Baccarat strategy: exploring tactics that work
How do you play baccarat?
Learn how to play baccarat before you learn how to develop a baccarat strategy. Baccarat is a card game that you can play between two hands: the ‘banker’ and the ‘player’. Anyone placing wagers has three options: the banker’s hand winning, the player’s hand winning, or a tie-break.
The winning hand will be that which comes closest to the number nine. However, note that only cards 2 – 9 are taken at face value; Aces = 1 and 10s/jacks/queens/kings = 0.
Both hands are initially dealt two cards. If either hand scores an eight or nine, this is a natural win. That said, they’ll stay if they score seven to avoid overshooting.
If the player’s first two cards total 0 – 5, the hand draws a third card. Depending on what the player draws, and how this compares to their own hand, the banker will draw too.
How to create a winning baccarat strategy
Baccarat might be a game of luck, but there are ways to increase your likelihood of winning. Don’t worry; we’re not talking about tactics that ignore hard stats, such as card counting. These are tried and tested options that boost your chances of success.
Know which bet is more likely to win
In baccarat, the cards dealt are outside of your control. So, what you take home comes down to understanding which bet is likely to produce a good return.
The answer: betting on the banker. With all options accounted for, the banker’s hand wins 45.9% of the time. Statistically, the player should win 44.6% and the other possibilities result in a tie.
Why is the banker more likely to win? As the banker responds to the player’s hand, he or she only draws a third card in response to the player improving their hand. Hence, the banker draws if not doing so would cause them to lose. Because the banker doesn’t take the initiative, he or she has a better strategic position.
In this sense, baccarat is like other card games where the hand completing last has a greater chance of winning. As with blackjack, the house edge on the banker’s hand is low (1.06%). In a game of odds, going second doesn’t give a huge advantage. But it helps that the banker can draw knowing he/she must do so to win.
On the flip-side, you’ll want to avoid betting on the tie. The tie-break makes up the remaining 9.5% of possible outcomes. As a result, the house edge on this bet is 14.4%, reflecting the casino’s confidence in winning your cash.
Fyi: casinos typically charge a commission when paying out winnings on the banker’s hand.
Play for a good length of time
Whether you’re playing online or in a casino, it takes time to win money back if you make early losses. If you do find yourself on a winning streak, capitalise on it by staying in the game. By the way, this doesn’t mean radically upping the stakes and betting more. Minimise the risk but enjoy the game while it’s going in your favour.
It’s also important to be wise with your money for the duration of play. Baccarat is a fast-paced game where you must repeatedly make snapshot decisions. This makes it easy to lose focus on how much you’re betting. So, if you start the game with 100 units, bet no more than 5 units at once.
The 1 3 2 4 betting system
The 1 3 2 4 betting system is a baccarat strategy designed to minimise potential losses while leaving room to make a profit.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Bet 1 unit
Step 2: Bet 3 units
Step 3: Bet 2 units
Step 4: Bet 4 units
You only proceed to the next step if you win the bet. This way, if you lose at step three or four, you still make an overall gain. The basic idea baccarat strategy is that you only bet more units when you’ve secured a base of winnings to mitigate the impact of losing.
The 1 3 2 6 method is a variation of this approach. However, if things don’t work out at the final step, you lose the number of units you’ve won up to that point. By limiting the final bet to four, you guarantee a profit of two units at least.
The importance of following these baccarat tips
Okay, so the advice listed here isn’t going to make you rich in a flash. But if you become a repeat player of baccarat, these tactics will help you accrue winnings long-term.
The trick is to remain cool and collected. Don’t let early losses throw you off – wait until the wins start coming and capitalise on them when they do. Of course, this is easier when placing moderate bets that increase gradually, as the 1 3 2 4 combo suggests. And remember: betting on a tie is almost always a risky choice.