Finding the best baccarat strategy is partly accepting that no matter how good a strategy, there will still be a fair degree of chance involved in every hand you play. The house edge is always there and statistically speaking, it can’t be beaten. But here’s the kicker, you don’t need to beat the house edge to win at baccarat.
All you need to do is learn about the different baccarat games and betting systems available, find out how money management works, and perhaps even scoop up a deposit bonus next time you register.
Playing baccarat is a lot of fun, and when you factor in some of the strategy tips, we have prepared for you, you will find yourself betting with confidence and an understanding that few other players have.
Baccarat is a game of skill and luck, and the best players know to appreciate both aspects of it. While luck certainly outweighs any degree of skilled play, you are bound to have a great time so long as you choose a good baccarat strategy, to begin with.
Need a Baccarat Strategy? Learn the Rules First!
Winning at any game, be that baccarat or something else, starts from the same place- by learning the rules. You want to find out all there is to know about baccarat before you start playing with real money. Understanding the different baccarat games, how the table works, and what difference the available bets make is all essential to playing baccarat and even winning at it.
There are usually three types of bets, the Banker and the Player, and a third option, the Tie. By betting Banker or Player, you are not betting on yourself against the casino, but rather betting on two different outcomes that are part of the table’s design.
You choose which hand to back. The game is resolved when each is dealt two cards, and the one closest to 9 wins.
So, if the Player has a seven and the Banker has a five, and you have bet on the Player’s field, you have just won your first bet. If the hands are equal, and you have bet on the Tie, you win. Now that you know the rules, you are ready to approach baccarat with a basic understanding, but there is more.
As it turns out, the Banker bet is statistically favored, and that is why many online casinos charge a slight fee on it to “even out the odds.” While a new baccarat player may be none the wiser about this fact, experienced players who research and look for a winning baccarat strategy will definitely be aware of this subtler detail.
Types of Baccarat Bets: Picking a Strategy
As mentioned in the previous section, there are three types of baccarat bets you can make. The Banker, Player, and Tie. Which one you choose will depend entirely on how you want to approach the game, whether you have a betting system in mind and what the current baccarat table is.
The best way to go about it is to look at the odds and what they represent. Each bet type has an assigned probability value as follows:
- Banker – 45.84%
- Player – 44.61%
- Tie – 9.45%
You may argue that there is an almost negligible advantage going in the Banker’s favor. However, these small statistical edges do matter a lot in games of chance, and even skill, so you will probably want to bet on the Banker more often than not. Let’s take a closer look if that is a reasonable strategy, to begin with.
Banker Bets: Why They Matter in Baccarat
The Banker bet is the default option for many players. While some understand its significance, others have come to adopt it through folklore, believing that one type of bet is just better than another without understanding the reason behind it. Well, in the case of the Banker bet, this “gambler’s fallacy” is actually very true.
In fact, the Banker bet is posted at theoretical odds of 45.84%, but some versions of the game suggest that the actual winning percentage is closer to 50.00%, hence why casinos apply a 5% commission on this bet and why the odds are closer to 45.00%. Don’t let the numbers confuse you at all.
You will find many new baccarat players and seasoned professionals pick the Banker to bet on in an attempt to reduce the house edge and give themselves the highest possible chance of succeeding. Players will notice that betting on the Banker is one of the most circulated tips and a core part of most baccarat strategies available.
The Player Bet: Don’t Underestimate It
Just because the Banker has a better chance of winning and negating some of the house edge, it doesn’t mean you should overlook other aspects of the gameplay. In fact, the Player bet is a perfectly fine choice and the default option if you are using betting systems.
Mathematical proof exists that the Banker bet just performs poorly because of the commission when betting according to a system, such as Martingale, Labouchere, or Fibonacci.
Since these baccarat strategies rely on minor gains accumulated over a prolonged period of time, you may want to avoid a bet that is inherently handicapped by the house’s commission.
Essentially, the Player bet will see you through when playing with strategies, and that is why you should make sure that you understand every aspect of the game and not just trust that the Banker bet will make you a winner.
The Tie Bet: Not a Great Idea
The third option in a game of baccarat is the tie bet. No strategy will focus on this type of wager as it doesn’t add any specific benefits to you. For one, it pays 14 units on every 100 you wager, making it a poor call to begin with. Another thing to factor in is that the bet has a less than 10% chance of turning up, and even if it did, it’s still not worth it.
If you bet on one of the two main outcomes and a tie occurs, you won’t lose your money. The bet will be considered a push, and the hands replayed. Essentially, there is very little incentive for you to try and bet on the Tie. If you wanted further proof, we researched carefully for our guide, verifying with multiple sources that the Tie actually has a 14.4% house edge.
Yes, you read this right. The bet bears one of the highest and most unappealing house edges any casino game has. In comparison, the Banker comes with a 1.06% house edge, and the Player has another 1.26% contributing to a well-rounded overall experience.
Placing your money on the smart bets is definitely what’s going to give you the highest chances of succeeding, too.
Baccarat Betting Tips: Strategies That Work
As a small foreword here, we want to remind you that card games will always involve a degree of chance. Baccarat is no exception, and none of the systems or tips in the world can help you prevent a negative outcome on occasion.
However, there are some stratagems to keep in mind that may just allow you to tip the odds enough in your favor to make your experience both enjoyable and, admittedly, slightly more rewarding in purely financial terms.
#1 Bet Banker’s When Not Using a System
The first tip is a reiteration of what we have just learned. Because the Banker’s bet comes with a commission, usually around 5%, you want to avoid this type of wager in the cases where you are using any type of betting system, whether that is a progressive, flat, or negative system.
Stick to Banker bets when you are looking to make the most out of the inherent 1.06% house edge, which is already a pretty good statistic to make your gameplay a little steadier.
#2 There Is No Best Bet
When choosing the best possible selection, you will have to ask yourself what you are after. If you want to negate the house edge and keep betting on the Banker despite the commission, this may be your “best option” For any type of strategy, you are better off with the Player bet.
#3 The Tie Bet Doesn’t Matter
Enter the Tie, a pariah on the baccarat table seldom tempting any player to bet on it. Back in the day when baccarat was just getting started, this bet may have appeared a great way to liven up the experience a bit, but today’s players know that the Banker wins, and the Player allows for consistency. And the Tie is regrettably just a “push.”
#4 No Hot Tables, No Fallacies
Often enough, the biggest strategy flaws are the ones we imagine. Many players tend to pin their hopes on anything but hard facts, and that could cost them money. The air of nonchalance may have worked for James Bond or well-heeled high roller players, but for you to ace it, you will need to avoid common gambling fallacies.
Some popular ones include “near misses” or the “illusion of control,” where you think that if this and that condition is true, then you will be able to influence the outcome of the game. Well, as we mentioned before, there is luck in baccarat and what skill you will find has to do with how you react to these unpredictable circumstances.
#5 Have Fun and Take a Loss in Stride
Losses will happen even with the best baccarat strategy, but what matters is how you react to a loss. Do you walk away or keep playing? Either way, it’s always a good idea to never react emotionally. You don’t have to double up after a failed bet unless it’s a part of your betting strategy.
Playing baccarat should only be limited to sessions that feel and play fun. If the fun stops, stop, as a popular responsible gambling campaign reminds players. There is no shame in walking away, and if we may paraphrase one James Bond movie’s title, “live to [play] another day.”
#6 Set a Budget and Stick with It
When real money is on the line, it’s best to always try and get things planned out. Sure, it may take just a tiny bit of fun, but some people enjoy winning. Having a budget to allocate to your baccarat will give you purpose and focus.
You may not want to stick to this budget pedantically, but knowing that you have $200 or $300 to play through this month, for example, will allow you to pick game versions that correspond to your availability and means.
#7 Don’t Wait for “Cycles” to End
We have seen players recommend that you should wait for the Banker or Player to lose before you enter the pot again. This “theoretically” boosts your odds of winning but researching baccarat literature, we have found no evidence to suggest that this is a verifiable fact. If anything, putting too much meaning on a winning streak or a losing streak may lead you to bad decisions.
#8 Card Counting May Not Be Worth the Effort
We seldom recommend that a player opts out of a strategy that can boost their chances of winning. Card counting in a game of baccarat is possible at land-based casinos, but the truth is that it takes a lot of time and practice to learn, and the net benefit is so small that it may actually not be entirely worth your time.
If you do want to learn about counting cards in baccarat, though, you can always explore this opportunity. Just remember that counting cards don’t work at online casinos because the decks are shuffled after each dealing.
#9 Play with Fewer Decks
Is there a point in picking games with fewer decks? The short answer is yes. Fewer decks mean lower variability of the potential cards. Once again, in-person baccarat is easier to track with fewer decks, whereas the online game will still come down to chance. Regardless, fewer decks mean lower variance all the same.
#10 Beware of Commission Free Baccarat
While many players are excited at the news that there is a game of baccarat that charges zero commission on the Banker bets, there is an important caveat to take into consideration here.
The payout of the Banker bet has been adjusted so that even though there is no commission to worry about, the house edge is actually 4.07% which is much lower than the regular house edge of 1.06%!
Betting Systems in Baccarat? Are They Helpful?
There are three main stratagems that you can use to play baccarat with. Each strategy applies to baccarat as well as to other games available in casinos, but they will serve you with equal success at all baccarat tables, and this is what matters here.
Before you go on betting with one strategy or another, it’s important to understand what the three types of betting strategies are, and specifically – progressive, negative, and flat. As their names suggest, you will treat your bets in a slightly different fashion with each bet you end up placing.
Positive Progressive Baccarat Strategies
A progressive betting strategy is based on the simple idea that every win you score in the game should be accompanied by an increase in the next wager you place. You will hope to achieve a balance where your losses do not outweigh your winnings and where a lucky winning streak will pull you so far ahead that you will walk away from the table a winner.
These strategies allow you to approach the game with a grain of salt while carrying the smallest possible risk. While chance can still disrupt your long-term success, it’s generally accepted that these systems balance well between risk and expected return. One great example is the Paroli system, where you will double up your bet after each win.
Negative Progressive Baccarat Strategies
The inverse logic applies to negative progressive systems for baccarat. Here, you assume that a loss will occur, and when it does, all you need to do is double up your bet. If a loss occurs again, you will once again double up your bet and so on until you score a win. Evidently, this strategy works as it allows you to win back your losses and default to a baseline bet which is how you generate profit in the long run.
The apparent weakness of this strategy is the baccarat table limits. Sooner or later, you are likely to run into the betting threshold and, with this, lose a hefty amount. Now, admittedly this doesn’t happen too often, nor should it in your case, but the risk is always there. While positive, progressive strategies look a little riskier they are actually much safer.
We personally stick with negative progression systems such as Martingale, Fibonacci, D’Alembert, and Labouchere.
All four are considered bread-and-butter stratagems that can be used with equal success rate at online casinos as well as land-based properties. If you choose to play baccarat online, choosing Martingale could be a good introduction to betting systems as a whole as the system requires no complicated calculations at all.
Flat Progressive Baccarat Strategies
Flat progressive strategies have no scaling of bets. Instead, you will continually bet the same amount over and over again, placing your wagers on the most worthwhile baccarat tables out there.
There isn’t much of a difference between the different baccarat games you can find online and land-based casinos, but if you do spot a version or a table that pays slightly better or charges no commissions on the Banker bet, you should probably have a closer look to see if it’s worth it.
The strength of the flat betting system is that it never asks you to scale your wager and thus runs a risk of losing your profits in a snap of the fingers. Experts argue that both progressive and negative systems have their inherent flaws that can quickly deplete your bankroll.
With a flat strategy, instead, you may not see the gains immediately, but you will be able to extend your time of play, minimize the risk of ending your session in a big loss, and generally feel satisfied by the way the game has panned out.
What’s the Best Winning Baccarat Strategy?
Now that you know so much about baccarat, from the rules to how Banker bets work, you are probably wondering – what strategy would guarantee you a surefire win? As it turns out, baccarat strategy tips are just that, basic guidelines that help you figure out the game and win a little more, trying to reduce the inherent house edge a casino will always have.
Which strategy may work best in your case will really depend on what you are trying to accomplish. Are you willing to run a bigger risk on the off chance that you would end up winning more? Would you rather play slowly and focus on money management to negate any adverse consequences of progressive strategies?
Ultimately, you are the one who will have a say in what happens and what at the baccarat tables. You have control over much of the game, but what the next draw of the cards reveals is subject to pure chance, especially when you play baccarat online. Knowing that, can you say the game is still fun? You bet!
Baccarat Strategy FAQs
No. Every strategy is open to some flaws that may catch up with you sooner or later. Knowing when to stop is key to your success as a baccarat player.
Different strategies have different merits. Some players have more money to play with and choose to go after negative progression betting systems. Other players prefer to stick to flat betting systems as they extend their gaming sessions further.
No. A “secret betting pattern” in baccarat is usually associated with a gambler’s fallacy, which is the belief that some arbitrary circumstance can somehow impact the outcome of the next draw. It cannot.
Use a betting system. Betting systems have their imperfections, but they are the only way you can guarantee more consistent real money winnings over an extended period of time.
Yes. Baccarat takes skill in certain aspects of the experience. You have to know and understand the game’s rules, which bets benefit you better, and how money management can impact your long-term success. Other than that, the game mechanics are rooted in luck, and it’s important to understand what you can change and what you may not.
Yes. You can count cards in baccarat. This baccarat strategy is available at land-based casinos, and it allows you to further negate the house edge.