As with many other card games, there are ways to better your chances of winning at Baccarat too. Of course, this does not mean you are guaranteed to win but it will certainly help you out. Calculating ratios in baccarat is crucial for understanding any strategy and basic betting system and unavoidable, if you wish to employ them.
The theory here is based on singletons and runs, along with rare occurrences and deciding whether you should bet on or against such factors based on what the shoe has presented you with thus far. The main point is that every single bet you may wish to make will occur eventually but you have no way of knowing whether it will happen now with certainty. The ratios and odds only help you minimize your losses by making bets that are more likely to occur at the moment.
To actually work with ratios in baccarat you need a very detailed scorecard that will allow you to see the trends of the shoe very easily. Naturally, you will also need a mind that is used to making quick calculations. Of course, you could simply use percentages, however, by using ratios, you remind yourself that the chance of losing is always there, even if it seems like the odds are 1,000,000:1.
What are Baccarat Ratios?
Ratios in baccarat are calculated based on the scorecard of a player and the overall logic of the game. This refers to the fact that there are 3 possible outcomes at any given point and your bet always has a 50-50 chance of being right. Ties result in a push so most players prefer to keep them out of the equation and base their strategies on the idea that the game is like flipping a coin.
However, in reality, shoes are rarely so centered – you do not always get neat patterns that you can rely on as this is a game of chance, after all. You can use statistics to your advantage but you will never be able to predict the outcome of the next hand with absolute certainty. This is important to understand so as to leave behind the idea that there is a way to ‘beat the game’.
You can also create general ratios based on the overall frequency of events over many games. This way you get a kind of a baseline for probability. This way if you are wondering what the chances are for a specific event to occur at the moment you can have a fairly good idea. However, it is best to adjust this baseline according to the shoe at play.
A lot of players are under the impression that a shoe will always give out hands that eventually balance each other out. That is practically true, however, in reality, shoes can stray pretty far from their baseline. There have been plenty of instances of unlikely events such as 13 ties in a row, or 18 Bank wins in a row, and so on. Relying on the basic idea that the shoe will go back to the baseline is simply not enough to make your winnings bigger than your losses.
Of course, the number of hands for the Player and Bank will be even at the end of the shoe but before the end, especially given the number of decks in play, they can vary greatly. The idea here is to focus more on the shoe as a whole and base the ratios on singletons versus runs.
How to Calculate Baccarat Ratios
Ratios are calculated over the course of a game. In the beginning, you have 1:1 regardless of whether the shoe starts with a run or singleton. When more than one occur, they are added to the equation. As the game progresses you will end up with even ratios again, sooner or later, and then you will have to just take your best guess, either based on strategy or the ‘trend’.
When the game has significantly progressed, though, there will be a clear distinction between the two numbers. As we already stated, the ratios are based on singletons versus runs, as opposed to Player versus Bank. Some players prefer to rely on the number of winning hands for Player versus Bank but that is not a very lucrative strategy. There are, once again, those rare events that see the Bank win throughout almost the entire game. So, in this case, if you keep betting that Player will come up next, you will lose, however, if you simply recognize this rare occurrence, you will know that you may take your chances and ‘ride the pony’, or simply wait until the next shoe.
Of course, basing your bets on this type of ratio is no guarantee either but it makes more sense. The tricky part is figuring out how long a run will last, what strategy to employ given the current ratio, or whether you should try to bet according to the idea that the shoe will always balance itself out. There is no universal advice that you should follow when it comes to baccarat ratios. In one shoe the ratio 5:3 might tell you one thing, while in another it might mean something entirely different.
Looking for balance in baccarat, however, is what most strategies are based on. Balance, in the sense that the shoe will statistically have an even number of runs and singletons on average. It is crucial to know the exact meaning behind this and look at the percentages. Runs of two are the most common ones, meaning that row two in your scorecard will be about 50% full, row three, four, and so on are left with smaller percentages on average.
We have not mentioned ties all that much here and that is simply because they are usually left out of betting strategies as they result in a push and are therefore not considered a winning hand. Unless, of course, you have placed a bet on them but that is not recommended because ties usually occur about once every eleven hands, whilst the payout for a correct bet on them is 8 to 1. Perhaps, it is the casinos’ way of silently taking their commission, but wins on Player or Bank have a lower commission and higher frequency, so we highly recommend you stick to them.
Say the first hand that is dealt is won by the Bank. This is the beginning of the shoe, there is nothing to go on, so all you can do is guess. Next up, Player wins. So far, two singletons. Next, Player wins again. The ratio now is 1:1, one for singletons to runs. The question is whether the run will continue or not. Bank wins next. This makes the ratio 2:1. Then, Player wins. The ratio becomes 3:1. Bank wins three times in a row, making the ratio 3:2. Then, Player wins two times in a row, resulting in 3:3. Based on these ratios and the different baccarat strategies, which we have also explained for you, you can make a fairly educated bet and minimize your losses, and even walking out a winner.
How Baccarat Ratios Affect Strategy
Ratios directly affect all baccarat strategies as they help players pick the best way to advance. Each occasion calls for a different strategy and a player must be able to recognize those moments and adapt. Most strategies rely largely on the number of singletons versus runs. They require more precision, naturally, and that is why it is so important to keep a detailed scorecard.
As we already mentioned, baccarat strategies are based on the balance of the shoe, and we already went over the exact meaning of the word in this context. Most strategies include betting against the imbalance of the shoe, with the idea that a run cannot last forever and therefore betting against it is a sure winner. Well, there is no thing such as a sure winner in any game of chance. There are other strategies that take advantage of a large imbalance and, another term we already mentioned, ride the pony. This means that they bet on the trend, the rare event that is currently occurring. They bet that it will continue. Some people consider this a poor strategy, however, it is about as likely as the run stopping after three or four hands. 50-50, right? Well, not exactly.
The point of keeping score and calculating ratios is to have an idea as to whether one thing is more likely to occur than another. For instance, if there have already been plenty of runs in the shoe, it is unlikely that a long one will occur. Not impossible. It is very important to keep that in mind. If there have not been any runs for a fairly large portion of the game, though, it is likely that you will experience one of those rare events. At that point, you need to remember that there is no certainty here, you cannot know how long the run will last, so most strategies would have you stop betting at this point.
Ratios and Basic Strategy
The basic strategy for baccarat is based exactly on betting against the imbalance of the shoe. In order to know when the right moment to use this strategy has come, you need to be aware of the ratios. Of course, this is not a long-term strategy and, in fact, you are expected to quit playing at some point, if you are using it. In order to be more successful at baccarat, you will have to learn to use all strategies at precisely the right moment. However, back to the basic strategy – ratios will help you figure out when a run is less likely to continue for a long time and when it is a good idea to bet against it. Again, keep in mind that ratios will not give you any definitive answers.
Ratios and Advanced Strategy
All advanced strategies for baccarat are meant for high-rollers, however, there are specific times when a low-roller needs to employ them too. There are ways to spot when a run may potentially last more than the average of two or three hands. Here, however, you need more than ratios because you need some basic statistical knowledge that pertains to baccarat. For instance, something that will definitely help you out is knowing that you can expect to see runs that are the length of two from nine to eleven times 47.7% of the time in a single game.
One of the advanced strategies for baccarat includes, once again, betting against the imbalance of the shoe, just like the basic strategy, but with more bets. It is meant for those who can afford to keep the basic strategy going even when rare events occur. This means placing bet, after bet, after bet, while also doubling them, until the run’s end. Ratios help this strategy in a number of ways. They help players see what the probability of the run continuing until the end of the shoe is, for instance. You should never bet against a run past the middle of the shoe.
Other advanced strategies include, as previously mentioned, riding the pony. When you spot a trend that statistically makes sense you can go ahead and keep betting on it. Naturally, that does not mean making bigger bets with each hand that contributes to the run. Instead, once you’ve had a win, take your chips back, and leave the ones you have just won. That way you will either win or leave with all of your money. Every time you walk away with as much money as you came with is a win.
Now, after you have done this for a few hands, you will see that the odds are definitely not in favor of this run continuing. At that point, you can either lower your bet or remove it entirely. Of course, you will find people that simply let their bet ride and see it double, triple, quadruple, and so on, and if you are willing to risk it, or can afford to risk it, go ahead. These things happen. However, it is far more likely that those players, who now have a mountain of chips on the table, will inevitably end up losing every single one of them by making stupid bets.
The same goes for people who decide to ride the pony and end up losing a large sum of money just because they had a gut feeling, although, to be entirely fair, those people are mostly intoxicated rich guests at various casinos. Of course, you can see regular folks make that same mistake too, that is why you need to have a money management strategy figured out. It takes discipline to stick to it and create reasonable targets, even more so, to walk away after you have reached said targets, but you need to.
How to Win by Using Baccarat Ratios
If you look over at the step-by-step explanation, you will easily be able to tell how exactly ratios can help you win. You can spot trends easily, and immediately see what the possibilites for the next hand are. In a large portion of cases, shoes are more imbalanced and will have a definitive trend going, for instance, a clean-cut 7:1 for singletons.
However, as we already noted, this is a game of chance and that chance will always be 50-50. You may wonder at this point, how, then, can we rely on ratios, or percentages, or trends in that case? The point is not that ratios are 100% correct and will definitely predict the next hand correctly. No, the point is that, mathematically, there are a limited number of possibilities and the probability rate is the only thing one can rely on when it comes to gambling.
So, even if the ratio is a ridiculous number like 23:1 for singletons, that does not mean that next up you will have a singleton again, or, if you rely on the opposite logic, that the shoe will strive for balance and the next hands will result in a run. The only thing that ratios tell you is which outcome is more probable. You can experience all sorts of rare events like an entire shoe of singletons or a ton of ties in a row, you name it. But if you use your brains and stick to the logical bets, you will walk away with more wins than losses.
Ratios are something every baccarat player should keep track of. They are helpful for every strategy and will help you recognize the right time to switch from one strategy to another. There is no universal way to win at baccarat, however, with the help of mathematics, you can learn to play in a manner that maximizes your wins and minimizes your losses. Placing the right bet is a matter of more than strategy or ratios, it depends on a lot of factors that are different for every shoe. Relying only on numbers will not be enough, so you will need a lot of experience before you can bet every single hand in a shoe. And, of course, some good old-fashioned luck.