Baccarat Rules, Odds and Strategy

Baccarat is one of the oldest and most popular casino games of all time. The game itself is often played in private gaming areas away from the main gaming floor for ultra high stakes. The game is increasingly popular with high rollers who often bet thousands of dollars on each hand. The popularity of the game has been put down the the simplicity of it, the social aspect of the game and the low house edge. Increasingly online casinos are starting to offer Baccarat to the casual gambler for low stakes.

Baccarat Video Demonstration

Baccarat Rules

Players first of all wager on either the bank, the player or a tie bet.

All face cards and tens are assigned no value. Cards less than 10 are counted at face value. Aces are counted as 1.

The object of the game is to end up with a hand that totals as close to 9. Whichever player is closest to the value of 9 wins the hand.

4 cards are drawn. 2 for the bank, 2 for the player.

So for example if a player is dealt a ten and a 9 together as his first two cards his whole cards add up to 9. This is because the ten is counted as 0 and the 9 is counted as 9. The player automatically wins the hand.

A third card may be dealt to either the player or the bank based on the three card rules. It is not necessary to learn these rules as these are compulsory decisions and automatic. Unlike blackjack, you do not have control over whether you hit or stick. After a 3rd card is drawn the totals are added up and either the player or bank wins the hand.

Baccarat Payouts

Player and bank bets are both paid out at 1 to 1. (The same as a red or black bet at roulette). There is however a 5% commission that must be paid on winning bank bets.

Tie bets are paid out at 8:1.

House advantage

Part of the popularity of baccarat comes down to the low house edge. Player bets provide the house a 1.36% advantage, bank bets provide the dealer a 1.17% advantage. Finally tie bets provide the casino with a 14.12% advantage. For obvious reasons we recommend that you stay away from making tie bets because they provide the house with the largest advantage.

Baccarat Strategy

Baccarat is purely a game of chance. The odds will always be slightly in the casinos favor. That being said, there are several things a smart baccarat player can do such as using a bankroll management strategy, stop losses and stop wins.

Expert mathematicians have for a long time inferred that baccarat, like blackjack may be susceptible to a card counting system that tilts the odds slightly in the players favor and destroy the casinos edge.  That being said, mathematicians have also worked out that this edge comes about 1 hand in per 8 deck shoe. Considering this, a player would have to count cards continuously before placing one bet where he thinks he might have a slight edge.  Naturally this is not practical since a casino would not allow you to do this. Players looking for an edge on the casino might as well look elsewhere.

Before sitting down at a baccarat table we advise that players figure out a stop loss or stop win amount. For example, if you sit down at the table with $200, you might want to set your stop loss at $100 and leave the table then. Likewise, if you have made $100 profit, you might want to take your original stake + $50 profit off the table so that you have profited no matter what but still have a chance to run up your $50 in to a handsome profit.

In short, players should learn how to walk away from the table with winnings and also to stop chasing losses when they are having a losing session. None of this advice has anything to do with the odds of winning or losing at baccarat. Those odds are static and there is nothing you can do to change them. However, you do have control over when you take a win and when you take a loss. Carefully planning your exit point on either a win or a loss is crucial to how much you enjoy your gaming experience and your overall bottom line.

Baccarat Systems

There are various baccarat systems similar to how there are roulette and blackjack systems. For example Martingale, reverse Martingale and Fibonacci systems. These systems however do not change the fundamental odds of the game.

Mathematicians know that the house has a minimum of 1.17% advantage at baccarat. This means that for ever hundred dollars you wager your expected loss is $1.17.  Sadly, there is basically nothing you can do to skew the odds in your favor. Its obviously possible to win in the short term or even the semi long term due to statistical variance. That being said, the house understands the law of big numbers and the more you play the game, the more that 1% edge counts and the more likely the house is to win money.

My advice to anyone considering purchasing a baccarat system: Don’t.