There are very few games on the casino floor that are going to offer you a better gamble than baccarat. Baccarat has one of the lowest house advantages of any game, as it holds just over 1%, making the game very attractive to everyone from high-limit whales to casual players trying the game for the first time.
If you are new to the game and are looking for a way to get in on the action, you are in luck, as we here at TheSportsGeek have got you covered!
In this article, we are going to tell you a little bit about what baccarat is, explain how baccarat skill comes into play, and then wrap things up by telling you how to become a better baccarat player by providing our top baccarat skill tips! Let’s get started by giving you a quick crash course on how to play baccarat!
What Is Baccarat? And How Do You Play It?
Baccarat is a house-banked casino table game that is popular all around the world. While many causal players focus on games like blackjack, roulette, slots, or craps, baccarat is a favorite amongst the biggest gamblers on the planet, as the game has a very low house advantage.
While the game might look a bit complicated from afar, it is actually one of the simplest games that you are ever going to play.
After deciding where you want to place your bets, there aren’t any further player-driven decisions when playing baccarat, which means that you basically just sit back and watch.
Unlike blackjack, where players have to memorize basic strategy to have any realistic shot at winning long term, when you are playing baccarat, there isn’t any way to play the game poorly, which keeps the house advantage very low and gives even the most inexperienced players a chance to win.
How Is Baccarat Played?
Every hand of baccarat starts with the gamblers choosing whether or not to bet on the player hand or the banker hand. Think of this kind of like a coin flip, as you can bet on either side, and both hands have a very similar chance of winning. Once all wagers are placed, the dealer will deal two cards each to both the player and banker hands.
There are somewhat complicated rule sets on when additional cards are drawn, but these are based on strict house rules, not on player decisions, so there really isn’t much need for you to understand when and why additional cards are dealt. Just let the dealer handle all of that as you follow the action and see if your bet is a winner.
The object of the game is to bet on which hand will end up being closer to 9 after all cards are drawn. When you are counting points in baccarat, numbered cards count as their face value and face cards count as zero. If the total number of the cards is higher than a 9, the 1 drops off, and the second number is the total.
For example, if the player hand is dealt a 3 and a 5, they will have a total of 8. If the banker is dealt an 8 and a 9, they have 17, the 1 drops off, and the score is counted as a 7. As the 8 is closer to 9 than the 7, all bets on the player will win.
As previously mentioned, there are some draws involved as well, but no matter how the draw cards are dealt, the scoring system remains the same.
That is basically baccarat in a nutshell. There are some additional bets on the layout, like a bet on the hands tying, and occasionally some other side bets, but the core of the game is picking between the player hand and banker hand on which will end the hand closer to 9. Make your bet and then watch to see if you have a winner!
Is There Any Skill In Baccarat?
Now that we have fully explained how baccarat works, you may be asking yourself, is there any skill in baccarat? On the surface, the easy answer would be no, as the player doesn’t get to choose whether or not to draw an additional card like in blackjack, or how to set their hand like in Pai Gow.
But just because the player doesn’t control the cards like in other casino table games doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to play the game better and make more money.
To me, being a skillful gambler means a lot of things, and the decisions you make at the table are just part of that equation. The most skillful gamblers in the world are the ones that win the most money, so in my opinion, anything that helps you win more money while gambling is a skill.
So, if you have ever wondered, is there any skill in baccarat?
The answer is, absolutely! Now that you know that baccarat skill is real, we are going to dive into TheSportsGeek’s top tips on how to become a better baccarat player!
How To Become A Better Baccarat Player
Want to win more at the baccarat table? Then check out TSG’s top tips on how to become a better baccarat player. When it comes to beating the casino, knowledge is power, so make sure that you follow these tips if you want to get paid during your next baccarat session.
Stick To Betting The Banker
I know we just talked about how picking between the player and the banker is basically a coin flip, but that isn’t totally true, as one of the choices does stand out as the slightly better bet. A bet on the player hand is going to hold right around 1.24%, making it amongst the best bets in the casino. But a bet on the banker hand is even better, as it holds only 1.06%!
Why The Bank Is Better
The reason that the banker hand is a better statistical wager when compared to the player hand is based on the fact that the player hand draws first and the specific drawing rules of the game. In fact, the drawing rules are so much better for the banker hand, that the casino actually charges you a 5% commission on all winning bets on the banker.
Even with the commission added into things, a play on the banker is still the better bet in terms of the house advantage.
Now, that statistical difference isn’t a major one, and you are going to be hard pressed to ever notice a difference in your short-term results by playing the banker hand instead of the player hand. But, at the end of the day, why wouldn’t you choose the mathematically better bet?
If I told you that heads came up just slightly more than tails in a coin flip bet, you would NEVER take tails, right?
That same concept plays out here as the banker is the better bet and even though you likely won’t ever play enough hands for the math to catch up, you are always going to be betting on the side with the math, rather than betting against it, so make your plays on the banker!
Never Bet The Tie
If the player hand gets hot when you are playing baccarat and you decide you want to switch sides, that isn’t a mortal sin, as the player bet is still a very reasonable play when compared to games like craps, roulette, or slots. Banker or player, you can’t ever go too wrong when playing baccarat.
But one bet that you never want to make, is the bet on the tie!
The tie bet is technically a side bet, but every bac table you are ever going to play will feature it, so it does need to be addressed. Even though you are going to be able to find a tie bet option just about everywhere, it isn’t a bet that you are ever going to want to make.
Unlike the banker and player bets, that hold just over 1%, the tie bet holds over 14%! That makes it one of the highest hold bets you are ever going to find on a table game. That makes the tie bet one should never be played.
I know that it might look like an attractive bet, as it pays out 8-1 when it hits, but when you see that the true odds of the tie happening are closer to 10-1, you know that the tie isn’t a play you are going to want to make.
Baccarat isn’t an overly exciting game, but what the game lacks in excitement, it more than makes up for with low house hold, and if you value your money, you will stay away from the tie bet at all costs.
Always Get A Player’s Card
As a former casino operator, I will tell you that casinos love data. They want to know everything about their players.
So they can make informed decisions about game offerings, limits, and even comps.
Getting the right players into the casino, playing the right games, is how the casino makes its money, and they can’t do any of that without data.
The way that the casinos gather this data, is by tracking your play using players club cards. These cards are free and easy to get, and while the casino uses them to track your every move, they compensate you handsomely to entice you to sign up. Free play, comped dinners, show tickets, food, and even cash back are ways that the casino rewards you for using your player’s card.
Not having a card is just giving away free money! Any time that you are giving the casino your action, you are going to want to get all of the credit for your play.
Some people out there might push back on this tip and say why would getting a player’s card be considered a baccarat skill?
Well, when you play baccarat and at the end of your play, the casino hands you cash back for your action, that can only increase your win rate. And as we already talked about, being a skillful gambler is all about winning money and I can’t think of a better way to do just that than by taking full advantage of casino freebies and giveaways!
Don’t Fall In Love With The Reader Board
For new players, it can be easy to fall in love with the baccarat reader board.
A bac reader board can be a mystery to new players, as it is full of Chinese symbols and isn’t all that intuitive when it comes to understanding what the board is trying to tell you. But once players start to understand how to read the board, they can quickly fall into a trap known as the gambler’s fallacy.
What Is The Gambler’s Fallacy?
The gambler’s fallacy is that past outcomes will help predict future outcomes. If you have ever played roulette and watched the ball landed on black 10 times in a row and have thought to yourself that red is “due” you have fallen for the gambler’s fallacy.
Past outcomes don’t predict future outcomes and spending any time and effort tracking the past to try and better predict the future can only cost you money when playing baccarat.
Our brains love to pick up on patterns, even ones that aren’t real, so ignoring the reader board can be tough at times, but the casino tracks those hands to try and trick you into making bad bets, don’t fall for it!
Baccarat attracts some of the most superstitious players in the casino, so don’t be surprised if you see players tracking the hands on their own or studying the board like the gospel. But don’t get sucked into that, as you want to stick to what you know, not what the board is pretending to tell you.
Use A Betting System
There are too many betting systems out there to name them all. But baccarat is a game where using a betting system can dramatically increase your win rate.
Whether you are using a negative progression system, a positive progression system, or some hybrid in between, finding a good betting strategy, and sticking to it, can make a big difference.
For those of you out there that have never used a betting system, depending on which system you are using, they can either help you make more money when you are winning, or lose less money when you are losing, which will help tip the scales in your advantage when playing baccarat!
My personal favorite betting system? The Martingale.
The Martingale is a progressive betting system that has been around for hundreds of years and has helped players beat the casinos for generations. Find a system that you like, stick to it, and watch as your wins get bigger, and your losses get smaller!
Are you ready to get in on the baccarat action and try out all of these new baccarat skill tips? You should give online baccarat a shot, as the online version of the game offers all of the same action and excitement as the brick-and-mortar version, and you get to play from the comfort of your own home!
Make sure that before you log in, you swing by TheSportsGeek’s baccarat sites page, where we bring our readers exclusive offers at all of the top online casinos.
One of our best baccarat skill tips we just gave you was about making sure that you take advantage of all of the casino freebies, and those comps and giveaways are going to be supercharged when you sign up through TheSportsGeek! Thanks for reading and good luck playing baccarat!
PLACE YOUR BETS NOW!