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Mastering Baccarat

Picture the scene; You walk into a Paris casino, and James Bond sitting at the Baccarat table. Do you have the guts to sit down next to him? Can you compete with this legendary Baccarat player?Don’t let his movies fool you –it is youwho can be the real master of the Baccarat table if you take the time to learn just a handful of simple tips and tricks for mastering this casino classic.

Please note, we will be discussing tips and tricks relating to Punto Banco here, as this is the most popular form of Baccarat played in casinos all around the world today–that includes land-based casinos in Las Vegas and Macau, as well as every Online Casino PA, all legal online casinos in other US states, and those in Europe as well.

Let’s be honest; If you have the funds to be playing any other form of Baccarat,you will already be familiar with everything we discuss here! Mini Baccarat, Baccarat Banque, and Chemin de Fer are all reserved for the highest limit rooms in land-based venues, and simply do not exist in the online casino world.

Always Bet on the Banker

In Baccarat, two sets of cards are dealt – the player hand, and the banker hand. Neither hand is associated with either you or the dealer, and you can also bet on a tie. There’s a complex set of rules which determine when each hand receives additional cards, but the bottom line is that, just like in Blackjack, the banker hand gets its advantage from the fact that the player hand acts first; if the player hand does not draw an extra card, the banker is forced to stand pat.

Think of it this way; the banker can see both the player and banker cards, and if he is losing, he automatically takes another card. This extra card may help him win or it may not, but this one rule means that the banker bet is so much better than the player bet that a 5% commission has to be charged on all banker wins in order to make sure the casino does not lose money when players bet on the banker.

A Sneaky Technique

Poor dealers are the bane of every land-based casinos, but the problem is exacerbated dramatically if a casino finds themselves employing a poor dealer to control an online live dealer game. Care must be taken not to flash the next card to be dealt before closing bets, and whilst this can sound almost ridiculous, it happens far more often than you might think.

Using a standard eight-deck Punto Banco Shoe, just one single flashed card alters the odds of the next round so dramatically that the regular house edge of just 1.06% is transformed into a player edge of up to 5%! What’s more if the dealer is flashing cards, you are not cheating – you are not obtaining information that other players do not have, using any devices, or using any other techniques that could be classed as cheating by the casino. I

That being said, don’t expect to be popular the next time you visit the casino if security playback reveals you took advantage of dealer errors on multiple occasions.

Counting Cards

Many people believe that card counting is a Blackjack-only technique, but this is not true – the same Hi-Lo system can be used in Baccarat, albeit in a different way. We’d need an entire book to discuss all the ins and outs of card-counting in Baccarat, but here is a quick overview of how counting can affect the outcome of Baccarat.

We said earlier that you should always bet on the banker, but if you are counting and the running count is -4 or less, it actually makes sense to bet on the player instead. This is because in this situation, the normal house edge for the player bet of 1.24% is reduced to 1.06%, whilst the banker bet increases above it’s regular 1.06% level. Additionally, you can also lower your house edge by skipping hands (not betting) when the running count is at certain “danger” levels. This table demonstrates the value of doing this:

“Danger” Count(s) Skipped Number of Hands Played Resulting House Edge
None 100.00% 1.06%
-4 95.12% 1.01%
-5 to -3 85.37% 0.99%
-6 to -2 75.66% 0.98%
-7 to -1 66.11% 0.96%
-8 to 0 55.69% 0.95%
-9 to +1 47.13% 0.93%


As you can see, if you are able to keep track of the running count, and sit out at the right times, you can reduce the house edge in Baccarat right down to 0.93%. Note that you’ll need to do some further research to establish which bet you should be placing (Banker of Player) in order to obtain each of the house edges shown above, but it can definitely be worth taking the time to learn!

A player advantage of 0.07% is enough for a very profitable night at the casino. Just be careful not to do this

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