Smart Baccarat Strategy

The right strategy in many casinos games can be the key to whether you win or lose.  This is particularly true in games such as blackjack, in which you need to have a set of rules to follow in order to be successful.  When you understand the basic strategy of blackjack, you can significantly reduce the house's edge.

For a game like baccarat, however, you need a certain amount of luck.  Baccarat doesn't provide the player with as many options as a game like blackjack does and the rules in the game are automatic, with the dealer making the necessary decisions for you, such as whether or not a third card can be drawn.  Because of this, baccarat requires a different type of strategy and you certainly cannot employ card counting because so many decks are used in this game. 

If you are looking to establish a baccarat strategy for yourself, there are a few considerations to make while you're playing.

Choosing a Baccarat Table
 When you know the odds of the house, this can help you choose the best baccarat game to play.  Begin by looking for the casino that offers the lowest number of decks and has the lowest commission.  The lower the commission and the fewer decks that are used in the game, you have a better chance of winning.
 The best table you can choose is the 6 deck table and with 4% commission on winning banco hands. If you're playing online, look for single deck tables. You're not likely to find single deck baccarat in a casino.

Ties – Don't Bet on Them
 When you play baccarat, there are only three bets that you can make.  You can bet the player's hand (punto) or you can bet the bank's hand (banco).  You can also bet the Standoff, which is the tie.

When you bet on the player's hand, the house as a slightly higher edge than they do when you bet on the bank's hand.  The bank's hand wins more often in the long run and the house edge on this bet is only about 1%.  The player's hand has an edge of about 1.29%.  However, the standoff or "tie hand" gives the house a 15.75%.  Therefore, obviously the best bet to make his the bank hand and even after paying the house's commission percentage, you're still better off with this bet.  

 As for the tie, the casino does pay 9 to 1, but the casino has an edge of 15%!  That's a huge advantage for the casino and it's obviously not the bet you want to make.  

 It may seem as though the game of baccarat is not very fun when there is only one good wager to make, the game does have some of the best odds in the casino, especially when you know the best hand to bet.

One form of baccarat that can be found in just about any casino is mini-baccarat.  These tables often have much lower minimums than the more traditional "baccarat pits" and are run by a single dealer, rather than three.  

Mini-baccarat is different in that the dealer handles all the cards and places them face up on the table.  The rest of the game is very similar to traditional baccarat and the dealer makes the decisions on dealing the third card if necessary. 

A similar strategy can be utilized in mini-baccarat as you can use in traditional baccarat.  You still bet on the player or bank hand and the bank hand still wins slightly more often than the player hand.  The house also charges a 5% commission on these hands because the bank hand is more likely to win.  

Money Management
Most baccarat players will agree that a major part of your strategy in baccarat needs to be your money management plan.  Because the game is very much based on luck, it doesn't take long to lose.  The Paroli System is a popular money management system for use in baccarat.
This system is very simple.  Increase your bet when you're winning and decrease it when you're losing.  However, you need to plan for how high you are willing to bet and how much you will raise after you win.

Before you even sit down to play, you need to make a decision on how much you are going to bet.  Many players sit down willing to risk far more than they can afford to lose, so you don't want to do this, as it is a great way to go home broke.  But, if you follow a few money management rules, you can increase your chances of walking away with money (and hopefully more than you sat down with):
Before you sit down at the table, decide how much you are going to lose.
Divide your money up and watch how much you will bet at each round.
One of the best ways to walk away with money is to "pocket" a certain percentage of your winnings when you win.  Or, pocket all of it.

   For instance, let's say you have $500 to bet.  Incidentally, because you are willing to bet it, you're also willing to lose it.  Start the game out betting the minimum, $25 for example.  Put any winnings aside and at the end of the 25th round, you will have played $500 even.  This is exactly how much you already intended to spend, so anything above that are winnings.

   This is a simple strategy to use and will give you a chance to play the game longer without going broke or needing to hit the ATM or use more cash that you originally intended.  

Remember, when you're gambling anytime you walk away with money in your pocket, even if it is $20, you're still a winner!  Luck of the draw plays a major factor in gambling, so be careful and disciplined.       Try not to allow your emotions to get the better of you while you are gambling, especially on a game like baccarat because the game is based so much on luck of the draw.

The largest bet on punto receives two cards that are also face down.  The punto player can then look at the cards and give them back to the dealer.  The dealer then turns the cards over while another casino dealer announces winner and results of the hand.

If the banco or punto hand has a total of eight or night, this hand is a "natural."  No more cards are dealt after this.  However, if it is not a natural, then the casino dealer will instruct the card dealer to deal a third card, depending on the value of each hand.  When to deal the third card is set based on the set of rules for third card dealing for both the player and the bank.

When dealing has ended, the hand with the highest hand count is the winner.  The casino dealers then pay winning bets and collect losing bets.  The player dealer is not responsible for handling payouts, as he is still playing against the casino.

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