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Baccarat Strategies

The game of baccarat is largely a game of luck. That is a fact that must be accepted. Nevertheless, those who understand the rules, the odds, and the probabilities of the baccarat game are able to devise baccarat strategies that help the luck go their way. So here are a few good strategies to win at baccarat.

Don't Be Intimidated by the Baccarat Game

Playing a game of baccarat is not like having dinner with the queen. Baccarat is nothing more than a good, simple, fun card game. In the online casino, there are no velvet ropes around the baccarat table and no snooty aristocrats trying to make you feel small. So you can just be yourself and enjoy playing this wonderful online casino game without feeling any pressure, stress, or intimidation.

Understand the Baccarat Rules

To devise a viable baccarat strategy, it is crucial that you thoroughly understand the baccarat rules. The most important baccarat rules are:
  • You may bet on the Player's hand, the Banker's hand, or a Tie. You win at baccarat if your bet correctly matches the outcome of the hand.

  • The Player and the Banker are each dealt two cards initially and then, sometimes, one or both of them is dealt a third card.

  • Neither the Player nor the Banker has any say in whether he wants a third card. The decision is made for them according to strict baccarat rules. If you play baccarat online, the casino software will automatically deal a third card to the Player and/or the Banker when the rules call for it.

  • Tens and face cards count as zero, aces count as one, and all other cards count as their face values.

  • When adding up the values of the cards in a baccarat hand, only the final digit of the total counts. 17 counts as 7, and 25 counts as 5.

  • The hand that comes closest to a total of 9 wins.

Betting on the Banker or the Player

A baccarat bet on the Banker or on the Player each has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of betting on the Banker is that, statistically, the Banker's hand wins slightly more than the Player's hand wins. How could this be, you might ask, if the cards are dealt randomly? The answer is in the rules concerning the third card.

The rules governing whether the Player or the Banker receives a third card are very complicated. Suffice it to say that the rule governing a third card for the banker is different from the rule governing a third card for the Player; and that the rule governing a third card for the Banker involves a complex formula that factors in the Banker's initial cards, whether or not the Player has received a third card, and, if so, what that third card is. The result of all this is that the Banker is given a statistical advantage so that, over the long run, the Banker is likely to win more hands than the Player wins.

On the other hand, the advantage of betting on the player is that, if you win, you get to keep all of your winnings. If you bet $10 on the Player and you win, you get your bet back plus an additional $10. If you bet on the Banker and you win, you have to pay a 5 percent commission on your winnings to the house, which means you get your bet back plus only $9.50 additional. So a winning bet on the Player puts more money in your pocket than does a winning bet on the Banker.

So there you have it. Betting on the Banker means you will probably win at baccarat a little more often. Betting on the Player means you get your full payout with no commission deducted. All in all, the advantages and disadvantages of the two bets pretty much cancel each other out, although the statisticians say there is still a tiny overall advantage to betting on the Banker. This may or may not affect your personal online baccarat strategy, but it at least means that you understand what you are doing and why.

Betting on a Tie

Betting on a Tie also has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is the big payout: 8 to 1. If you bet $10 on a tie, and the hand is indeed a tie, you will get back your original $10 plus an additional $80.

The disadvantage of the Tie bet is that, statistically speaking, fewer than 10 percent of baccarat hands are likely to result in a tie. Over the course of a hundred hands, the probability is that you will lose ninety of them, for a loss of $900, and win ten, for winnings of $800. So in the end, you would be down $100 for the day.

Of course, what holds true for millions of gamblers over the long run might not hold true for you individually over the short run. There are individuals who bet on the Tie and get lucky and win that sweet 8-to-1 payout more often than the statisticians expect them to. It's just like betting on those long shots at the race track. It is not a recommended way to invest for your retirement, but there are days when luck is with you and you do hit the big jackpots.

So that's it for the Tie bet. You are statistically likely to lose more than you win, but when you get lucky you can win a big 8-to-1 payout. Knowing these advantages and disadvantages can help you plan your online baccarat betting strategy accordingly.

A Baccarat Strategy to Avoid

Some baccarat players like to keep track of the outcome of every hand, in the belief that they can spot trends in favor of the Player or the Banker and thus predict the outcome of future hands. This is known as "pattern spotting." The land-based casinos actually encourage this by providing scorecards and pencils at the baccarat table. They do so because they know that pattern spotting is not a winning baccarat strategy. The deal of the cards in the past has no effect on the deal of the cards in the future. Charting past trends will not help you win at baccarat online or on land. Don't waste your time on it.

A Final Word on Baccarat Strategy

Baccarat is a game of luck — there is no doubt about it — but that does not mean that you cannot employ a strategy in the game to maximize your luck. Whether you have eight decks or one deck, whether you are playing one-on-one or in multi-play, or whether you are placing high-rolling bets or small mini-baccarat bets, the most important thing about your baccarat strategy is to keep a cool head, understand what you are doing and why you are doing it, and enjoy your online baccarat game. That way you are bound to get something out of the game and hopefully win at baccarat more than you lose.

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