Developing strategies for baccarat is almost comparable to devising a strategy for guessing the outcome of a coin flip. The game’s rules are simple enough to understand, and as long as you don’t plan on betting on a tie, your primary strategy should be to know how and when to wager.
What started as a private social game has turned into a popular high-stakes game in many casinos. Because bets are so high — usually the smallest bet possible is $25AUD — baccarat games are often played in separate rooms to ensure privacy.
It is, however, becoming more and more common for the game to be played out on the casino floor in a mini version on a seven-player table rather than the traditional 14-player. Most of the pomp and circumstance has been eliminated in this game, as well as the larger bets. Players can wager as little as $5 in the small version of Baccarat.
Baccarat Rules and How to Play
- The player can bet on either hand. Before the cards are dealt, the player can bet on the Banker’s hand or the Player’s hand.
- The cards are dealt. A croupier (or the Banker in smaller games) will deal two cards to the Player and two cards to the Banker. The dealer will slide one card out of the shoe and place it face up in the Player’s box on the casino table. The next card, the first of the Banker hand, is placed face up in the Banker’s box on the table. After this, the house deals another card to the Player, then a second to the Banker. This completes the dealer’s first round or two cards for each player.
- The House will announce the total points for both sets of cards. Tens and face cards all are worth zero points, aces are worth one point, and all other cards are worth face value. If the total of the Banker or Player’s two cards is more than nine, the second digit of the total is the value of the hand. For example, if the Player has a six and a seven, the total is 13 and the value is three. In order to win, your bet must be on the hand that has a value closest to nine.
- Natural win. If the Player or Dealer has a hand with a value of eight or nine, it is considered a natural win, and no other cards are dealt.
- The House will determine whether the player gets a third card. The house will look at the Player hand first. The Player will stand if he has a total of six or seven. On any other total, 0-5, the Player draws a third card, which will determine his or her final total.
- Determining whether the Banker gets a third card. If the Player stands (or draws no new cards), the Banker draws according to the same rules as the player. He draws with a hand total of 0-5 and stays with a hand total of 6 or 7. If the player drew a card, the rules get a little hairy. If the Player’s third card is 9, 10, face-card or Ace, the Banker draws if he has a 0-3, and stays with a 4-7. If the Player’s third card is 8, the Banker draws if he has a 0-2, and stays with a 3-7. If the Player’s third card is 6 or 7, the Banker draws if he has a 0-6, and stays with a 7. If the Player’s third card is 4 or 5, the Banker draws if he has a 0-5, and stays with a 6-7. If the Player’s third card is 2 or 3, the Banker draws if he has a 0-4, and stays with a 5-7.
Punto Banco, Australia’s most popular form of baccarat, is a game of luck.
Despite this, many high rollers and seasoned players depend heavily on recording coup results. The coup in baccarat is usually composed of anywhere from four, six or eight decks of cards, which makes real card counting almost impossible. These players base their strategy on traditional playing patters called big eye road, big road, small/bead road and cockroach road. Although making inferences about new coups is impossible, many casinos and online baccarat websites are providing coup results to add to the excitement of the game.
Because it’s a game of luck, the best strategies for baccarat are based on wagering. Keep in mind, you don’t have to bet each time. Play for a bit to watch the previous hands and bet with a streak or when odds begin to diminish for either side to win again. Also, don’t bet against a winning streak.
It’s also important to know the odds for the game. Because the banker draws more cards, the odds of the banker winning are slightly better. Baccarat has different odds depending on how many decks are used to deal the cards. Typically six or eight decks are in a shoe. For an eight-deck shoe, the house edge on a Player bet is 1.06% and 1.24% for the banker. The house edge for a tie is much higher at 14.36%, so betting on a tie is probably not the wisest choice. For a six-deck shoe, the odds are the same for the Player and Banker, but they’re higher for a tie bet at 14.44%.
The most you can hope for in terms of predicting outcomes is trying to count card values each hand and adjusting your bet as you feel more low cards or face cards will come up in next hand. Once a full shoe of cards is dealt, you will notice player and banker wins get closer and closer to 50/50.