How to get the Most from Your Baccarat Play
You do not need to be a high roller to enjoy the low house edge offered by Baccarat games nowadays. You’ll find this game for regular stakes on the floor of most casinos (often as Punto-Banco) and also online. There are some important pitfalls to avoid that will ensure you are enjoying optimal returns from this game. While the house edge will remain, there ways you can increase your enjoyment of the game as well as give yourself the best chance of being around long enough to enjoy some good sized upswings.
This article takes you through the practical aspects of Baccarat strategy. First of all below, I have outlined the game basics and some bets you should avoid if you want to keep the house edge as low as possible. Next I look at betting systems. While many people look to these to provide the solution to beating the house, the truth is that the best they will do is smooth out short term variance. After this you will find information on the importance of maximizing your comps and benefits, and managing your Baccarat bankroll effectively.
Basic Baccarat Strategy
Fortunately, this is a simple game to play – even though some of the 3rd card rules are quite complicated. There is no optimal strategy for betting on the banker or player squares, with the banker offering a slightly lower return to make up for coming in a little more often.
The main factor in keeping the house edge to the very low 1% is to avoid tie bets and side bets. The tie bet has a house edge of more than 7%; this is terrible by casino game standards and should be avoided at all times. Even slots do not have an edge that big, and those are the most profitable games of all for the casinos.
Other bets to avoid are any side-bets on pairs or suits of the cards. These often offer attractive returns, possibly with a big payout – for example for 4 aces. What you need to realize is that you are simply handing money to the casino in the form of house edge with these bets.
The best strategy is to stick to the good bets, manage your money carefully and to enjoy any bonuses and comps which your casino offers you.
Baccarat Betting Systems
Betting systems have been trying to ‘beat the house’ for centuries, they still have not managed to do this. Baccarat is a game which seems suitable for betting systems involving the Martingale (stake doubling) type systems – since the bets are close enough to even money to make this work.
While the casinos will be happy to allow you to double your stake after each loss, I strongly recommend you do not do this. While this type of system will reduce your volatility in the short-term – in the long term it will not beat the house. The fatal flaw is that the run of adverse results that could lead you to go broke is actually fairly common.
Other betting systems are based on doubling your stake after a win. For example the Paroli system uses 3 double-ups in a row, before returning to the original stake level. These will not beat the house - the edge will remain whatever you do. What these positive progressions give you is the chance of enjoying some bigger wins occasionally. This will be at the expense of missing out on many smaller ones along the way.
Baccarat Strategy – Bonuses and Comps
With a low house edge, comps and bonuses will make an outsized difference to your bankroll when you play Baccarat. In live casinos you should make sure that you register for a player’s card. This can quickly add up to some free buffet dinners and if you are a big spender, even more perks besides.
Online, bonuses are a great way to reduce the house edge a little further. Some casinos will limit Baccarat play from your play-through, though there are still many that do count this game for bonus clearing purposes. If you do not take full advantage of the bonuses available, both live and online, then you are literally leaving money on the table.
Money Management in Baccarat Play
As casino games go, this is a very low variance game. Sure, sometimes you will have bad runs, though oftentimes you’ll find small swings in either direction are much more common. This means you do not need as big a bankroll as you might with some other casino games with bigger swings – for example roulette.
I recommend 30 bets as a baseline for recreational players. If you go on a good run, you can easily double your bet amount. If luck is not with you on that day and you lose 15 bets, then you will still have 30 for a lower limit table – where you can hopefully hit the hot streak to move you back up again.