First and foremost, the most important thing to keep in mind when playing baccarat is that it is a game that for some mystical reason sports the most incredible streaks seen anywhere in casino games. The game is basically made up of three basic bets: Player; Banker; and Tie. There are also a slew of prop-bets that depend on the locales of the world’s casinos.
When I talk about fantastic streaks in baccarat, I mean streaks! There have been reports of more than 30 straight winning bank or player-hands. Even though roulette is known as a streaky game as well, I have not heard of such long ones occurring as they do in baccarat, and I have no explanation for this as these baccarat streaks do appear to defy the rules of probability.
There is another import facet of baccarat that must be taken into consideration when playing. That is that the bank bet is actually the best bet you can make in a casino as far as deviance from true-odds is concerned, excluding, of course, certain bets you can make at blackjack when you are counting the cards, or when there are special liberal rules. The house edge on bank is only 1.06 percent.
The second best bet you can make in a casino happens to be the baccarat player-bet. The house odds against you here are just 1.24 percent. Comparing these two to the third best bet you can make in a casino, which is the 1.36 craps don’t-pass bet, you see the significant difference between playing baccarat and the other standard casino games.
What is the Best Way to Attack the Baccarat Tables?
You might have already guessed it! It’s called taking advantage of the streaks when they come.
The most elementary of betting systems to take advantage of a streak occurring on either player or bank is to simply follow the shoe. This means what it says. If the first winning hand is player, then your next bet is on the player side. If the player wins again, you stay with the player for your next bet and so on. If the bank wins that third hand, you immediately switch over to the bank side and start looking for a streak with the banker. The only way you get hurt here is when the shoe chops over a period of time between player and bank, which will prevent you from catching a streak, and when it goes really bad, you will find it difficult winning two hands in a row. But patience and perseverance will, most of the time, get you through these negative chops.
The next thing to consider is your money management. When you do catch a good streak, you don’t want to sit there repeatedly betting one unit per hand. If you did that over a streak of ten winning hands you would only win what you lost over a streak of ten losing hands, which would completely defeat the purpose of the whole strategy. So in order to maximize the streak we need to implement a progressive betting-style that increases as does the number of hands you win in a row. If you want to be conservative, you can play a 1-2-2-3 or a 1-2-2-4 progression, and stay at four units until the streak ends. If you want to be bolder and look to make a score, you can play a 1-3-2-6 and revert back to one unit after four wins in a row, or go with a 1-3-2-6-6 and revert back to the single unit after five wins in a row. The exact winning-progression system you choose depends upon how aggressive you want to be. However, in all cases, you must go back to the single unit when your streak ends.
Some people wonder about the possibility of counting cards in baccarat, and whether or not tie bets or proposition bets can be beaten by doing so.
Many people have studied baccarat the way blackjack has been studied and some have even published baccarat card-counting systems. I have tested and even endorsed some of them as they actually can give the baccarat player a minute advantage over the casino when using them. But the problem is that there is great work involved at the table while counting and converting to true-count, much more than in blackjack because you cannot use a simple plus-minus count. Couple that with having to remember actual numbers of each card-value in the deck and it really gets overloading. So the bottom line is that it is too much work for too little reward.
As far as the tie-bet goes, the house-edge of 14.36 percent is far too prohibitive to try using a counting system. In fact, I would consider the tie-bet a sucker-bet, much like hard-way bets in craps. There are, however, some proposition bets that can actually be beaten by keeping track of certain-value cards in the deck. This appears to be the case with two bets especially popular in Canada; the Dragon-bet and the Panda-bet. If you search online you will find card-counting for these and other baccarat proposition-bets that may be effective. However, beware that casinos offering these types of bets are constantly changing their dealing procedures and limits to curb a smart baccarat player´s advantage.
About The Author
Richard Marcus is a former professional casino player/cheater that is currently working as a casino security expert and gaming consultant in Las Vegas. He is also the author of several books related to the casino industry.