The best strategy when you play baccarat is clear. A small bet on the banker hand always produces the best return. This means that any other bet, including side bets, are a bad idea.
This makes baccarat boring to play. I can’t help make the game more exciting, but I can give you a few other things to consider when you play.
Here’s a list of six ways you can play baccarat that give you a better chance to win. You’re still going to have a hard time beating the game, but you need to do everything you can to boost your return.
1 – Commission and the Best Wager
When you play real money baccarat there are three wager options, unless the game also offers a side bet. Only one of the available options can be the best, and that option is the banker bet. This means the best strategy when you play baccarat is simple. Just make the banker bet and ignore everything else.
The banker bet can be a little bit confusing though because the casino collects a commission on these bets when you win. The commission is a standard 5%, but occasionally, you can find a special deal where the casino offers a reduced commission.
The first thing you need to know is that if you can play with a lower commission, then you need to take advantage of it. This makes the return you get higher overall, and it makes baccarat one of the best games the casino offers.
Don’t let the fact that the banker bet has a commission confuse you. It’s still the best option even with the commission factored in. A 5% commission is $1 on a $20 wager or $5 on a $100 wager. I usually bet $20 on each hand when I play in a land-based casino, so I get a stack of $1 chips and slide one out after every win. This way, the dealer can give me $20 and not have to worry about making change.
2 – Don’t Be Tempted by Speed and Big Bets
Baccarat has always been a big bet game. Many baccarat tables were hid in high roller rooms in the old days. Now there are many casinos that offer mini baccarat on smaller tables with smaller bet limits. These tables are found with the other table games like blackjack.
It’s tempting to bet big when you play baccarat. But every time you risk a higher amount than the table minimum, you’re just creating a situation where you’re going to lose more money in the long run. Try to find baccarat tables with low bet limits and make the smallest wager that you can. This is true whether you play baccarat in mobile, online, or land-based casinos. This limits your losses overall.
Speaking of mobile and online baccarat, the table limits are usually smaller than in land-based casinos. But the games also play much faster than baccarat plays in land-based casinos.
If you play baccarat too fast, you end up betting more overall. This has the same outcome as when you make bets that are too large. You just end up risking more and losing more overall.
3 – Baccarat Compensation Facts
When you play in a land-based casino, you need to see if they offer a compensation program. Ask about the players club or rewards club and sign up for a membership. This club gives you some form of compensation for your baccarat play.
The number of comps you earn for playing baccarat isn’t a big amount, but it still pushes up the return you get a little bit. Baccarat has a high return in comparison to many casino games, getting you close to 99%. With a good compensation program, this can push your return over 99%.
The Fact Is:
You’re lucky to get .2% of your play returned in comps. Some casino compensation schemes only pay back somewhere around .1%. And it’s not like these numbers are public knowledge.
The truth is that only the casino knows how they calculate compensation percentages. All you can do is ask what they are, accept the fact that most casinos aren’t going to tell you, and accept whatever you can get.
I try to track how much I get in compensation to compare it with how much I bet to get an idea of the percentage they give. If you find a casino that gives more compensation, you should play there more often.
4 – Doubling Down Issues
I’ve experimented with just about every gambling system known to man. I’ve learned what everybody else knows about gambling systems: They don’t work in the long run. Some of them appear to work, but if you keep using them, you lose.
The most popular gambling system is what I call the “double-up” method. You make a bet and if you lose, you double your bet.
This works great until you lose several hands in a row. This betting system works best when you’re making wagers that pay 1 to 1, so baccarat players sometimes use it. The only bet that pays 1 to 1 at the baccarat table is the player hand.
This isn’t a terrible wager option, but it’s not as good as the banker. You can use the banker hand to double up, but you have to bet a little more than double because of the commission.
I don’t recommend using this system when you play baccarat. It can help you win for a little while, but eventually, you’re going to lose just as much as you lose making flat bets. In fact, it might make you lose more overall.
5 – The Baccarat Bonus Problem
I don’t remember the last time I played online or mobile baccarat without using a bonus. Baccarat bonuses are plentiful and easy to find, so you never have to play without one.
Here’s the problem with baccarat bonuses: They don’t actually help you play winning baccarat. They do help you play with a bigger baccarat bankroll so you can play longer. And if your goal is to play baccarat for as long as you can, online and mobile play with a bonus is perfect.
You Can Start With a Bigger Bankroll
And if you make the table minimum bets, you can play more hands than when you play in a land-based casino. But none of this actually changes how much you win.
If the casinos just gave you the bonus money without any clearing requirements, the bonuses could help you win. But this isn’t how online and mobile baccarat bonuses work. They all have requirements you have to satisfy before you can clear the bonus.
You can spend some time looking for baccarat bonuses that have low clearing requirements, but I stopped wasting my time doing this a long time ago. Now, I simply accept that baccarat bonuses give me a bigger bankroll and let me play longer but aren’t good for anything else.
6 – Tracking Past Results
Some baccarat gamblers keep track of past hands to try to predict future results. These gamblers believe that they can get a better return using this method.
The problem is that baccarat games usually use an eight-deck shoe. This means that there are too many cards that can be dealt to use past results to predict future hands. You can’t get enough information even if you track every single card that’s been played to influence your return.
A few expert blackjack card counters have tested counting cards in baccarat. What they found is that they have to count every card until there are only a few cards left in the shoe to get an advantage. And at this point, they can’t bet enough to use the advantage to win.
This small advantage is completely eliminated when the casino doesn’t deal through the entire shoe. The consensus is that it’s just not worth the effort to track past hands or cards because it’s not going to help you win.
When you play baccarat, the best bet option is the banker wager. But this bet charges a commission. The commission can be confusing for new players, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is still the only bet you should make.
Don’t fall for the temptation to make big bets or play too fast. Bigger bets lead to bigger losses. And when you play mobile or online baccarat, you have to avoid the temptation to play too fast.
Tracking past results and systems that require doubling your bets don’t work in the long run. And online and mobile baccarat bonuses don’t help much either. The smart play is sticking with the banker.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …