you’re hoping to get lucky, put your money on a tie, but it shouldn’t be considered a worthwhile strategy when it comes to increasing your wins.
You might be able to count cards in baccarat, but it’s not worth your time
There are many resources, like the Wizard of Odds article Card Counting in Baccarat, that can teach you how to count cards in baccarat. That’s right, as in blackjack, you can count cards to lower the house edge and increase your chances of winning. However, unlike in blackjack, the return on your efforts makes card counting in baccarat really not worth your time because of the tiny leverage it offers.
Always manage your bankroll
No matter what casino game you play, bankroll management is key to ensuring you can maximize your chances of winning. After all, you can’t play if you don’t have any money to bet with. Here are a few specific tips to ensure you get the most out of your bankroll when playing baccarat:
- Don’t bet money you can’t afford to lose. Don’t bet your rent or grocery money or any other money that you need to manage your day-to-day living.
- Set a budget. Whether it’s a daily, weekly or monthly budget, you should have a specific amount of money set aside to gamble with – and once that money is spent, stop playing.
- Never go all in. While it may seem tempting to go big or go home, if luck isn’t on your side, you’re going to be very unhappy while you’re heading home.
There are many more bankroll tips, so be sure to read up on how to make your bankroll go further.
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