Baccarat is one of the most popular card games in Hawkplay, both online and in land-based casinos – and it’s easy to see why the table game has become a favorite of casual and seasoned players alike. With the right baccarat strategy, you can help boost your bankroll, increase your chances of winning and take your game to the next level.
Some inexperienced players would mistakenly assume that baccarat is a game reserved only for the wealthiest of high rollers who can afford to bet big in the opulent casinos of gambling centers like Las Vegas, Monte Carlo and Macau. Others are reluctant to try the game because they fear its rules are too complicated for them to understand.
The good news is that none of the above answers are really true. The fact is that today in Hawkplay, you don’t even have to leave your home if you want to play baccarat. There are many licensed online casinos where you can bet as little as $1 per hand, so the lack of a substantial bank is no excuse for not trying the game.
The Basic Baccarat Strategy Explained
Before players begin to master the basic strategy of baccarat, they should take some time to understand the odds they will face in this game. It is a very player-friendly game that offers the lowest house edge in a casino, the only other exception being the dice game of craps. In baccarat, you fight a long-term house edge of 1.06% for banker bets, 1.24% for player bets and 14.36% for tie bets, but the latter should be off limits to smart players.
Baccarat players who place player or banker bets enjoy a game of almost equal odds. The odds of winning with a banker bet are highest at 45.84% while the player’s hand wins 44.61% of the time on average. The player and banker will be tied on rare occasions, so the probability of a push between the two hands is only 9.54%. It follows that you should never bet on ties – not only because your chances of winning with this bet are slim, but also because you will be underpaid with reduced odds of 8 to 1. Note that these numbers are accurate when playing eight-game baccarat.
The Basics of Baccarat: How to Play
With a European appeal and all the glitz and glamour, baccarat can be a bit intimidating at first. However, behind the tough exterior, you’ll find a decent card game with only three possible outcomes per hand. In fact, there is little to no skill required to get started.
Like most table games like blackjack, baccarat uses three to six standard 52-card decks that are shuffled and placed in a dealing machine called the “shoe”. Playing the game is as simple as it gets.
Despite what it might seem, the dealer does all the heavy lifting, including dealing the cards from the shoe. All you have to do is place your bet, sit back and let the falling cards decide your fate.
First, you must bet using chips/chips/checks on the player’s hand, the banker’s hand or make a tie bet.
The dealer then deals two cards to the player (also known as the bettor) and two cards to the banker, all face up. The object here is to guess which hand has a number as close to 9 as possible.
The cards 2 to 9 have their nominal values.
Each of the Tens (10s) and Faces cards (also called Short = J, Q and K) has a numerical value of zero (0).
Each Ace card counts numerically as 1.
The values of the two cards are added together to determine the value of each hand. If the player has 2 and Q, for example, then the hand is worth 2 points. If the banker has 3 and 5, the value of the hand is 8.
If the total of a hand is greater than 9, the count is adjusted by deducting 10 or by removing the first number from the sum. Therefore, if the two cards in the hand are 9 and 6, the total is 5, not 15.
Each hand can contain up to three cards, and there are rules specified by the casino that the player’s hand or the banker will receive a third card to draw. Most house rules state that a player must stand when the count is 6 or 7.
When the player’s hand is worth less than 5, a third card is drawn. If the count is exactly 5, the player can either stand or claim a third card.
When does a Banker receive the third card? This happens if the Banker’s count is less than 3 or as stipulated by the most favorable odds.
On the other hand, the Banker must stand at any count of 6 or higher.
The Banker may stand or draw a third card if the Banker’s hand count is exactly 3 against the Player’s 3rd card on 9. The same should happen when the Banker’s count is 5 and the Player received a 4 on the third card draw.
Betting With the Banker: The Simplest Baccarat Strategy
Unless you’re new to baccarat, chances are you’ve heard that you “should always bet on the banker”. It’s not just one of the most quoted gambling quotes.
Betting with the banker is not only the simplest baccarat strategy but also the safest. And it all comes down to pure mathematics.
First of all, the theoretical house edge for betting on the banker, as mentioned earlier, is 1.06%. Similarly, the return to player (RTP) or payout percentage for Banker bets is 98.94%.
If we assume that you made 100 $1 bets on the Banker hand, you will get back $98.94. Keep in mind that this metric is theoretical and only tells you whether a specific bet is better or worse than another.
The RTP of a bet on the banker’s hand of 98.94% suggests that it is slightly better than a bet on the player’s hand, which has an RTP of 98.76%. Similarly, a tie bet is worse than either one because of its relatively low RTP of 85.64%.
The reason why betting on the banker is always a good idea goes beyond the house edge and RTP. Let’s take a closer look at the mathematics of banker betting baccarat strategy:
Assuming the casino uses eight standard 52-card decks; Tie bets pay 8:1; Banker bets pay peers minus 5% commission, and there is a 1: 1 payoff for player bets, then the math says:
Player Hand loses 45.87%, wins 44.63% and equals 9.51%.
Bank Hand, on the other hand, loses 44.65%, wins 45.87% and equals 9.51%.
If we remove all the hands that are tied from the equation, Bank Hand loses 49.32% of the hands, while it gains 50.68%. On the other hand, 50.68% of the players’ hands lose, while 49.32% win.
In this mathematical context, it is clear that bets on the bank’s hands are more likely to win than to lose, while players’ hands lose more often than they win. To correct this, there is a 5% commission on all winning Banker bets.
Even when you include the 5% charge and ignore the hands that are tied, the house edge of the Banker hand is still a very favorable 1.17%. In other words, every $100 bet on the Banker will result in a theoretical loss of $1.17, while similar bets on the Player’s hand will result in a loss of $1.36.
The numbers don’t lie: you have a better chance of winning if you trust the Banker with your money!
Don’t be fooled, though. Betting only with the player has a house edge almost as low as 1.36%, which means it can also be a viable baccarat strategy.