Baccarat has long been a casino game for the elite. It’s played in high-roller pits and is only open to the highest-stakes players – the kind that once challenged a casino to a $12 million freeze-out, forcing them to play Baccarat for 12 days at $200,000 a pop, or lose all the money. Baccarat is a simple game of chance and luck, but it is possible to master the rules and use patterns to increase your odds of winning.
The basic game of baccarat is straightforward: Two cards are dealt to the Bank hand and one to the Player hand, with the winner being whoever has a total closest to nine. The cards are dealt from a six- or eight-deck shoe, with the number values of all 10-count cards (tens, jacks, queens, and kings) equaling zero, while aces count as one.
It’s not surprising that baccarat is popular with high rollers: the game doesn’t require any skill, but it does have an aura of elegance and wealth associated with it. In popular culture, the game has conjured images of James Bond in Nassau or well-heeled gamblers frolicking in Havana on the eve of Fulgencio Batista’s ouster.
Baccarat is also an ideal casino game for players on a budget, as it doesn’t have the same hold percentages as many other games. In fact, if you don’t bet on the tie (which pays off 8 to 1 but has a much higher house edge than betting on either the banker or player), the game has one of the lowest hold percentages in the industry.
Most serious baccarat players avoid the tie bet altogether, opting instead to place a bet on ‘Banker’ or ‘Player’. A ‘Banker’ bet means you predict that the banker will have a value closer to nine, while a ‘Player’ bet suggests that the player’s hand will have a better value.
While there are many strategies to improve your chances of winning baccarat, the most important is to set a fixed amount that you’re willing to spend before playing. This will help you avoid getting carried away and will allow you to walk away a winner more often than not.
Another strategy to consider is the Labouchere System. This is a variation on the Martingale system, but instead of doubling your bet after every loss, you add the amount of your previous bet to the end of your sequence. For example, if your first sequence was 1, 2, 3, your next bet would be $4, calculated by adding the first and last numbers of your sequence. While this strategy has some anecdotal support, we recommend that you only try it once you’re more familiar with the game.