Alright, screw 007! But still, if you wish to play this timeless game like a boss, you may want to have a few tricks up your sleeve. That’s why we whipped up this baccarat strategy guide to show you the ropes and talk about nuances that will surely give you an edge. Let’s roll!
A Quick History of Baccarat
The origins of Baccarat are somewhat disputed. According to some sources, the game of Baccarat was invented in Italy, during the Franco-Italian war in the late 15th century. After the war, it was introduced into France by the returning soldiers.
Other historians claim that Baccarat games originated much later, in the 19th century. Whatever the case, we know for sure that Baccarat became very popular among the French nobility in the 19th century, during the Napoleon era.
The earliest form of Baccarat was Baccarat Banque, a three-person game with three inter-shuffled decks where card counting is still an option, sort of. Chemin de Fer came later, as a two-person game, notably played and loved by our favorite movie spy James Bond.
Baccarat Punto Banco, a very popular game in both online casinos and land-based casinos, is a modern variant of the game, introduced as a full-on casino gambling game in Havana in the 1940s. In Punto Banco, the bettor is either betting on the banker, or the player, trying to figure out who has the winning hand.
The Basics of Playing Baccarat
In order to win at baccarat you must adopt a winning baccarat strategy and pick up some Baccarat tips, so let’s start with the basic rules. First, let’s handle the format of different Baccarat games, or should we say Baccarat tables.
Big table baccarat is a game that seats 12 to 14 Baccarat players. The Baccarat table itself looks nothing like the blackjack tables, with players seated in a circle, all of them betting on the dealer or the player. The role of a dealer is rotational, but a player can refuse to deal and pass the shoe to the next player.
As long as the banker is on the winning streak the same player will continue to deal cards as follows: two face down cards under the shoe, and the other two face down cards to the player with the maximum bet on the player. The dealing player will turn over the cards and the totals are announced.
Depending on the outcome, a third card might be dealt, after which the winnings are paid and the losses are collected. Keep in mind that a dealing player is not responsible for bets made by other players, or any money management whatsoever.
Different Baccarat Strategy Versions
Throughout history, baccarat evolved and changed like any other human leisure activity. In the present day, some baccarat versions have become more popular than others, so let’s take a look at the games you are most likely to find in every land-based or real live casino.
Chemin de Fer
In French, Chemin de Fer means ‘railroad’. Compared to Punto Banco, the key difference is that Chemin de Fer is played against other players, and in particular conditions, gamblers have a chance to change their hands by standing or hitting.
Up to 12 players take turns in the role of the banker, using six decks of cards, so if you want to count cards that can be a bit of a problem. Over time, Chemin de Fer has become less and less popular, due to the fact that it requires a certain degree of interaction between players, and it has a significantly slower pace than Punto Banco.
If you want to play Baccarat online, Punto banco is a good choice, being one of the most popular card games in existence. The betting system is slightly different, and players can wager on ties as well as betting on the player, or the banker. Also, in a game of Punto Banco casino croupier, or casino sites, will take the role of a dealer exclusively, instead of players.
Most casinos today also feature Mini Baccarat, a game played at Mini Baccarat tables, with the same rules as its big brother, with one significant difference – the dealer will turn all of the cards, thus making this game more dynamic and faster.
All of the rules, odds, bets, baccarat strategy tips, and theoretical house edge are exactly the same, assuming that a Mini Baccarat game is played with the same number of card decks. Equally low house edge and swift play made Mini Baccarat stand out among other, less attractive casino games.
This type of baccarat is more popular in land casinos across Europe than in modern online casinos. It is very similar to Chemin de Fer but with a few differences, the biggest one being that the casino holds the bank at all times.
Players are not playing against each other, and a player that is taking the role of the bank doesn’t have to cover bets made by other players. Baccarat Banque is played with two regular baccarat tables combined, seating from 10 to 16 players, with a dealer in the middle.
Before we sink deeper into this baccarat strategy guide, let’s check out the money management and see what are the payouts. A ‘player bet’ will double your money if the player hand is closer to 9 than the banker’s hand. Betting on the banker works pretty much the same, but if the banker wins you will have to pay casino commission.
Bank hand bets are tied to a 5% commission because banker bets have a lower house edge – 1,06 against 1,24 percent. Lastly, of all baccarat strategies tie bets are the worst, even with an 8:1 payout.
You are laying your real money on a baccarat table hoping that a banker and a player will have an equal count. This baccarat ‘system’ has a disastrous house advantage of 14,36% and according to the math, it will drain your deposit best online casino signup bonus in no time.
Tie Bet – The Only Baccarat Bet to Avoid
There are plenty of baccarat betting systems and baccarat bets are one of the easiest to master, but there is one baccarat strategy you should always avoid – the tie bet. The safest baccarat strategy is to stay away from the tie bet because although it has the biggest payout percentage of 8 to 1, it comes with the worst house edge and it drastically lowers your chance to win at baccarat.
The house edge is a staggering 14,36%, so no matter how good the tie bets pay in theory, there is no lady luck or card counting in the world that will help you win more money if you decide to risk it and go for the tie bet. In contrast, banker betting baccarat strategy have the house edge of 1.06, making banker bets far more viable baccarat strategy
The Simplest Baccarat Strategy – Betting With the Banker
Betting with the banker is the safest of all betting systems in every baccarat casino. It has nothing to do with lady luck, it’s just applied mathematics. If you bet on the banker hand, you’ll be against the lowest house edge of 1.06 percent, but the banker hand’s house advantage is not the only reason why most of the smart bets land on the banker bet. If we eliminate tie hands, the player bet wins in 49,32% of cases and loses in 50,68%.
Banker bet, on the other hand, will win in 50,68% of situations, and lose at the rate of 49,32%. To compensate for this, casinos introduced a 5% commission on winning banker bets, but even then this remained the optimal baccarat strategy. Betting solely on the banker has the best odds to improve your winning streaks, but that is not to say that betting on the banker is the only possible betting system if you want to win baccarat games.
The Martingale System
One of the most popular betting systems, applicable in most casino games. The Martingale system relies on the long-term projections and it assumes that the payout will be close or exact to the bet’s return to player percentage (RTP). In other words, this baccarat strategy suggests that if you lose a hand, you should double down on the next bet.
In theory, this system seems more reliable than all the other betting strategies, but it has a couple of flaws. You need a huge bankroll and serious money management to endure it in the long run, secondly, you may have to play baccarat for a long time and place plenty of bets to beat baccarat players or the banker, and lastly, if you are on the losing streak doubling down could reach the table limit.
The Fibonacci Strategy
It’s all about the Fibonacci sequence of natural numbers (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13…), where the next number equals the sum of the previous two. Fibonacci and Martingale are betting systems that heavily rely on the theory of mean revision, meaning you have to increase the wager every time you lose.
For instance, let’s say you wager a baseline bet of $1 ‘till you lose, then bet $2 and if you lose again, increase it to $5. After that, it’s $8, $13, and so on, until you win. At that point, you should return to your first bet, a $1 wager.
The D’Alembert System
This is a positive progression system designed to protect you from sudden losses and recouping lost wagers all at the same time. The goal is to set a base numerical value and for every bet, you lose you are supposed to increase the next bet by said value.
For example, a high roller sets his or her base value at a $100 chip. He or she makes a $500 bet and loses, so the next bet should be $600. The player will continue to wager $600 until he or she loses again, and for every three wins, a player is supposed to take away one $100 chip. As with many baccarat tips, the D’Alembert system suggests that in the end wins and losses will even each other out.
The Paroli System
The Anti-Martingale system, or simply the Paroli, is exactly what it sounds like – you are waiting for a lucky winning streak and to increase your bets each time you win accordingly. Once you lose, you return to the flat betting system and wager the table minimum.
Sometimes called ‘the poor man’s Martingale’, this system is easier on the bankroll because you will bet more money only if you are winning, but all it takes is one big loss at a game of baccarat and you’re down to square one. Obviously, the best strategy is to set a limit and walk away as soon as it happens.
The Labouchere System
Often used in roulette, the Labouchere system was devised by a player of the same name. It is used in every even money proposition, such as a game of baccarat, and it’s one of those negative progression betting systems that increases the wager after every lost bet. Unlike the Martingale, you are not trying to recover losses with a single bet, but several bets that will consistently win.
Here’s how it works: you write down a sequence of numbers representing the amount of money you wish to win in total. Every time you make a bet it should be equal to the sum of your first and last number. If you win, remove the said numbers and keep playing with the remaining numbers. If you lose, just add the lost bet at the end of the sequence and keep doing so until you reach your goal, or lose the money entirely.
Other Betting Strategies
For this article, we will exclude strategies involving high rollers with ridiculous bankrolls, and focus on tips and tricks available to us, regular gamblers. One of those is a so-called 1-3-2-6 strategy, based on a positive progression system with long long-term winnings in mind. If you believe that you will win the next four hands, you should bet using the sequence mentioned above, where numbers represent your betting unit, a $5 chip for instance. Naturally, this can only work if you are relying on small bets and follow the game flow very carefully.
What’s the Best Winning Baccarat Strategy?
Why is the banker bet your best bet?
Banker bet has the lowest house edge, therefore it is your best choice among all baccarat strategy tips. But, this is not to say that the banker bet is your only viable solution. Remember, there is a 5% casino commission on every banker bet win, and the player bet is only slightly worse than the banker bet, with house edges of 1,06% against 1,24% respectively.
Baccarat strategies to avoid
This is very simple, if you want your deposit bonus to last longer, do not make all-in bets and stay away from betting on ties. Another important thing is to adjust your strategy to your bankroll and never push it too hard because in baccarat it is equally important to be patient, as well as lucky.
Tips on Handling Your Bankroll When Playing Baccarat
Set win/loss limits
It may sound counterintuitive, but setting your win limits is as important as setting your loss limits. The game of baccarat usually takes sharp turns when it comes to winning and losing streaks, which is very important to stop as soon as you reach both of your limits.
Always remember – even if you are making bets with the lowest house advantage you will still lose a certain amount of money in the long run.
So, after you set your win/loss limits, enjoy the game and leave it immediately if you lose all the money, or win the projected sum. It doesn’t have to be a very long break, take a shower, go for a walk, spend a little time with your friend, or simply switch games and play some slots, again, with win/loss limits set in advance.
Break down your bankroll
We can not stress enough how important this is. There is no luck in the world that will save your bankroll if you neglect it and start to gamble on a whim. On average, a casino player is involved in more than one game, and having a single bankroll for all your online gambling activities is a very bad idea.
Each and every casino game should have a bankroll of its own, both in brick and mortar casinos and their online brethren. As soon as you lose the money from your bankroll reserved for baccarat, quit immediately! If this is too hard, try setting time limits for every game session and respect them at all times.
Wager on low house edge bets
Like so many gambling games, a good game of baccarat is played over a longer period of time. With that in mind, playing baseline bets is much safer and more entertaining, especially if you combine it with low house edge bets.
Betting on the banker carries the least amount of risk, prolonging your game to the point where you can actually win something, even with the 5% casino commission.
Betting on the player’s hand is another smart move because there is no commission on your wins and the house edge is only slightly worse compared to the banker bets, with the RTP’s of 98,94% vs. 98,76%. By all means avoid wagering on ties, no matter how tempting the payout ratio of 8:1 might be.
Avoid all-in bets
It’s simple, the risk is too big and too unpredictable. Real baccarat strategies involve time and patience, and your bankroll probably can’t handle all-in bets – all the time. Even if you decide to go for the ‘betting banker strategy’ with the lowest house edge in the game, you are still going to lose money according to the statistics, so please avoid such risky bets and stick to the long-term playing with smaller bets.
Employ the right baccarat strategy
It’s all about money management, honestly. There is no single best strategy to employ, instead, you should seek out the one that fits your needs, style, and most importantly – bankroll. If you are rich and have time to spare, the Martingale could be your best bet.
On the other hand, players with small bankrolls can’t afford to go that way, so the D’Alembert system or maybe even the Labouchere system could work for them if they are lucky enough.
At all times, keep in mind that banker bet has the best odds, with the player bet being closely second, with one big benefit – there is no 5% casino commission. If you are in a position to count cards, which is rarely an option, please do.
And remember that counting cards is not illegal, but casinos are private enterprises built on private property, and the owners can restrict you from playing if they wish to do so.
Baccarat Strategy Guide Summary
Like in every casino game, knowing your strengths and weaknesses is the first step towards victory, or in our case – big casino winnings. In that sense, there is no ‘correct baccarat strategy’ that can be applied to every single gambler in the world, because of too many variables involved. Instead, the goal is to find a baccarat strategy that will work the best for you, and you alone.
Right from the start, you must pick a baccarat variant that best fits your personal preferences, be it game style, level of interaction, rules of the game, or a bankroll that can withstand the potential damage. After that, honestly estimate your bankroll and designate a portion of it towards baccarat.
Next, set your loss and win limits and respect it at all times. Our advice is to treat your money designated for gambling as if it was already lost. Think of it as an entertainment expense, just as if you were going to a pub, cafe, or restaurant. However, if you do win some money, it will be even more satisfying.
If you plan to play baccarat in online casinos with an active welcome bonus, play it slowly with small bets to resolve the wagering first, and only then go for the winnings. As mentioned in the text above, your safest bet is to wager on a banker, and betting on the player comes close second.
Avoid tying bets at all costs, because they are plentiful and hard on your bankroll. As for the betting systems, try to find the one that is most suited for your expectations, and most importantly – your bankroll. The Martingale can be useful for high rollers, but equally dangerous for those with small bankrolls.
For the latter, the Paroli system could be lucrative if applied with great discipline. The Labouchere system is the most complex of all, and it requires some practice and serious tactics, so it’s maybe for the best if you try it later on, after you’ve mastered the game a little bit and picked up a trick or two. And please, gamble responsibly if you plan to use real money! We got you, Bro!