Online Baccarat Gambling
Baccarat is one of the oldest casino card games, but unlike blackjack, it’s not a game of skill. In fact, you don’t even get to play your own hand. There are only two hands:
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- The player hand
- The banker hand
And you’d think that you’d be required to bet on the player hand, but no — you can bet on either. Hands also sometimes wind up with a tie result, which is also something you can bet, giving you three possible bets.
Baccarat is also available in three versions:
- Punto banco
- Chemin de fer
- Baccarat banque
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Most casinos in the United States deal punto banco, which is the version I’ll focus on in this post about how to win at baccarat (for sure).
How to Play Baccarat (Even If You’ve Never Played Before)
Baccarat falls into a category of card games called “comparing” games. You compare one hand to the other to see which one wins. (Poker and blackjack are also comparing games, by the way.)
In baccarat, the hand with the higher point total is the winner — in that respect, it resembles blackjack.
But the way the points are calculated in baccarat is significantly different.
- The cards 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 are all worth their value in points.
- The 10s, jacks, queens, and kings are all worth 0 points.
- Aces are worth 1 point.
The suit doesn’t matter.
You drop the digit on the left when ascertaining the final point value. In other words, if you have a total of 9, that’s just a total of 9.
But if you have a total of 12, that’s a total of 2 (the left-most digit — the 1 — is dropped).
This means you can have a potential total of between 0 and 9. There are no other possible totals when it comes to points in a baccarat hand.
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If you’re playing baccarat in most of the Western world, you’re playing punto banco, even if it’s just labeled “baccarat.” The casino acts as the banker for the game; you don’t compete with the other players at the table.
Also, the casino deals the cards according to a specific set of rules. That’s comparable to the way the dealer has to play her hand in blackjack in a prescribed way, too.
Two hands are dealt — the player hand and the banker hand — but those are just arbitrary designations. You can bet on either hand to win. (“Punto banco” just means “player banker,” in fact.)
The casino deals from a shoe, just like in blackjack, which usually has eight decks of cards in it. The dealer starts by burning a card. Then the dealer burns a number of cards equal to the burn card’s value. These cards are burned face-down.
Each hand gets two cards, just like in blackjack. They’re dealt alternately, starting with a card for the player’s hand, then a card for the banker’s hand, then a second card for the player’s hand and a second card for the dealer’s hand.
If either hand has a total of 8 or 9, that’s it for the hand. The dealer announces the winner, collects the losing bets, and pays off the winning bets.
If neither hand has a total of 8 or 9, the dealer applies the drawing rules to decide whether to deal the player hand a third card.
Then — and this is again done according to the drawing rules — the dealer determines whether to deal the banker a third card.
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After this is all adjudicated, the hand is finished, and the dealer announces the winner and collects and pays off bets.
It’s not necessary for the average baccarat player to understand how the drawing rules work, as the casino dealer does all the work.
But in case you’re wondering…
How the Drawing Rules Work in Baccarat
The dealer checks the player’s hand first to see if it gets a third card. The rules for this are simple.
If the player hand is 5 or less, the hand gets a third card.
Otherwise, the hand doesn’t get a third card.
After that’s determined, the dealer decides whether to deal a third card to the banker hand.
The first consideration is whether the player got a third card. If the player hand stood pat, then the banker hand follows the same rules as the player hand.
But if the player took a third card, the rules for the banker get more complicated, and they’re based on the banker hand’s total and the value of the player’s third card, as follows:
- The banker hand always gets a third card if the hand’s total is 2
- The banker hand gets a third card if the hand’s total is 3 and the player hand’s third card was an 8
- The banker hand gets a third card if the hand’s total is 4 and the player hand’s third card was 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7
- The banker gets a third card if the hand’s total is 5 and the player hand’s third card was 4, 5, 6, or 7
- The banker gets a third card if the hand’s total is 6 and the player hand’s third card was 6 or 7
- If the banker hand has a total of 7, it stands pat
The hand with the higher total score wins.
The Bets Available at the Baccarat Table
You have three possible bets at the baccarat table:
The player bet pays off at even money.
The banker bet pays off at 19 to 20 odds, which is the same thing as an even-money payoff minus a 5% commission.
The tie bet pays off at 8 to 1.
Here are examples:
- You bet $100 on the player and win. You get your $100 back, and you also get $100 in winnings
- You bet $100 on the banker and win. You get your $100 back, and you also get $95 in winnings
- You bet $100 on a tie and win. You get your $100 back, and you also get $800 in winnings
If this sounds like a lot to you, baccarat might not be the appropriate game for you. In many casinos, baccarat is a high-roller game with minimum bets of $100 per hand. The maximum bet is usually $500, although it can be higher (in some cases, much higher) than that.
Can Baccarat Be Beaten?
Baccarat, like all casino games, can be beaten.
But only in the short run if you get lucky.
All the bets at the baccarat table have a mathematical edge for the casino. This means that in the long run, baccarat CANNOT be beaten.
There’s no strategy for baccarat because the only decisions you make are which bet to take. You don’t get to decide whether you hit or stand.
Card counting doesn’t work in baccarat, either. They’ve done the math, and you just can’t get enough of an edge from counting cards in baccarat to make it worth your while.
Varying the sizes of your bets based on what happened on previous bets doesn’t work in the long run, either. This is the most popular “baccarat strategy,” though.
You’ll find players keeping careful track of which bets are winning and how often. Some of them will jump on one side of the action or the other if it’s been winning a lot.
For example, you might sit down and play four hands of baccarat, and the player bet might win three of those hands. You might assume (wrongly) that the player bet wins 75% of the time, so you bet on the player.
Or you might assume that the probability of winning is roughly 50% for either side, so if the player bet has won three times in a row, a win for the banker is overdue. That doesn’t work, either.
You might raise the size of your bets after a loss to try to recoup your losses. That, too, doesn’t work.
The probabilities are determined by the cards in the deck. What happened in previous hands has a minimal effect on this in an eight-deck shoe. And the only reason past hands have ANY effect on the next hand’s probability is because it changes the composition of the deck (the cards that have been played are no longer in the deck).
But they’ve done the math. You can’t get an edge from counting cards in baccarat.
You might try the Martingale System, which is when you double the size of your bet after each loss. The problem is that the size of your bet gets too big too fast because there’s not much of a range between the minimum and maximum bets.
$100 – $200 – $400 – $800
If you lose three times in a row, you can’t make the next bet in the progression, so the system breaks down entirely.
The Martingale System doesn’t work with other games, either, but it’s especially ineffective in a situation where you have such a limited betting range.
What Is the Best Strategy for Baccarat?
The best strategy for baccarat is strangely simple.
Treat baccarat as a form of entertainment. You can’t win in the long run or make a living at baccarat, no matter what some of the slimy system-sellers might tell you. There’s no strategy for HOW to play your hand, so your best bet is to relax and enjoy the entertainment value of the game. In that respect, baccarat resembles slot machines or roulette.
Accept that entertainment costs money. Sometimes you’ll win at baccarat, and sometimes you’ll lose. You’ll lose more often than not, though, and those net losses are the cost of your entertainment. With this attitude, you’ll think of baccarat as being not much different from buying a book or paying for a movie.
Keep your entertainment costs as low as possible by placing the bet with the lowest house edge, every time. I’ve already mentioned the mathematical edge that the casino has over the player in baccarat. But I didn’t mention that it can be measured as a percentage.
This percentage is the amount that you’re statistically expected to lose from every bet on average over a long period of time. In other words, if the house edge is 1%, the casino expects to win $1 every time you wager $100.
Of course, that’s not what the actual outcomes will look like in the short run. That’s a predicted average that you’ll begin to see over hundreds or thousands of hands.
In some games, the house edge is the same no matter what bet you place.
But in baccarat, each of the three possible bets has a different house edge.
Your job is to pick the bet with the lowest house edge. That’s the best bet.
What Is the Best Bet in Baccarat?
The best bet in baccarat is a bet on the banker. The house edge for the banker bet is only 1.06%.
The player bet isn’t terrible, either. The house edge is 1.24%. It’s not a terrible bet when compared to other bets in the casino, but there’s no legitimate, logical reason for placing the player bet instead of the banker bet.
The tie bet, though, is not an attractive bet — even when compared to average bets at other casino games. The payout is attractive, sure, but the house edge is 14.4%.
You’re not psychic.
You won’t be able to predict what’s going to happen on the next hand regardless of how strong a feeling you have.
Just place the banker bet repeatedly, regardless of what happened in the previous hand.
But I Want to Win for Sure
Of course, you do.
But if there were a way to win at baccarat for sure, the casinos wouldn’t offer the game.
They’re not in the business of paying out money to winners. They’re in the business of taking money from losers.
If you want a surefire way of not losing, I can offer you that — don’t play.
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You might be disappointed that a post titled “How to Win at Baccarat (for Sure)” doesn’t have a surefire way to win at the game of baccarat.
I’d submit, though, that anyone who DOES offer you a surefire way to win is suggesting that you cheat (a felony in Nevada) or is lying about the efficacy of their method.
Either way, I’ve done you a better service than that.
The good news is that, even though you can’t possibly win at baccarat in the long run, the house edge for the game is low enough to make it worth playing.
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The D’Alembert is a simple betting system, which is based on the Martingale with a few tiny changes. It was invented by French mathematician Jean le Rond d’Alembert. The system is based on ‘the equilibrium of nature’ meaning it works when you have an even number of wins and losses for the same bet. That’s why it is usually used for roulette (the game where you can place even money bets). However, you can try it when playing other games too.
It is a negative progression system. According to it, you have to raise your bet one unit after you have lost and lower the bet by one unit if you win.
For example, you’re playing at the baccarat table where a $3 is the minimum bet (that is one “unit”). So, you start by placing a bet of $3. After the loss, your next bet will be $6 that is 2 units. In the case of winning, the bet will be $3. If you lose the second hand your bet will be $9. If this hand wins, you bet $6, so you lower only by one unit, and not to return to the original bet.
The D’Alembert system is a risky progressive betting system in any case.
The player must play with caution using the D’Alembert; on the other hand it’s a less dangerous system than the Martingale (where it is necessary to double the bet instead of raising it by one unit).
1 lose 2 lose 3 win 2 lose 3
If you choose the D’Alembert system to play baccarat, you need a relatively low bankroll and you aren’t in danger of getting hurt by the table limits, unless you go on a terrible losing run.
It is a mathematically losing system. The potential winnings are low. Another problem is that if you are on a long losing run your bets will increase a lot. So, you’d better to set a loss limit and leave the table as soon as you reach it.
There is also Reverse D’Alembert System. You have to add 1 unit to the following bet after each win and decrease after each loss.
5 lose 4 lose 3 lose 2 win 3 win 4 lose 3
But you have to stop in time. Don’t increase your bet too much. Your winning streak can suddenly finish.