Contrary to blackjack, where skills and knowledge can significantly influence the outcome of every hand, baccarat is a game of pure chance. However, throughout the years a great deal of research has been carried out in an attempt to find a solution that enables players to win in the long term. Many professional gamblers have also come up with various ideas which suggest different ways to improve the game. Even though it is not possible to have an impact on the outcome of every coup, there are a few strategies which players can use when it comes to managing their money and placing their bets.
When it comes to baccarat, it is essential to set a plan beforehand and follow it throughout the course of the game. This way players will be able to reduce their money losses as much as possible and make better betting decisions. It is also compulsory to have money management skills and discipline. Since players entirely rely on luck for the outcome of every coup, these skills are a must as they will enable them to successfully control their funds.
Up to this moment, it has been concluded that by the time players identify the pattern the game follows, it changes and therefore, it is not possible to obtain the desired useful information of which bet should be placed next. Even though there are many available betting systems, it has been proven that they are not efficient enough in the long term. They are considered to be rather ineffective as players cannot use them to improve their bankroll over long periods of time.
Just like other card games, baccarat also has various developed systems which can be applied during the course of the game. It is quite controversial how effective they are. On the one hand, many players use such systems, raising the question whether they work after all. Some gamblers believe that they have mastered the game as they have come to know about the baccarat systems. On the other hand, from a statistical point of view, none of these systems have proven to have a long-lasting impact and therefore, they don’t influence the players’ bankroll in the long run.
There are two types of betting systems, with a negative and with a positive progression, which gamblers can employ when playing baccarat. Some of the most popular betting systems include The 1-3-4-6 System, Martingale, Labouchere System, Paroli and others. Most systems work on the same principle – they aim at providing players with a plan how and when to place their bets.
Card Counting in Baccarat
Since baccarat is a card game, one of the strategies that first comes to mind is the card counting. Even though, in other card games such as blackjack, the card counting has proven to be highly effective and useful, when it comes to baccarat, this is not the case. Many professional players have attempted to gain an advantage over the casino by keeping track of the cards and as a result, they have drawn two conclusions.
The first one is that card counting in baccarat is extremely difficult and the second one is that even if players are able to successfully do the math, they won’t gain much advantage over the casino. Baccarat’s house edge is already one of the lowest in the gaming industry and it is not worth all the efforts, if the result won’t be satisfactory. However, in case that players would like to try this method after all, there are many available card counting systems.
When compared to card counting in blackjack, one will notice that the same strategy does not work the same way when used in baccarat. The reason for this is the difficulty in determining which cards have a high value and which ones a low one. This is due to the fact that in baccarat two cards with a total of 9 are considered a natural winning hand but there is no enhanced payout for such a combination. This makes knowing when a natural will be drawn less favorable.
Nevertheless, counting cards in baccarat still gives players very small leverage. According to the expert Peter Griffin, even players who are skilled in card counting and play in Atlantic City, where shuffling rules are more liberal, are bound to make a very small profit. This strategy would bring them about $0.70 per hour, with the amount they would need to bet on hands with positive expectation evaluated at $1,000.
Effect of Card Removal in Baccarat
When we are discussing card counting, we should always consider the effect the removal of cards would have on the game. You can take for example a blackjack game where a 10-value card or an Ace is missing from the deck. This is far from beneficial to the player as there are fewer opportunities for a blackjack. Meanwhile, removing a five from the deck could be beneficial as low-valued cards are bad for players.
If we remove all ten-valued cards from an eight-deck shoe in baccarat, this would have a different effect on the three bets in the game. If the deck is rich in high-valued cards, it will be more beneficial for the Player bet and it will be more devastating for the Player side if cards with high value are removed from the deck. In the meantime, a deck rich in low-valued cards is more beneficial for the Banker. We can conclude that removing high-valued cards increases the winning odds on the Player bet and if high-valued cards leave the deck, it will improve the winning odds on the Banker bet.
|Probability of Baccarat Bets Winning When Cards are Removed|
|Card being removed||Banker||Player||Tie|
|House Edge of Every Baccarat Bet When a Card is Removed|
|Card being removed||Banker||Player||Tie|
What is a Baccarat Score Card
In most casinos, when baccarat players first join the table, they are offered pens as well as score cards which are free of charge. This way, they have the chance to keep a record of the outcome of each coup and the wagered money. The reason why such cards are provided in the first place, is to help players find the trend the game follows in order to make better betting choices.
If players decide to take advantage of the provided score card, they should know that there are several ways to do so. It is entirely up to them which method they will choose in order to monitor the game history. Usually, on the score card, players can see a few columns which are conveniently separated into two sections, labelled with the first letter of the Banker and the Player bet. Keeping a score card is useful, not so much in determining the pattern of the game as it changes constantly, but because it also allows players to keep track of their wagers. This way, they have the chance to manage their money better and be aware of their bankroll at any point during the course of the game.
Strategy for Choosing the Best Bet
The most important thing which players should consider, prior to playing, is the three available bets they can choose from. It is essential to get familiar with their odds and their house edge in order to be able to figure out which one gives them the best chances of winning. This way, they will be able to create a strategy in advance and reduce their money losses, at least to some extent. Baccarat is a high-stakes game and therefore, it is highly recommended to know which type of bet offers the best odds as otherwise, players risk losing substantial amounts of money.
If players consider the opportunity to place the ‘Tie’ bet, because it has the biggest payout, they should be warned that it has also has the highest house edge which makes it unfavourable. It is not prudent to put this bet and though it may seem enticing, many baccarat experts advise to simply stay away from it. So, what is the best option when it comes to placing a bet in baccarat?
Theoretically speaking, the wager with the best odds is the Banker one and the second best is the Player bet. However, baccarat is a game of chance and therefore, it is not possible to predict which hand will be the winning one in the next coup. Players may choose to wager every time on the Banker bet, taking into account the fact that it’s the bet that occurs the most.
Utilizing Techniques Such as Edge Sorting
Baccarat has always been a popular game among high-rollers as it is often seen in movies, played by significant characters like James Bond. Another reason why the card game enjoyed quite the attention in recent years is a famous multi-million-dollar lawsuit involving two baccarat players and an Atlantic City casino.
In 2012, the professional poker player Phil Ivey and Cheung Yin “Kelly” Sun won $9.5 million on a baccarat game played at Borgata Casino. It was then revealed that the two high-rollers were using a technique known as “edge sorting” to sweep the massive payout. After the casino found out about the method used by Ivey and Sun, Borgata filed a lawsuit against the two players.
The two players managed to spot manufacturing defects on the cards used in the game, giving them a significant edge over the house. The couple used the same controversial technique at London’s Crockfords casino, winning the whopping amount of £7.8 million. The casino, however, refused to pay out the amount and was later sued by Ivey who, however, lost the case.
As you can see, using this method will not get you far in any land-based casino. This being said, it does not hurt learning how exactly this technique was used. No matter how precise the card manufacturer will be, there will be no two decks that will be cut exactly the same. This means that the pattern along the edges will look different.
Usually, players can spot the pattern on the back of cards both while they are in the shoe and when they are dealt on the table. Let us take for an example a diamond pattern used on the back of the cards Ivey requested to be used during his baccarat play. On one of the edges, the cut of the card would go through the point of the diamonds, while the other edge will display the full shape of the diamonds. A player with a sharp eye will be able to easily indicate whether a card is turned upside down or right side up.
As the dealer who was handling the cards in Ivey’s baccarat play was fooled to place cards with a value between 5 and 9 upside down and cards with a value of 0 through 4 – right side up. This, along with card counting, gave Ivey an advantage over the house of 5% to 6%. One thing that should also be mentioned is that Ivey was a high-roller who negotiated a series of rules that gave him an even bigger advantage over the casino.
Many players have found other tricks to gain an advantage over the house while playing baccarat. Marking cards with invisible ink or working together with the dealer who practices a false shuffling of cards are among the techniques that players have used to cheat in baccarat.
While such methods may have been successful back in the days, however, casinos have caught up on all of them and have incorporated different measures to prevent baccarat players from cheating. This is why resorting to such techniques in baccarat can only cause you a lot of trouble instead of bringing bigger success rates.
Dragon Bonus and First Carding
Dragon Bonus is one of the more popular side bets that can be placed on baccarat tables, allowing players to enjoy special payouts if they meet the wager’s specific winning condition. The Dragon Bonus bet can be placed on Banker, Player, or both sides. The side bet pays out if the side the player has wagered on wins by a natural or by 4 or more points.
The payouts that are typically seen on baccarat tables with the Dragon Bonus are as follows:
- Natural (two-card total of 8 or 9) – 1:1
- Natural tie (8/8 or 9/9) – push
- Win by 9 points – 30:1
- Win by 8 points – 10:1
- Win by 7 points – 6:1
- Win by 6 points – 4:1
- Win by 5 points – 2:1
- Win by 4 points – 1:1
The house edge for Player when making the Dragon Bonus bet is 2.652% but the house’s advantage for the Banker side is much higher, standing at 9.373%. If the player, however, is aware of the first card that will be handed out before they make their wager, the house edge for Player and Banker when making the Dragon Bonus bet could change.
|Edge of Player and Banker Dragon Bonus Bet When First Carding|
|First Card||Player EV||Banker EV|
If we take a look at the table above, we can draw the conclusion that when the first card is a 7, 8, or 9, the player will gain an advantage if he/she makes a Dragon Bonus side bet on the Player side. Meanwhile, when the first card is with a value of 0 (T, J, Q, K), the player will gain an edge if he/she makes a Dragon Bonus side bet on the Banker side.
If you utilize a simple edge sorting technique you can predict the first card to be drawn. Low cards would include the value of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, while high will be 7s, 8s, and 9s. When the player uses edge sorting and the first card to be drawn is of a low value, the Banker wager will be the optimal option. Meanwhile, a high card would indicate betting on the Player side. This strategy would give the player a 6.4782% edge.
Using edge sorting, whenever a low-valued card is about to be drawn as the first card, the player should place a Banker Dragon Bonus side bet. On the contrary, a high first card indicates a Player Dragon Bonus bet. The average edge that the player would gain over the house on his/her Player Dragon Bonus bet thanks to this technique is 13.8610%. Many players are trying to gain a bigger advantage over the house by using the first carding technique. Taking into account the edge that a player can get thanks to this strategy, it comes as no surprise that many would prefer first carding to simple card counting.
Money Management – an Important Part of Every Strategy
Another important aspect, which players should always consider, concerns their bankroll. It is essential for them to be able to manage their bankroll and keep track of all of the wagered money. It is also crucial to set a money limit and strictly adhere to it. In order to do that, players need to have money management skills as well as discipline. The reason why it is so important to be able to successfully take control of their funds, is that even if players get lucky and win, without such skills, they will easily spend all of the money they’ve won.
The game has predictable long-term results which can be determined by looking at its odds and probabilities. It is established that the Banker bet wins the most which is the reason why the casino gets a 5% commission. The house edge of this bet is also the lowest and therefore, players are most likely to win by placing it. However, the truth is that it is not possible to predict which hand will win the next coup even if, for example, the Banker has won the last ten games. The probability of winning will always be 50/50 and there is no intermediary position – one of the three possible outcomes will inevitably occur.
It is also worth mentioning that players should never allow their emotions to determine their betting choices. If they feel upset or desperate, it is best to refrain themselves from placing a substantial amount of money as in such moments, they are deprived of the ability to see the consequences of their actions. The many available strategies and systems don’t guarantee success in any case as in general, the game’s outcome cannot be influenced by relevant skills and knowledge. Players should enjoy the game and have fun by guessing which hand will win and in the meantime, they can even get lucky and win some money. The main reason why the game has been a source of entertainment for years is because it provides players with a high level of entertainment and excitement.
The bottom line is that there are some available systems and strategies which might work on a particular round. However, baccarat still remains a game of luck and as such, players can’t do much to change its final outcome. In order to make the most of every game, they should get familiar with the bet types, the best bet choice, the basic rules and the money management plan. This way, they will be able to fully enjoy baccarat and try their luck on some of the three bets. Even though the game cannot be influenced as much as other card games can, it has a moderately low house edge which gives players good chances of winning.