For many people, winning baccarat, a fabulous casino card game, is an important goal. The games is enjoyed by millions of players the world over, many of them from the upper echelons of society. But it's not only the well-heeled who enjoy Bacarrat – the game is plenty appealing to casual players at online casinos, and the magnificent casinos that pepper the iconic Las Vegas Strip. Baccarat boasts a rich and decorated history, spanning many centuries. It has associations with the aristocracy, nobility, and royalty of Europe, yet it has mainstream appeal with players across Asia, the Americas, and beyond. 

“Baccarat is pronounced ‘Bah-Cah-Rah’ not ‘Back-a-Rat’” Frank Scoblete

In essence, Baccarat game is about picking a hand – the Banker or the Dealer – and betting on which one wins. Like all games of chance, there is the distinct possibility that a tie ensues, and this is accounted for with the Tie bet.

Beyond the ritz and glitz, the dapper gentlemen and exquisite ladies, the extraordinary bets, and the allure of the game, is a basic set of rules which underpins it all. We are going to teach you the best Baccarat winning strategies you can employ to crank up your game. A caveat is in order: there is no single-best strategy that guarantees wins in any casino game. Rather, there are a series of deliberate steps you can follow to improve your game and win more in the process.

THE DO’S AND DON'TS OF EFFECTIVE BACCARAT PLAY

Many casino games have an unmistakable aura that makes them utterly engaging to players. Take Craps for example – it's an electrifying game with incredible winning potential. Craps tables, like Roulette tables, are the ‘live wires’ of the casino.

Animated players, raucous entertainment, and throngs of eager onlookers typify the scene. Bacarrat is a little different. It is played respectfully, with nattily clad dealers typically in a roped-off section of the casino. Since it's a high-class game, with big bets, Baccarat players tend to be the casino whales who enjoy throwing down big dollar at the tables. They are suave and sophisticated, cool and commanding, yet always eager to celebrate big wins with lots of bubbly and caviar.

If you find yourself drawn to the magnetic appeal of Baccarat tables, dress the part. You will be rubbing shoulders with plenty of high-rollers at the Baccarat tables, so look sharp. Polished shoes, three-piece suits, or elegant evening attire will certainly allow you to blend in.

There are many different Baccarat variants you can choose from, including the universally popular Mini-Baccarat. These are affordable alternatives to traditional Baccarat games with high minimum bets. There are certain rules that need to be followed when you're attempting to formulate winning Baccarat strategies. Let's unravel some of these fascinating insights:

WINNING TIP: Learn the difference between Banker bets and Player bets. For starters, it's possible to bet on either option. You don't have to be the banker to bet on the banker, and you don't have to be the player to bet on the player. The player can bet on either the Banker or Player hand. There are different odds associated with Banker bets and Player bets. The banker typically wins 50% + of the time. The casino realizes this and places a 5% commission known as a vigorish on all Banker bets. Here are some important odds to bear in mind if you're playing Baccarat with 8 decks of cards:

• Player bets have a house edge of 1.24%
• Banker bets have a house edge of 1.06%
• Tie bets have a house edge of 14.36%
• Pair bets have a house edge of 10.36%

However, if you're playing Baccarat with 1 deck of cards then the house edge becomes the following:

• Player bets have a house edge of 1.29%
• Banker bets have a house edge of 1.01%
• Tie bets have a house edge of 15.75%
• Pair bets have a house edge of 29.5%.

WINNING TIP: It is always preferable to play Baccarat at a table with the lowest possible house edge. If you can find Zero Commission Baccarat tables, those are best since there is no 5% commission on Banker bets. As such you should only bet on Banker bets since these are most favorable to players.

Many players believe that their ‘gut feel’ is a great indicator of how to bet in Baccarat. Put your emotions aside and stick to the numbers. Forget Tie bets with their really high house edge, and scrap Pair bets too.

WINNING TIP: Forget the maxim, ‘The Trend is Your Friend’ in Baccarat. Whether you play Baccarat online or at a land-based casino, remember one thing: Banker bets are best. Many players look to trends, patterns, and past results for cues when playing Baccarat. As with Roulette, Blackjack, Slots, Craps, and other casino games, it doesn't matter what the past results were.

Every new round of play is independent of all previous rounds of play. You may be tempted to bet on the trends when player bets come good, but remember that the statistical advantage always lies with bets on the Banker hand. All casino games are subject to variance; these unusual periods of play result in winning streaks and losing streaks. But reversion to the mean teaches us that your statistical advantage rests with the Banker bet. 

WINNING TIP: Don’t waste money buying expensive Baccarat strategy guides, reading complex articles on Baccarat probabilities, or Baccarat betting systems. This is one casino card game which truly relies on good fortune and nothing else. You don't have to know much about the game, since your only decision is whether you will bet on the Banker hand, the Player hand, a Tie, or the auxiliary vets which are available.

While this masquerades as complex, it isn't. Bet on the Banker hand and the dealer takes care of everything. There is a way to consistently win at Baccarat if you remember these tips. Over the long term, you're better off playing at Baccarat tables with a low house edge, on the Banker bet. Sometimes, the dealer may flash their cards, giving you an opportunity to make an educated betting decision, though this is rare.

WHEN DO PLAYER HANDS AND BANKER HANDS HIT IN BACCARAT?

baccarat table

Even though you don't have to learn the rules of play, it's useful to know when the banker takes a card in Baccarat. The player stands on hand values of 6+ and the banker always hits on hands of 5 or less. The waters get muddied a little if the Player hand decides to hit, because it depends on the value of the Player’s card, and the total of the Banker's hand.  If either the Player hand or the Banker hand is valued at 8 or 9, they stand. If the Banker hand and the Player hand are even, then the Tie bet wins. 

• On hand totals of 5 or less, the player draws another card
• On hand totals of 6 & 7, the player stands
• If the player draws a third card, the banker may draw a third card depending on a specific set of rules. For example, if the player’s third card is a 9, 10 Jack, Queen, King, Ace, the banker will draw on values of 0-3 and stand on values of 4-7. If the player’s third card is valued at 6 or 7, the banker draws on hand values of 0 – 6 and stands with a 7. If the player’s third card is valued at 4 or 5, the banker will then draw with hand values of 0 – 5, and stand on 6 – 7.

BACCARAT WINNING LIKE A PRO

As part of a winning Baccarat strategy, you may wish to keep track of your performance. Most casinos provide their Baccarat players with scorecards. While past performance is in no way indicative of future performance, it is interesting to track your bets to determine your win/loss ratio based on your budget. Every time the Banker bet wins, mark it accordingly; every time the Player bet wins, mark it accordingly, and every time a Tie results, mark it accordingly. 

While the patterns are certainly interesting, they do not indicate what is going to happen in the future. The scorecards should be used solely for determining win/loss ratios, and budget-related matters. You may need to resize your bets based on the outcomes. If you are on a limited budget, you can prolong your Baccarat playing sessions by reducing your bet size, thereby decreasing your overall risk and maximizing your time at the tables.

Since Baccarat is a high roller favorite, you can expect to see large sums of money changing hands every hour. The casino recognizes that it stands just as much chance of losing millions of dollars in a single evening as it does of winning. The inherent advantage with the casino dealer may be as little as 1% +/-, but that's enough to guarantee an overall positive return for the casino, despite the short-term probabilities of big losses for the house. 

If you're interested in winning Baccarat games more consistently, bankroll management is where you want to focus your energy. Always determine how much you can afford to lose before you go into an online Baccarat session. The game typically has high minimum bet values – much higher than Roulette, Blackjack, or Slots games – so be prepared.

11 USEFUL TIPS FOR WINNING BACCARAT HANDS:

1. Practice multiple sessions of online Baccarat before you deposit and play for real money. Experience is the greatest teacher of all and if you're not risking real cash, you're gaining lots of experience. Once you are confident, find an affordable Baccarat game and follow the advice in this guide.

2. Experts readily advise Baccarat players to avoid the Tie bet at all times. It is extremely tempting to bet on this because the payout seems so favorable. However, once you get into the ‘Drawing Rules’ of when the banker hits and when the player hits, it is unlikely that the Tie bet will result. For every Tie bet that you place, only 1 in 11 will win. This hardly seems like a worthwhile proposition for a Baccarat player.

3. Don't be fooled by the 5% commission on the Banker bet. It may appear to be unattractive to you, but the Banker bet is always the best option in Baccarat. The house recognises that the odds favor the Banker bet, so they levy a small 5% commission on this bet to even the proverbial playing field. In the long term however, the Banker bet pays out 50.68% compared to just 49.32% for the Player Bet. The small difference makes a big difference over the long term.

4. Looking to win big on Baccarat? Then search for low commission Baccarat tables, particularly with Banker bets. Anything less than 5% is certainly welcome, even if the casino adds 4% commission to Banker bets. Look out for Zero Commission Baccarat, or Low Commission Baccarat games. 

5. Always manage your money as if your life depended on it. Your Baccarat bankroll is your lifeline in this game, so use good judgment in all betting activity. Divide your bankroll into units; each unit is a round of play. You may decide to play 20 units worth of Baccarat before taking a break. Once your bankroll has been exhausted, leave the table and take a breather. It's not easy to walk away when you're on a winning streak, but you've got to know when to stop because good fortune can easily become misfortune.

6. Remember that you can never bust in Baccarat.  Whatever hand you choose, any hand total greater than 9 automatically has the tens digit removed. Your goal is to score as close to 8 or 9 as possible on the Player hand or the Banker hand – it's your call.

7. Believe it or not, luck has a much bigger part to play in your winning and losing streaks in Baccarat. If momentum is on your side, go with it. You may find that your luck only lasts a short while in Baccarat, and that's fine. Some pros recommend playing for short sessions and then moving over to the Video Poker games, slots, Blackjack games, or Roulette tables. By minimizing your time at the Baccarat tables, you are also preserving your bankroll while enjoying the overall milieu of the casino experience.

8. As with Blackjack, you are always better positioned if the house uses less than the standard 8 decks of cards. Try finding Baccarat tables that use 4/6 decks of cards. You may even be able to put your card counting skills to the test in these games, helping to boost your edge ever so slightly.

9. Online Baccarat offers players a distinct advantage that is noticeably absent at traditional bricks and mortar casinos: matching bonuses. As a new player at a reputable online casino, you can qualify for a generous match deposit bonus, a no deposit bonus, or a multi-deposit bonus offer. Use this bonus cash wisely to enjoy ‘Free’ Baccarat online for real money.

10. Bet on Banker bets for as long as possible – at least until the Banker loses. If you're on a lucky streak, run with it. After a Banker loss, wait one decision before betting again.

11. Bet on Player bets for as long as possible – at least until the player loses. If you’re on a lucky streak, go with it. However, don't wait one decision before betting again – simply bet directly on the Banker hand after the Player hand loses.

About the Author
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With digital marketing strategies in his blood, Louis Wheeler has traveled around the world, exploring gambling cultures and gaining experience in casino games from 2003. If you are in a casino anywhere around the planet, you may find him right next to you, playing blackjack, roulette or texas hold'em.