Another game in a casino that gives the player a near-to-even chance of winning is baccarat. This simple game has only three betting options, and one of them has a huge 14.4% house edge and should be avoided at all costs. The other two bets are nearly even money, with a small house edge of less than 1.5%.
Baccarat pits the player against the bank, and before each hand you must decide whether the player or the bank will win the hand. If you pick the right one, your bet will be paid 1:1. Betting on the player is a straight 1:1 payout, but if you bet on the bank and win you have to pay a 5% commission on your winnings.
The commission exists so that players don’t take advantage of the fact that the bank has a higher probability of winning (50.68%).
The bet to stay away from on the baccarat table is the tie bet. It pays 8 to 1 on your wager, but the probability of hitting the tie bet is only 9.5%. That gives the house a huge 14.4% edge over you because the payout is a smaller ratio than the probability of the tie occurring.
Betting on the player to win will pay 1 to 1 on your money and will occur 48.15% of the time. That’s a lot better than a tie bet, but even with the 5% commission you have to pay on a banker win, a player bet is still not as good as betting on the bank. Many players will only bet on the bank when they play baccarat. It may not be the most interesting way to play, but mathematically it provides the best odds to get ahead in the game.
When it comes to knowing your baccarat odds one important thing to consider is how many decks are in the shoe in the game that you’re playing. Baccarat games can be found using one deck, six decks, and eight decks. The house edge is different depending on the game;
House Edge with an 8-Deck Shoe
- Banker Bet – 1.06%
- Player Bet – 1.24%
- Tie Bet – 14.36%
House Edge with a 6-Deck Shoe
- Banker Bet – 1.06%
- Player Bet – 1.24%
- Tie Bet – 14.44%
House Edge with a 1-Deck Shoe
- Banker Bet – 1.01%
- Player Bet – 1.29%
- Tie Bet – 15.75%
There are also liberal rules baccarat games offered by some casinos both land-based and online. The baccarat odds in these games are better because the casino adjusts the commission paid on a wining banker bet. The amount that the casinos will diminish the commission price can vary from 1% to the entire 5%, and often liberal baccarat games are only offered for a limited time and in high roller rooms.
The odds on a liberal game will change the house edge in favor of you, and like the regular game the baccarat odds depend on how many decks are in the shoe. Some casinos will also pay 9-1 on the tie bet, greatly reducing the size of the house edge for that bet. In an eight-deck game at 9-1 the house will only hold a 4.84% edge, six decks is 4.93%, and in a one-deck game 6.38%.
There is a common gambler’s fallacy with the game of baccarat that many players believe. Following trends of hands is something that one can see at most live baccarat games as players try to find trends in the hand results as they switch from banker to player. Pencils and paper are even provided for players to track hand results, but it’s all a waste of your time as the results of one hand are in no way dependent on the results of any other.
Once a game played strictly by high rollers in secret back rooms of the casino, the game of baccarat has evolved over the years to become popular with players of all size bankrolls. The introduction of mini baccarat made the game affordable for anyone to play and its popularity in casinos has steadily grown since.
The game is simple to play and bankroll management for baccarat should be just as simple. Players need only set limits for the amount they are willing to lose in a particular session and on an amount of winnings that will be enough for them to take themselves out of the game and count their winnings for a particular session.
Baccarat is a lot like the game of blackjack in that deciding to get out of the game at the right time is one of the most important decisions you can make. All betting games have a win/loss variance, and if can get out of the game when you’re up, instead of down, it will make all the difference.