Winning Baccarat

Tips, tricks and strategies to winning Baccarat


The word baccarat is derived from the Italian word baccara, meaning zero and refers to the zero value given to all of the face cards and tens. Baccarat is an elegant game and one of the most popular casino games and can also be one of the most deadly for unwary and unwise players.

An early version was played with cards from a Tarot deck back in the Middle Ages. Baccarat may have originated in Italy around the sixteen century, and by the early 1950's it had become the game of preference for the French nobility. Eventually baccarat evolved into European baccarat and the French game chemin de fer. What is known as American baccarat actually originated in England and spread to South America.

While the grandiose atmosphere of the game may attract the well-dressed high roller, baccarat is basically a game of chance that involves no degree of skill on the part of the player or dealer. Players may sit in any of the 14 open seats at the table, as seating position does not affect the play in any manner. Each seat corresponds to a number on the layout, one through 15, excluding a spot numbered 13 to avoid bad luck. Three dealers are in attendance at each table. The dealer standing in the middle is known as the croupier. The croupier makes the calls on each hand as they are dealt, and directs the players on the procedure of the game. The other two dealers are responsible for handling the payoffs.


If you would like to play a relaxing and sophisticated casino game without bothering to learn complicated rules; baccarat may be for you. Because of the low house edge, baccarat is one of the best games in the casinos if played properly and one of the most dangerous games if not. This game is a no-brainer and basically you have two choices to make; either you bet on bankers or players; the tie bet is a sucker bet and it is not recommended.

Baccarat is played with either six or eight complete decks of cards. All cards, ace through nine, are valued according to their count. Tens and face cards count as zero. When any two cards total over a 10 count, 10 must be subtracted and the remaining total is the card count.

The highest total any baccarat hand can have is nine. A two-card total of nine is called a natural and cannot lose. An eight is the second best hand and is also called a natural. If both player and bank are dealt identical hands, it is a tie and neither bank nor player wins.


Baccarat and mini-baccarat are the same game in terms of the house edges on the various bets. They differ only in the way the hands are dealt and, usually the minimum and maximum bets that are allowed. Baccarat is the full-blown game whereas mini-baccarat is played on standard blackjack-sized gaming tables. The layout in mini-baccarat conforms to the regular baccarat table and each of the seven seat positions correspond to a number and betting box with spots for banker, player, and tie. The table limits are much lower as well, although the game is moving at much faster pace and speed is where the danger lies for the unwary players.


The game starts by placing a wager on either the Banker's or the Player's assigned box. First, four alternating cards are dealt from the shoe, one card for the Player and one card for the Banker and so on. After the four cards are known, if either side has a "natural" the game ends. If no natural appears then up to six cards may be required to determine the winner. The fixed rules of the game always dictate the play. There are no options, and no decisions to make other than the size of your wager and whether you choose to bet on the banker or the player hand.

The first hand represents those betting on the Player, the second on the Banker. A third card may be dealt to either hand in accordance with the rules as shown below. The winning hand is the one with the highest point from one to nine. Ten cards and picture cards have no value; they count as zero. An ace is counted as one, and all numbered cards 2 through 9 are counted as face value. If the cards total a two-digit number, only the last digit counts (for example, 5 + 8 = 13; 13 counts as 3. Bets are paid even money, but a 5% commission is charged on winning Banker bets. A bet on a tie hand may be made, which pays 8 to 1.

However, we strongly suggest not to betting on ties, because that is a sucker bet. There is an average of only four to six (plus or minus) tie-bet-winning hands per shoe.

The rules for the first two cards are as follow and they overide all other rules:

  • If either the Player or the Banker has a total of 8 or 9, they both stand. These combinations are called "naturals."
  • If the Player's total is 7 and the Bank's is 6 , they both stand.

    The following is a summary that stipulates when a third card is dealt:

  • If the Player's total is 5 or less, the Player draws a card; otherwise the Player stands.
  • If the player does not draw a third card, then the Banker's hand stands on a total of 6 or more and takes a third card on a total of 5 or less. If the Player draws a third card, follow the rules below to determine if the Banker draws a third card.
  • If the Banker's total is 2 or less, then the banker draws a card regardless of what the Player's third cards is.
  • If the Banker's total is 3, then the banker draws another card unless the Player's third card is an 8.
  • If the Banker's total is 4, then the banker draws another card unless the Player's third card is a 1, 8, 9, or 10.
  • If the Banker's total is 5, then the Banker draws another card unless the Player's third card is a 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, or 10.
  • If the Banker's total is 6, then the Banker draws another card if the Player's third card is a 6 or 7.
  • If the Banker's total is 7, then the Bank stands.

It is important to know that since all the rules of taking a third are predetermined; you do not need to know them. Whether you play mini-baccarat or big-baccarat, the dealers and the supervisors ensure the integrity of the game. The total number of hands in a shoe is about 70 depending on the number of burn cards and the number of naturals. So, if a shoe has a lot of naturals and only two burn cards, then the number of hands per shoe will be higher.


The house edge in baccarat is the lowest of any casino game. With only a 5% commission on winning bank bets and nothing taken from winning player bets, the player's disadvantage is only 1.23 The payoff for ties is 8:1, but it is a bad bet as the house edge is increased to 14.05%.

Mathematically speaking, the bank hand will win 45.84% of the time as opposed to 44.61% for the player; the other 9.55% being represented by tied hands. If we exclude the tie bet, the Bank wins 50.68% of the bets as opposed to 49.32% for the player.

Here's how to calculate the edges for baccarat:-

44.61% $100 bet on the banker will lose      $44.61

45.84% $100 bet on the banker will win $95   $43.55
 Casino advantage, banker hand                 1.06

45.84% $100 bet on the player will lose      $45.84

44.61% $100 bet on the player will win       $44.61
 Casino advantage, player hand                 1.23

90.45% $100 bet on a tie will lose           $90.45

 9.55% $100 bet on a tie will win $800       $76.40
  Casino advantage, tie hand                  14.05

The conclusion that one should reach when one looks at the above figures is escapable - given a choice between Player and Banker; one would choose to play Banker. If we would like to lose our money faster in baccarat, the best way to accomplish our goal would be to continually wager on a tie.


Some casinos are changing the way they handle the Bank bet at baccarat. Instead of charging 5 % commission on a Bank hand wins, players are not required to pay the tax. But in the event the Bank hand wins on a total of six points, the payoff is only half their bet. So if you bet 20 dollars, you will only be paid $10, that is if the Bank hand wins on total of six points. On the other winning Bank hands, you are paid one to one with no commission taken out. Initially this might sound great as if it helps baccarat players get a better deal on the Bank bet but on closer examination, this translates into a house edge of about 1.4% on the Bank wager as against 1.06% previously.

The casinos will of course tell you that the whole idea behind the change is to make the game more exciting but in truth the new rule change was designed to make the game more exciting to the casinos' bottom line. Although the percentage of change may seem miniscule to most baccarat players, the game will now be moving faster and you will now have to make more decisions. Speed is now the essence and to the casino, time is money and similiarly time is also money to you except only in reverse. Because of the inherent built-in advantage in favour of the casinos, you are expected, on balance of probability, to lose in the long run. That is why a strategy will require you to seek the traditional version of the game where the house edge is slightly lower and secondly to play the game slowly in order to avoid making too many decisions.


There are a few approaches you can take:

    Slow down the game

    Although baccarrat and mini-baccarat are the same casino games, one thing we often overlooked is the speed of the games. In big baccarat 60 to 75 decisions per hour are possible whereas in mini-baccarat anything between 120 to 160 decisions per hour are possible. Playing Baccarat at blazing speed is not the way to beat the casino. Your money and your brain can go up and down in a matter of seconds. Because the casinos know that the law of probabilities favors them in the long run as more hands are played, the players are encouraged to bet on every hand and hence the game progresses at a much faster speed in mini-baccarat. The casino strategy diminishes your playing skills, and sooner rather than later you will throw caution to the wind. You must realize that this is a negative-expectation game where fast is good for the casino and slow is good for you the player.

    Because of the inherent built-in advantage in favor of the casinos, they create the psychological climate that induces people to speed up, play longer and ultimately throw caution to the wind and eventually money down the drains. So when you are playing - play it easy, cautiously and slowly. There is no need to rush because the casinos will be still around after we are gone.

    Playing conservatively

    To play conservatively, you must be patient because waiting for the right opportunity to come is a slow process. It may come about or it may not, but it is worth the try. Here is how you play the conservative approach:

    You adopt one of these two approaches:

    • If the Banker or Player won the last three hands, you bet on the opposite, one time bet only;

    • If the Banker or Player won the last four hands, you bet on the opposite side, one time bet only;

    If you are one that like to be on the fast lane, and want to play the more aggressive style, we may want to consider adopting one of these two approaches:

    Playing Aggressively - Which Side To Bet

      Follow the trend

      The simplest way to to get on a streak is to following the last winning bet hoping for long runs, but if you were playing this way in baccarat, for instance and banker and player won alternatively; called chopping, you will lose every bet.

      To overcome this problem alternating betting was developed:

      Alternating bet

      This is how you play. You wait for the first two hands to appear and make your decision and then bet on the hand preceding the last one. For example, if the first hand is a player and the second hand is a banker, your next bet is the player and so on. In chopping table with banker and player alternating win and a long streak (a streak is one where at least four wins in a row whether it be banker or player) you will win. However in shoes with two and three repeats, you lose.


    To get that winning edge, you must act, think and play like a winner. You must have confidence in yourself before you have confidence in your game. Confidence will come about if you have the knowledge of the game, strategy and money management skills. The Gambling Edge Baccarat Playing System is based on common-sense mathematical principles, a betting strategy, money management, and the most important point - a disciplined approach in controlling your actions and remain in charge of your life at all times. There are "life" support elements and are essential to succeed in the casino arena.

    Good Luck!

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