Baccarat is the most distinguished card game, enjoyed by high rollers, both online and in casinos. Baccarat was James Bond’s favorite game, and it has three probable outcomes: the banker wins, the player wins, or it’s a tie.
Here are a few smart strategies to increase your odds of winning—and also boost your bankroll.
Decide How Much to Wager
In baccarat, lots of money can change hands in a short time. So be prudent. Decide ahead of time how much you’re prepared to wager, win or lose. With the right strategy, you can get out while you’re still winning. Remember, no strategy can extend your winning streak indefinitely.
In online baccarat in particular—and in online games in general, it’s usually a good idea to play in shorter sessions. At real-life tables, betting minimums will most likely be imposed, but online, you can bet as little as $1. So it doesn’t take a huge bankroll online, as it does inside the casinos.
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Understand the Odds
Just like in a coin toss, in online baccarat you’re essentially betting blind—putting your money either on the player hand or the banker hand, even before the cards are dealt. This adds unpredictability and reduces your ability to use strategy to influence the cards. But the odds only slightly favor the house in an eight-deck shoe: 1.24% on the player’s bet, and 1.06% on the banker’s bet.
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Track Your Wins
To increase your odds of winning, it’s important to keep a track of your wins on specific hands. The game is played over several hands, so devising a betting strategy, switching between patterns and changing your own pattern will help you win overall.
Use a scorecard to mark whether you bet player or banker, and keep highlighting your correct calls. Once you see the pattern emerge, keep at it as long as it favors you. When the game starts swinging away from the pattern, adjust your strategy to place the bets differently and switch to the new pattern.
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Never Interrupt A Run
Seasoned players develop an instinct for placing successful bets in baccarat. In particular, for online baccarat the conventional approach says you should never break a run. For example, if you’re betting banker and the banker keeps winning, stick with it, and don’t suddenly start betting player. Avoid making hasty or random switches away from the pattern. Follow the game’s flow, and stay with it.
Also, remember to “follow the shoe,” meaning you bet the winner of the last hand. That insures that you’ll never miss a run.
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Most Predictable Strategy: Wager on the Banker
Betting with the banker is a time-tested winning strategy for both online and land-based baccarat. It involves pure arithmetic. Since the house edge is 1.06% on the banker’s bet, it effectively means that the return-to-player (RTP) percentage in this bet is as high as 98.94% (100 minus 1.06).
In simple words, if you place 10 banker’s bets of $10 each (total $100), you can theoretically expect to get back $98.94. By comparison, the RTP in bets on the player hand is 98.76% (100 minus 1.24). Clearly, the player hand bets are likely to lose more frequently.
To account for this gap, all winning banker’s wagers have a 5% commission imposed on them. But even after this adjustment, the mathematical advantage still lies with the banker’s hand. However, the difference between the two bets isn’t very substantial, so don’t ignore the patterns of your game to improve your winning odds.
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Avoid the Tie Bet (Unless You’re a Serious High Roller)
When betting on a tie, the theoretical RTP is as low as 85.64%. That means the house edge is as high as 14.36% (100 minus 85.64). In other words, by placing tie bets worth $100, your theoretical expected loss is $14.36. Playing the odds on this bet could eat up all your money really fast.
Of course, the upside is that the payout in a tie bet is humongous: 8 to 1. (On the other hand, the banker’s bet only pays 1:1). But unless you’re a seasoned high-roller, or you can afford to lose money, it may not be smart to rely on the tie bet as your baccarat winning strategy.
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Stick to Familiar Turf
Online baccarat platforms are more experimental than in traditional casinos. You may encounter several variants of baccarat when you play online: Baccarat Squeeze, Speed Baccarat, Live Dragon Tiger, or No-Commission Baccarat. It may be best to stick with the game you’re good at. If you want to try a new variant, first familiarize yourself with its rules, and start small.