Based on simple rules and fast-paced action, baccarat is one of only a few casino games that have been played all around the world for centuries. Although it is often considered a typical high-roller game, it is not – usually, casinos offer tables with various betting limits that would fit almost any type of player and any kind of bankroll. Still, money management is key when playing baccarat.
The possibility of losing money is a reality every gambler should learn to accept before stepping into a casino but the prospect of winning is much more appealing. And this is where money management comes into play – even though baccarat may seem extremely simple, winning at it requires good preparation and possibly, employing a strategy. It is true that there are only three potential outcomes of each round -it may be won by the Player, the Bank or it can be Tie. And you can either win or lose, so there are no decisions to be made and no complex strategies involved.
Still, first-time players who have little idea what they do would almost certainly lose their entire bankroll within half an hour unless they are extremely lucky and somehow, each bet they place wins. As such a scenario is highly unlikely, good baccarat players never rely on their luck alone, nor do they think they could ever turn the odds in their favor. They do understand, however, the concept of probability and the odds of every bet in the game. And they are able to adapt their play to these fixed parameters so they can maximize their chances of winning.
In the sections below, players will find out how to manage their bankroll when playing baccarat, as well as the most popular money management strategies in this game. But first and foremost, beginners need to learn why keeping track of their bets and their budget is so important on the baccarat table.
Importance of Money Management in Baccarat
As mentioned above, baccarat is considered one of simplest casino games ever created. It is also a game where you can start with extremely low bets if you are not confident in your knowledge and experience. Playing with small bets usually reduces the risk of losing too much, whether you play roulette, blackjack or poker. It does not always apply to baccarat, however. Even if you bet pennies, you may easily end up losing a huge amount of money merely due to the speed of this game.
Baccarat a card comparing game that is usually played with 6 to 8 standard decks, with the Banker and the Player receiving two or three cards in each round. The objective is to correctly predict the outcome of each hand – whether the Banker or the Player will win, or whether it will be a Tie. The Player bet pays 1:1, the Banker pays 0.95:1 (there is a 5% commission), while the Tie pays 8:1. Cards from 2 to 9 are counted as their face values, cards from 10 to King are zero, while the Ace counts as 1.
It seems quite simple but those who find themselves at the baccarat table for the first time may find the game confusing as everything happens very quickly. According to experts, up to 75 hands per hour may be played, which means players have less than a minute for each hand. It becomes even more confusing due to the fact that multiple players are betting on each round. Of course, all this applies to the game that is being played in brick-and-mortar casinos. The speed of virtual baccarat, on the other hand, depends solely on the player.
But it is exactly this fast pace that makes baccarat such an intriguing game. And as most casino games based on chance, the odds are in favor of the casino – the house edge is 1.06% for the Banker bet, while for the Player, it is 1.36%. It is significantly higher for the Tie bet at 14.40%, hence the higher payout. What these percentages suggest is that in the long term, the casino will win. And the more hands you play, the more you get close to the mathematical advantage, which is, of course, a theoretical concept. Since you play around many hands per hour (70-72), the theory will become a reality faster than in roulette, for example, which is much slower.
For this reason, baccarat players need to learn how to optimize their gameplay and manage their bankroll so they can maximize their winnings and lose less money on average. There are some basic tips every player should follow, as well as several strategies that may help you win in the long term.
Tips to Manage Your Bankroll
Players who are planning to play baccarat for the first time should first learn the rules and get a deep understanding of the game. Most online casinos would even offer games in demo mode where casino credits are used instead of real money. Once you have practiced enough, you need to spend more time researching the casino you plan to play at, whether online or a brick-and-mortar establishment. There may be some deviations from the standard baccarat rules, as well as different payouts.
The Pocket Trick
This is a very simple, yet effective trick for controlling your losses on the baccarat table and it applies to both online gaming and in land-based casinos. Before you start playing, you simply set a bankroll limit – an amount of money that you are not only planning to bet but also be prepared to lose. You put it in one of your pockets and you use this money to place your bets. The other pocket is for your winnings.
Once you run out of funds in the playing money pocket, you should stop playing and go home. Another alternative is to take a break and see how much you have lost and how much you have won. If your winnings are more than your initial bankroll, you can set aside some of them and use them for betting in your second baccarat session. If you stick to this simple rule, you will always have some money left when you leave the casino. Using the pocket trick, you will be able to avoid overspending, which is the biggest pitfall of most inexperienced players.
Setting Limits for Losses and Winnings
Another great way to avoid overspending is setting limits on your losses and winnings. If your bankroll is $100, you need to determine how much you are prepared to lose – if it is half of that, you should quit playing when you have $50 left. While this sounds logical and most players usually try to stick to this rule, setting a maximum limit for their winnings may seem counterintuitive.
It follows quite a straight-forward logic, as well – once you reach your maximum winning limit, you quit playing and you are certain that you go home with more money than you had. For instance, you can set a limit of $50 and once you have $150 in your pocket, you can stop playing. If you continue to bet, on the other hand, you may end up losing your profit and even your initial bankroll. This is why setting limits beforehand is recommended. Some players also find limiting the number of games very useful – once they reach 10, 20 or 50 rounds, they quit playing.
Things to Avoid
The first thing all casino patrons should avoid in any type of game, including baccarat, is making an all-in bet. Putting all your money on a single bet is a very bad idea, although it has been presented as the ultimate way to gamble and win big in Hollywood movies. Real-life casino games, however, are not as glamorous and you are more likely to lose everything than to win big.
Another good advice for those who decide to play baccarat in brick-and-mortar casinos is to avoid alcohol consumption even though drinks and snacks may be complimentary. It is always best to stay sharp and concentrated when gambling and alcohol will only cloud your judgment and damage your decision-making ability.
One of the most important things to do when playing baccarat, especially in brick-and-mortar casinos, is keeping track of the Banker bets you have won. The reason is very simple – these bets come with a 5% commission, which is usually paid when you leave the table. While it is a small commission, indeed, it may “eat up” all of your winnings, as long as you have 5, 10 or more winning Banker bets.
Last, but not least, you should avoid chasing your losses. It is a common mistake many casino players tend to make, even though they know well that there is no guarantee they can win back the money they have lost when it comes to playing games of chance. Baccarat is based purely on chance and its outcome does not depend on any players’ decisions, so chasing your losses is pointless.
Basic Baccarat Strategy
The basic baccarat strategy is incredibly simple and easy to apply. It states that players should stick to one type of bet throughout their game session and that this should be the Player bet. The reason for placing the same bet is a statistical one – when placing random Player and Banker bets, you reduce your chances of winning. This tip applies to all games where you have two options to choose from.
But why the Player bet? As mentioned above, the Banker bet has the lowest house edge (1.06%), followed by the Player (1.36%) and the Tie bet (14.40%). While there is no point considering the Tie bet at all due to the significantly high house advantage, many players would instinctively opt for the Banker bet. They should take the 5% commission into account, however. Both the Player and the Banker bets pay evenly, but the commission on a winning Banker bet may equal out all winnings.
Note that this may not be the best strategy for winning at baccarat, but it is a simple one and it works well for beginners. There are other ways that may prove to be effective for you but even the advanced strategies cannot guarantee consistent winnings.
Advanced Money Management Systems in Baccarat
There are multiple betting systems for baccarat, although some of them have been developed for other types of casino games. They are often called strategies although they include no tips for how to actually play the game as no decision-making is required in baccarat. The purpose of all these systems or strategies is rather to allow the player to quickly place bets without hesitating and making mistakes.
This is probably the most famous betting system and it is used in various games where there are bets with even odds (or close to even) such as heads and tails or roulette. It includes a negative progression in which the player doubles his or her bet after a loss. After a win, the bet returns to its initial size. The idea is to recover all losses with the first win plus to get a profit worth the original stake.
In theory, the Martingale should be very effective at least in the short term. In reality, however, it is a high-risk strategy that may increase your bets dramatically and lead to huge losses. Let us start with a bet of $1 – if you lose, your second bet will be $2, $4 for the third, $8 for the fourth, and $16 for the fifth bet. If you won every time time, you would have wagered a total of $31 and won $32, which means your profit would be $1. Imagine that you start with $10 bets, however, and you are unlucky enough to have a longer losing streak – only six hands after you started, your stake will be $670.
As you can see, you can easily reach the table limit or lose your entire bankroll while trying to recoup your losses. Such high-risk systems should be used very carefully, especially by inexperienced players with a limited budget.
Betting on the Trends Strategy
There is a large number of baccarat strategies online or presented in guides and books that promise players success based on observing and betting on the trends. In baccarat, the term trend refers to the same winning bet occurring several (at least two) times. These are, for instance, three Player winning bets or five winning Banker bets in a row.
Most strategies that rely on this concept would recommend placing a bet on the same outcome up to 8 times consecutively once you notice the trend. Some strategies include flat betting, i.e. equal-size bets, or progressions where the bet increases each time. In reality, you cannot expect seven or eight winning Player or Banker bets to occur in a row, however, simply because the outcome of each round is random and independent of the previous or the next one.
Similarly, some so-called strategies would have you change your bet from Player to Banker each round and vice versa. As we explained above, however, this reduces the chances of winning even more. It is always better to stick to one bet throughout your session. Overall, strategies of this type should be avoided as they could lead to large losses if applied persistently and with higher stakes.
1-3-2-6 and 1-3-2-4 Baccarat Strategy
The 1-3-2-6 baccarat strategy is a relatively popular betting system aimed at making profits from short winning streaks. Although such streaks cannot be predicted, they tend to happen quite often, especially when it comes to short streaks of three or four winning bets. The numbers in the name of the strategy signify the size of each consecutive bet in the game. In other words, the numbers stand for the number of units wagered.
For example, a unit could be $1, $5, $10 or some other amount of money you prefer. If one unit is $10, your first bet will be $10, followed by a $30 bet, a $20 bet, and a $60 bet. An important part of the strategy is that you have to pick either Player or Banker bets and stick to your choice. The idea is to maximize the earnings generated from a potential winning streak or to limit the losses if all bets turn out to be losing. If some of them win, while others lose, your bankroll at the end of the sequence will be more balanced.
To reduce the risk, players can replace the 6 units in the end with 4 units, hence the more conservative sequence of 1-3-2-4. Once you reach the fifth bet, you start from the beginning all over. Both strategies can allow you to compensate the losses and leave the baccarat table with some profit. Usually, the gains are steady but slow, which may not seem appealing to some players at first. Although this manner of play is less glamorous and exciting, it could be much more efficient than other famous systems with the advertised potential of huge winnings.
Regression Baccarat Systems
Betting systems that use regression require you to reduce the size of your bet after a win, so if the next bet loses, the loss is small and you still have some profit. If you win, your profit only increases. There are different models and sequences available for the different types of players – some regressions are steep, others are more balanced. It all depends on the experience you have and your individual preference.
One of the best regressions systems, however, is 2-1-2, in which you start with a 2-unit bet and if you win, you reduce it to a single-unit bet. The last bet is once again 2 units. This is a very simple sequence where the risk is very low, so it is suitable for all types of players, including those with little or no experience. Once again, you should pick either Player or Banker bets and after you win a 2-unit bet, $20 for instance, you reduce the stake to $10. If you win again, your next bet is $20. The series ends whenever your bet loses.
In any scenario, however, you will end the session with a profit, even if it is a small one. The idea is to keep such betting systems as short as possible for two main reasons – to reduce the risk of losing too much and to take advantage of the fact that wins are possible in a limited amount of time. In the long term, the casino is more likely to win from a purely statistical point of view.
When playing baccarat, players should know that it is better to concentrate on the small, consistent wins than go for high-risk, high-return strategies. Casinos always have the advantage over players and they make their profits from those who fail to understand these basic principles. It is impossible to turn the fixed odds in your favor but you can at least try to make as fewer mistakes as possible.
Money management is key in being a successful baccarat player and it does not require a lot of knowledge or understanding complex strategies. Choosing a good casino with good payouts is also important and in case you find a baccarat table where the commission is less than 5%, you might consider placing Banking bets. Sticking to one type of bet is a good strategy for first-time players but those with more experience might want to make their game more exciting and place different bets.
Still, determining a playing budget or minimum and maximum limits is essential in keeping your losses minimal and increasing your chances to leave the casino with some profit.