Baccarat Strategy Guide

Everyone with even the slightest interest in the casino will know that of the many games that fill the floors of venues worldwide, baccarat remains one of the most popular. As card games go, their simplicity and longevity have led to them becoming one of the most accessible on offer in physical venues and online casinos alike. Ever since its days at the peak of French nobility pastimes, it has evolved and developed into a phenomenon.

Now more than ever, it is a cultural behemoth, owing much to its place online and in the wider world of media and entertainment. Because of this and its time on the scene, it has developed into a game with different variants and gameplay styles. While the most popular version of the game is known as punto banco, or player banker in English, there is also chemin de fer and baccarat banque that players can find both online and in venues internationally.

It’s this evolution of the game, its place as one of the leading casino games in the world, and its simple gameplay that has made it a popular one for experts to develop strategies that aim to help players in their gaming sessions. Speak to any casino enthusiast, and they’ll tell you that they have their own baccarat strategy for an approach to their game at the table. In this guide, we’ll cover the best strategies you can employ and how to use them at the table.

How to Play Baccarat

We’ve already discussed that this is a game that is simpler than many of its other card game counterparts, such as blackjack and poker, but many still don’t know the ins and outs of the game enough to sit down to a session. If you’re ever to develop or apply a baccarat card game strategy, first, you will need to be able to play the game and know the rules and gameplay inside and out.

Bet Types

First, it’s important to know the bet types that you will use in a standard game of baccarat. That is because you will be placing your bet even before any cards are dealt. You will find that there are three main bets that you can place on the table in front of you.

  • Banker bet: This is betting that the banker’s hand will have a value closer to 9 than the player
  • Player bet: This is the inverse bet that the player will have a value closer to 9 than the banker
  • Tie bet: This bet is what you choose if you think both player and banker will have hands of the same value.

Card Values

In any good card game, there will be set values for each card in the deck that make up a hand. This is a two-hand comparison game in which the player competes against the banker to get the highest hand up to a value of 9. If their hand adds up to more than 9, it becomes equal to the second digit in the value. For example, a 5 and an 8 adding up to 13 would become a 3. Because of that, cards have the following values:

  • 1-9 number cards carry their corresponding value
  • Ace cards have a value of 1
  • 10s and face cards (except Ace) carry a value of 0

A Typical Baccarat Hand

Now that we have covered the bet types and the card values, the important part is how a standard round of the game will play out. This will likely take the form of the following steps.

  • Players make their bets
  • The banker begins dealing with both parties’ two-card hands
  • Cards are overturned, and the highest value hand closest to 9 wins
  • Any winning bets are paid

It’s important to note that while this is the simplified way a game will play out, there are instances in which both player and dealer may hit and receive a third card. If you’re playing with a baccarat game strategy, it’s key that you research these instances.

Top Baccarat Strategies

You might have noticed that the simple nature of the game of baccarat doesn’t lend itself to in-depth game-specific strategies that require specific knowledge of probabilities and likelihoods. Instead, the best strategies to apply to the game are those that refer more to the management of bankroll and the betting systems that can be used in many live casino games. Some of the most common and popular might be familiar to those who have spent any time at the casino, including the following.

Martingale Strategy

This is a strategy that has truly stood the test of time. It remains one of the most popular bankroll management approaches due to its ease of application and the fact that it can be used for many different games. In baccarat, you would use this as a positive progressive strategy in an effort to minimise any losses incurred across a gaming session.

In this strategy, if you were to lose one hand, you would begin the next round by doubling your stake. If you began by staking £1, losing one round would see you doubling up to £2 for the next one. Another loss would mean doubling up to £4 and so on. A win would see you return to the starting stake. This system is best applied when you consistently choose the player bet across a number of rounds, as it pays out evens at 1:1 odds.

Fibonacci Strategy in Baccarat

You may have also heard of this approach to betting if you have any familiarity with casino gaming. Much like the previous one, this is a negative progressive betting strategy and it is derived from an Italian mathematician’s numerical sequence that has been applied to the incremental approach to increasing and decreasing your stake.

Like the Martingale strategy, you will increase your stake whenever you lose a hand. However, unlike the former, you will not double it this time. In this system, each new stake will comprise the sum of the two previous stake values. Saying that you begin with a stake of £1 and continue to lose, it will appear as follows: £1, £1 (1+0), £2 (1+1), £3 (2+1), £5 (3+2), £8 (5+3), £13 (8+5). This can continue until a win is achieved, at which point you would move back one to the left in the sequence. Again, as these sorts of strategies are best applied to 1:1 outcomes, the Fibonacci is best applied to the player bet.

The 1-3-2-6 System

If you found the Fibonacci strategy interesting for its approach to staking, this non-progressive betting application might also be a fit. We say non-progressive because, unlike the rest of the strategies in this list, we do not follow a linear progression in our increases or decreases of the stake amount. With that said, it is a strategy that aims to both get the most out of winning bets and minimise losses.

In this system, you will begin with one unit (we’ll use £1 to make things simple) before progressing to three units, then two, then six, should you keep winning. Without any losses, you would bet the following sequence: £1, £3, £2, £6. If you lose or win all four bets, you will return to the start of the sequence and start again. This means that you are not chasing any streaks which should be avoided.

The Reverse Martingale

The name of this one should definitely ring some bells, given that we’ve already covered the baccarat Martingale strategy. As you would imagine, this system is much like its prior namesake but follows a slightly different approach and is a positive, progressive betting strategy rather than a negative one. So what does that mean in practice, and what would it look like for a player at the baccarat table?

This approach, also known as the anti-martingale system, sees the player only increasing their bet in the event that they win a hand. That means that a loss in their first hand sees them stay at their existing stake, but a win sees them double it. A win at £1 would mean doubling up to £2. A subsequent loss would mean returning to the starting bet. This is another bankroll management strategy, but unlike its original namesake, it aims to improve the total payout for a win. It’s another strategy that is best on a 1:1 choice, so using it on the player bet is optimal.

Side With The Player

We’ve discussed how the banker winning is the most probable outcome on the table, and because of that, its payout odds are 0.95:1. However, that doesn’t mean that siding with the player is an inherently bad option. While it is more unlikely than the banker bet, the player bet is still very close and as you can never guarantee a win anyway, the marginal difference isn’t going to swing whether you should apply your bankroll strategy to it or not.

The player bet has payout odds of around 1:1, and it has a probability percentage of 44.62%, showing just how similar they are. The 1:1 payout makes the most sense when used as part of a progressive betting strategy, particularly the Martingales. If a £10 win would pay out £20, that means that it covers the doubling of the stake.

Side With the Banker

So, we’ve explained just why the player bet is best for those strategies that require you to double your stake. Because the banker’s payout odds of just 0.95:1 means that a £10 winning bet would only return £19.50, you’re likely to want to avoid it for any system that requires doubling your stake. This is because it will require you to dip into your bankroll in order to top it up, which will be worse for your bankroll management. It’s always important to keep in mind that a house edge does exist, tipping the odds in favour of the house, regardless of the strategy you employ.

However, that isn’t to say that siding with the banker can’t be used as part of a strategy. It just means that you have to pick your approach with care. It is statistically the most probable outcome of the three on the table, so any approach that doesn’t require a doubling of your stake could use it as a conservative approach to playing.

Tips For Using Strategies

There’s more to playing the game than simply setting out a stall with a chosen approach and firing up a session. Here are some tips to keep in mind when using baccarat strategies.

Set Your Budget

It’s important that you know what your limit is whenever you plan to spend any time playing at a casino. If you’re going to be playing over a longer session, it’s key that you don’t lose more than you can afford. A great way of ensuring this is by setting yourself a financial limit before you start playing and not wavering from it. This will make sure any losses are within your budget.

Take Time to Think | | 18+

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