Baccarat is a casino card game that can be enjoyed by players at online and land-based casinos. The game has numerous variations, but there are 3 primary versions that are widely enjoyed: North American Baccarat, also known as Punto Banco, Chemin de Fer & Baccarat Banquet, which is also known as à deux tableaux Baccarat.
Punto Banco, which translates to Player Banker, is a pure game of chance and luck. This game does not involve any decisions or skills. The outcome of the game purely depends on the cards that the player and the banker get. On the flip side, the other two versions, Baccarat Banquet & Chemin de Fer involve skill and players make decisions that will affect the gameplay.
The Basics of How to Play
Baccarat House Edge and Odds
Baccarat is a well-known card game that is offered in a number of brick and mortar casinos as well as online. Many players opt for it due to the fact that it’s extremely entertaining and intriguing. Another thing, which have greatly contributed to its huge popularity, is its fairly simple rules and bet options. Presently, it is possible to enjoy the classic Baccarat, also known as Punto Banco, as well as some of its many versions. In contrast to the past when the game was predominantly played by the upper-class members of the society, nowadays the huge diversity of variations make it suitable for all types of players, regardless of their bankroll and attitude to risk.
The game is famous for having a low house edge which is one of the reasons why it appeals to such a huge number of casino enthusiasts all over the world. When it comes to gambling, there is nothing more enticing for players than knowing that the odds are in their favour. Due to its low house edge, Baccarat is considered to be one of the best casino games of all times. However, it should be also taken into account the fact that it is a game of luck and as such, its outcome cannot be influenced by a reliable strategy or skills.
Baccarat House Edge
One of the most important things which every player should consider, prior to playing a casino game, is its house edge and odds. These indicators are rather dynamic as they can vary, depending on the respective casino and the variation of the game. Baccarat is a high-stakes game and as such, its house edge is especially important as the minimum bet that can be placed is significantly increased in comparison to other table games. Therefore, players should take their time to get familiar with their chances of winning before betting substantial amounts of money. This is also the reason why Baccarat is the favourite game of many high rollers as it suits their betting habits and gaming style.
Baccarat is a casino game with a moderately low house edge – the most common rules of the game offer 1.09%. However, players should always remember to double check its rules beforehand in order to make sure they are not altered in favour of the casino. On average, it is estimated that the banker wins around 50.68% of the non-tie bets, whereas players win 49.32%. The house edge that applies on the ‘player’ bet is determined by subtracting the first above-mentioned percentage from the second one.
It is observable that there isn’t much difference in the odds and in this case, the banker who represents the casino, clearly doesn’t have a real advantage. This is the reason why the casino had to impose a countermeasure in attempt to make the odds favourable again. As a result, one of the rules that apply is that the casino is entitled to a 5% commission whenever the banker bet wins. This way, the built-in advantage remains and players are deprived of the chance to be otherwise in a favourable position.
As already mentioned, the rules of Baccarat are moderately easy to learn. One of the basic rules concerns the different types of bets. Players have the chance to choose among three available options when it comes to putting their chips on the table. Each table has designated areas, labelled as ‘player’, ‘banker’ or ‘tie’. These are the possible wagers that can be placed throughout the game. According to them, the odds of the game change as well which is the reason why it is compulsory to get familiar with them in order to determine the possibility of winning.
The odds of the bets, depending on the type, differ from one another significantly. If players decide to place a wager on the ‘player’ section, the house edge is estimated to be 1.36%. If they choose to put a bet on the ‘banker’ section, it is 1.06%. However, when it comes to the ‘Tie’ bet, the house edge is much higher – 14.4%.
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The Bet with the Worst Odds
One bet that is worth discussing is the ‘tie’ bet due to the fact that it has an exceptionally high house edge. It is observable that the odds of this wager are clearly unfavourable for the players and therefore, they should refrain themselves from choosing it. Even though, it can be really tempting to place this type of wager because of its payout – eight to one, it is compulsory to take into account the fact that its odds are worse in comparison to the rest of the available bets.
The Bet with the Best Odds
After players have taken their time to consider the odds every bet gives them, it is easy to decide which one provides them with the chance to lower the house edge as much as possible and reduce their money loses. In order to do so, they should bet on the’ banker’ section as its house edge has proven to be the lowest. Even though the casino gets a 5% commission, if they choose to place a wager on the banker’s hand, it is still their best bet choice and players shouldn’t be discouraged to try their luck on it because of this rule.
Pro’s Perspective: Baccarat Strategies and Tips:
Baccarat has one of the lowest house edges among casino games. Craps players who can afford to take odds with their pass, come, don’t pass or don’t come bets get a better deal, and so do blackjack players who learn basic strategy.
But depending on table minimum bets, craps with odds usually requires a bigger bankroll than baccarat, and blackjack players who don’t put in the study and practice time to master basic strategy face a higher house edge than baccarat players do.
Counting Cards is Less Effective in Baccarat
Although the odds change very slightly as each card is dealt and removed from the remaining deck, you can’t effectively count cards in baccarat.
The late Peter Griffin, mathematician, and author of “The Theory of Blackjack,” calculated in a typical eight-deck game in a live casino, a card counter who doesn’t bet unless the count gives him an edge can squeeze out an edge of 0.7 percent. However, the counter would be betting on only about three hands every eight hours. That’s quite the waiting game. No player is likely to have that kind of patience, and the casino may refuse a seat to someone who goes hours at a time without making a bet.
Systems Are Less Effective in Baccarat
Because the change in odds as cards are dealt is so minuscule, the probabilities are essentially the same on every hand.
That means it’s futile to play systems such as betting ties after 10 or more hands without a tie. Players have tried such systems often in the past, but even if it’s been that long since the last time, there’s still only a 9.55 percent chance of the next hand ending in a tie.
The tie bet is an underdog on every hand, and the 14.4 percent house edge is too large to overcome.
Have Fun With Your Bets
You’ll get the lowest house edge by always betting on the banker, but the difference between the 1.17 percent edge on banker and 1.36 percent on the player is small enough that it’s relatively low-cost fun to change up your bets.
Many baccarat players like to ride streaks. A ride the streaks player waits until one side has won twice in a row, then starts betting on that side. When that side loses, he either switches sides or sits out until there’s another streak of two in a row, then climbs on.
The house edges remain the same. The attraction is that there can be spectacular wins when the game goes streaky. In the long run, the good times are offset by more frequent small losses when the table is choppy, and the starting points of two-win streaks are ended immediately by third-hand losses.
Online Baccarat Has Unique Considerations
In live casinos, big baccarat tables usually have higher minimum bets, but mini-baccarat tables are much faster with more hands per hour. If your bet would be close to the same size at either table, big baccarat is easier on your bankroll because of its slower pace. The big/mini speed differential isn’t a consideration online.
Baccarat is a fun, slow-paced, elegant game that requires no skill on the part of the player. If you can remember to always bet on the banker, you can play a game with a relatively low house edge and have a lot of fun.
If you want to get an edge at EZ Baccarat, you can pull it off by counting cards. You might also be able to find a dealer who’s flashing her cards while she deals. That can get you an edge, too.
Both scenarios require more effort than their worth, though. If you want to become an advantage player, I still think your best bet is to learn to count cards in blackjack.