Head of Casino Operations
It’s a game as classic as the night skies themselves, conjuring up images of classic cinema, smoky back rooms, high-class liquor and custom-made suits. But Baccarat is far from all style and no substance.
Here, I’m going to be delving deep into the strategy for baccarat, so you can see just how much there is to this conceptually very simple game. Not only will this help you see just why its balance, accessibility and depth has made it a literary favourite, but also give you plenty of ideas to improve your baccarat strategy.
Before I get into specifics, the first thing you’ll need to understand to come up with a baccarat winning strategy is how the game itself actually works. I always ensure that my crew understands the fundamentals before they put on their space helmets and get out there.
It’s important to recognise just how simple this game is. Indeed, most of the work is done by the dealer. Thanks to its place in popular culture, such as in the Moonraker novel – not sure why but that one always seemed to resonate with me – people seem to imagine it to be a complicated game like poker. It’s actually close to a mixture of blackjack and 1X2 sports markets. Sound strange? Allow me to explain…
Both you and the dealer (the banker) are trying to get the hand closest to nine. Hence, why it’s quite similar to blackjack. The game begins with both the player and the dealer being given two cards face up. Cards 2 to 9 have face value. Cards 10, Jack, Queen and King have a value of zero. An Ace is worth one.
When the cards dealt are greater than nine, you drop the first number. So, if you got a 7 and an 8, for instance, that would be 15, and you would drop the first number, meaning the value of your cards would be six. If the two cards come to nine, that is known as a natural and there is no need to draw additional cards at that side of the table. The same would be advised for an 8. At five or less, generally another card will be drawn.
As I said, it’s a very simple game. There are three possibilities: the player wins, the banker wins, or the game ends in a draw. Like a 1X2 market in sports betting, you can bet on any of these possibilities. In other words, you’re backing who you think will win, or whether the game will end in a draw.
That’s your blueprint to play, cadets, it’s all you need to know. However, we’re adventurers, are we not? Thus, we must venture forth, ever deeper into the realms of betting cyber space.
You may wonder then, if the game is so simple, whether you need a baccarat strategy at all. Well, rest assured, just like you cannot see the atoms which make up the matter of all life in the universe, it’s often tough to see the strategy for baccarat without a guide. Your best chance of success is to be prepared, which is exactly why I’m here to help.
There’s lots of reasons baccarat is such a popular game: its simplicity, its place in popular culture. But for those who search the forever expanding cyberspace universe, the reason is even simpler: as a game, it represents incredible value.
One thing that you will find mentioned in the PlayersBest strategy area is that among the most important elements to any kind of smart betting is ensuring you’re getting good value in the first place. This is true whether we’re talking about sports betting odds or how to play baccarat. The house advantage is generally a mere 1.06%, which really is exceptional compared to most casino games.
A bet on the draw, however, comes with a house edge of 14.36%. That’s a huge difference and pretty much always makes it the worst choice, even though it pays out at 8 to 1. Put simply, you should avoid the draw to get the best value.
This is arguably the most straightforward baccarat winning strategy. The ability to enjoy betting on this card game should never lose its laid back, simple cosmic magic, after all. The bet on the bank strategy works because overall, the bank wins over 50% of games. Therefore, betting on the banker is the easiest route to likely success.
Now, don’t misunderstand me. This is no guarantee of success: every game is different and the banker is not infallible and can indeed have a bad run just as the player can. You should never believe any strategy which makes claims otherwise. But the math speaks for itself. The reason this is such an enjoyable strategy is that you could know nothing about baccarat – it could be like telling a martian about scrabble – but bet on the dealer and that would be enough for a solid baccarat strategy.
The benefits here are so obvious that it comes with a 5% commission, but even then it’s still a very intelligent and logically sound strategy. Additions to this strategy you may want to employ also include following the bank until it loses to give yourself a natural stopping point, or taking a break when the bank loses. Both of these are ways of managing your money, speaking of which…
Whatever type of game you’re playing in this big betting universe, there is one constant that keeps all the planets aligned which is the need to manage your money. What I touched on in the last baccarat tip was a walk-away point. This is a vital part of money management.
If you are losing, it’s vital to have a maximum loss amount at which point you will walk away from the game. This number should never be more than you can afford to lose. In fact, it should be long before that point. You should decide on this before you start gambling. Preparation, whether it’s ensuring your ship is properly fuelled or preparing a baccarat winning strategy, is always vital to success.
Of course, my examples were winning walk away points, which is an important and often overlooked part of all gambling. Put it this way, if you continue to bet until you lose, you must eventually lose, meaning your online escapades are doomed from the start. So, whether it’s at the banker’s loss, or at a set amount spent, have a walk-away point to make sure your money is managed properly.
You may know the Martingale system from roulette strategies, and it can be applied exactly the same way here. Many casino games are like parallel worlds of each other, and the ability to use identical tactics showcases just how much they have in common.
The Martingale system works the same way in every application. First, you select a unit of bets. A dollar would be a typical example. When you lose, you double your bet, maintaining the same selections. As you are doubling your bet with each loss, whenever your bet comes in, you are covering that loss. As long as you can keep covering your losses, the logic here is that a streak one way or another must logically end at some point, meaning in theory, you should always at least end up even. Any winnings are therefore your profit.
The only issue with the Martingale system is that a losing streak can see your bets and losses get very high very quickly. This means you will have to ensure you have the bankroll to cover your losses otherwise you could end up very deep in the red. That’s why I recommend keeping your initial stake low.
This is a very similar system, so much so that it’s often known as the reverse martingale. Here you double your bet every time you win, meaning that you’re taking full advantage of any winning streaks. A loss sets you back to your original stake unit. This prevents losses from getting out of control.
However, it doesn’t do too much to actually change the odds of the game. Rather, it’s just a well-structured way of betting which manages your money while allowing for fun in the form of winning streaks. But hey, part of your strategy should always be to have a good but responsible time, which is what the Paroli system is all about.
The beauty of baccarat is that anyone can play it. There’s only one unwise market to bet on (the draw) and other than that, it pretty much operates automatically. It’s easy to follow and there aren’t that many big mistakes you can make. What a good baccarat strategy tends to come down to then, is making sure you maintain control over your gambling and remain consistent. Think of your bets like steering a ship steadily through the starry night sky. Aim for a smooth, easy way of gambling, that still manages to be plenty of fun.
Players must be 21 years of age or older or reach the minimum age for gambling in their respective state and located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. Please play responsibly. Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, and wants help, call or visit: (a) the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey at 1-800-Gambler or www.800gambler.org; or (b) Gamblers Anonymous at 855-2-CALL-GA or www.gamblersanonymous.org.
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