How to Improve Your Chances of Winning at Baccarat

How to Improve Your Chances of Winning at Baccarat


For many casino-goers, baccarat is a mysterious game. It has long been a favorite of Asian high rollers, but has recently made its way to American casinos as well. Bill Zender, a former Nevada Gaming Control agent and longtime casino executive who literally wrote the book on managing casino games, says that over the past two decades, high rollers have made baccarat their game of choice for a variety of reasons, including its cultural affinities. He also notes that baccarat has one of the lowest hold percentages in casino games, with an average house edge of just 1.2 percent on banker and player bets.

Despite its exotic name, baccarat is really a simple game that anyone can play. There are only three possible outcomes to a hand: a player win, a banker win, or a tie. Players simply place their chips on a designated area of the table, choosing whether to bet on a player, banker, or tie. The dealer does the rest. Once all the bets are placed, the cards are dealt from a shoe, and whichever hand comes closest to nine wins. There are a few rules that determine when the third card is dealt, and there are even some variations on how to deal the cards, but the basic principle remains the same.

In a typical game, the player and banker hands are dealt from the same deck of cards, with the exception of the ace which equals one. All other cards equal their face value. The game is usually played with a six or eight-deck shoe, and there are some nuances to dealing cards, which will affect the outcome of the hand.

There are some advanced strategies that can be used to improve your chances of winning at baccarat, but they tend to involve complicated math and more time and money than most casino players are willing to spend. One strategy, known as edge sorting, involves using a special trick with the cards to predict which ones are high and which are low. Poker player Phil Ivey once employed this technique and won a fortune, but the casinos accused him of cheating and he was barred from playing baccarat again.

However, there are some simple things you can do to improve your chances of winning at baccarat, and the best bet to make is the banker bet, which has the lowest house edge of any bet in the game. You should avoid the player bet if you can, and never take the tie bet. The only other thing you need to do is to stick to the basic strategy and you’ll be doing just fine at the tables. In addition, remember that Baccarat is a game of chance, so your luck will fluctuate. But you’ll have a much better chance of winning than at roulette or the slots, which have some of the highest house edges in any casino.