Baccarat has long been seen as a game for the gambling elite. However, these days anyone can enjoy the game without needing to be a high roller. You will find regular Baccarat games and Live Dealer Baccarat games at Casino Las Vegas with table limits designed to accommodate all types of budgets. If you are new to Baccarat then read on to learn all you need to know.
The Basic Baccarat Rules
Baccarat is not a very complicated game, and it does not take very long to understand the basic rules and terminology. The aim of the game is very simple; all you have to do is build a hand that is as close to nine as possible.
There are just three bets you can place. You can bet on the Player’s Hand (that is you), the Banker’s Hand (the dealer), or a Tie. If you place a bet that matches the outcome of a round then you win.
After placing your bets, you and the Banker are dealt two cards each. There are some circumstances where you may receive a third, but we will come to that later. In Baccarat, the Face cards and Tens are all worth 0 and the other cards are worth their face value. When you add up the value of your cards you only pay attention to the final digit, for example if you have a 7 and an 8 then your hand is worth 5 not 15. At the end of a round, the hand that is closest to 9 wins.
Drawing A Third Card
The circumstances in which a third card is drawn can at first appear a little bit confusing. However, when playing online you will automatically be dealt this card if necessary, so if you do not fully understand the rules it is not the end of the world. Furthermore, the rules are not that complicated.
- If the Player or the Banker has a total of 8 or 9 then they always stand.
- If the Player has a total of 6 or 7 then they stand.
- If the Player stands, the Banker will draw a card if they have a total of 5 or less.
- If the Player has a total of 5 or less then the player draws a third card.
If the player has drawn a third card then the banker draws a third card in the following situations:
- If the Banker has a total of 0, 1 or 2.
- If the Banker has a total of 3 then they will draw if the Player’s third card was 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, or 0 (not 8).
- If the Banker has a total of 4 they will draw if the Player’s third card was 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7.
- If the Banker has a total of 5 they will draw if the Player’s third card was 4, 5, 6 or 7.
- If the Banker has a total of 6 they will draw if the Player’s third card was 6 or 7.
- If the Banker has a total of 7 they will always stand.
Some Basic Tips
There are not many betting options in Baccarat, and it basically seems like you have a 50/50 chance when you bet on the Player or Banker. However, there are actually advantages and disadvantages to each type of bet.
According to the game’s statistics, the Banker’s hand will actually win slightly more often than the Player’s hand. This is due to the rules concerning the third card. Due to the slight statistical advantage that the rules give the Banker’s hand, they will win slightly more often than the Player will.
This does not mean that you should never bet on the Player. First off, if you bet on the Player then you will keep all of your winnings as in most games of Baccarat you pay a 5% commission if you bet on the Banker and win. As a result, winning a bet on the Player produces bigger returns. This becomes important when looking at basic Baccarat strategies (which we will shortly come to).
Just as the Player and Banker bets have their own advantages and disadvantages, so does the Tie bet. The major advantage of betting on a Tie is that it offers much larger payouts. The majority of Baccarat games will payout at 8:1 for a Tie.
The major disadvantage to betting on a Tie is that statistically less than 10% of hands will result in a Tie. This means that if you bet on a Tie for one hundred hands, you are statistically likely to win just ten of them. If you were betting £20 a time it means that you would lose £1,800 and win £1,600, leaving you down £200 for the session.
However, this is not really how statistics work. You could play one hundred hands with Tie bets and win 90 of them. Therefore, as long as you are managing your bankroll sensibly, there is nothing wrong with placing the occasional Tie bet.
A Basic Baccarat Strategy
As discussed above, the Banker bet has a slight statistical advantage. Because of this, it is a good idea to start a game by betting on the Banker. If the Banker wins then you should stick with the same bet and keep placing it in subsequent rounds.
At some point the Banker will lose, at this point you may be tempted to switch to the Player bet. However, this is a bad idea. Bet on the Banker for one more round and if the Player wins that round then switch to the Player bet, otherwise stick with the Banker bet. If the round ends in a Tie then continue betting on the Banker. Furthermore, if you are successfully betting on the Banker and a Tie occurs, then ignore it and keep betting on the Banker as if nothing had happened. If you are betting on the Player and you lose a hand then you should immediately switch to the Banker bet.
As with any other casino game, the essential thing is that you manage your bankroll sensibly. If you know that you want to play 100 rounds, then be sure that you are betting an amount that you can afford to lose 100 times over, whether this is £0.10 a hand or £1,000 a hand. It is unlikely that you will lose 100 consecutive rounds, but it does not mean that you should not plan for it.
Baccarat Betting Strategy
If you start looking online, you will find that there are many advanced Baccarat strategies, some of which are better than others. The strategies try to tip the odds in your favour, but mathematically this is very hard to do. Nonetheless, once you are comfortable with the basics of the game there are some advanced strategies that you can use.
One of the more popular Baccarat strategies is known as the 1-3-2-4 strategy. It is very easy to follow and the name refers to the size of the bets you place.
You start by placing a bet of 1, if you win then you progress to the next number in the sequence (2). If you lose then you go back to the start. If you make it to the end of the sequence and win all four bets then you will have made a nice profit and you start again.
The great thing about this system is that as long as you win the first two bets (1 and 3), then you are guaranteed a profit, even if you lose the third bet. Thanks to this, you should come out of a gaming session either having won a great deal, or having lost very little.
One area of Baccarat that can often intimidate newcomers to the game is the different scoreboards that are used. The scoreboards are used to keep track of the past results so that players can try to predict future hands and use the information to spot trends and patterns that they can then incorporate into their betting strategies.
Baccarat scoreboards are often called ‘Road Maps’ and at first glance they can truly look complicated and puzzling. There are a number of different kinds, each has its own name and uses a slightly different display. They do not take long to understand, so it is worth looking through them, as you will come across them very regularly.
Here is an explanation of some of the most common Road Maps.
If you are playing Baccarat at a land casino then you will often find that the tables provide you with the standard Beat Plate scoreboard. It can also be found in a number of online versions of Baccarat. The scorecard is exactly what its name suggests, a simple grid that is filled with different coloured beads, or dots, to record the result of each hand. If the Banker wins it is marked with Red, Players wins are marked with blue, and Ties are marked with Green.
The Beat Plate is also able to record the results of the Perfect Pairs side bet (if the game that you are playing offers it). If the Player or the Banker were dealt a pair on the initial deal then a Player’s pair is marked with a small blue dot in the lower right hand corner of the grid position for that hand, while a Banker’s pair is marked with a red dot in the upper left hand corner.
Most Beat Plates have a standard layout of six rows and at least twelve columns, so they can record the results of at least sixty hands. The hands are recorded starting in the top left hand corner and will move down each column one place at a time. When the bottom of a column is reached then the record starts again at the top of the next column to the right.
The purpose of the Bead Plate is to display the results of each individual hand. The Big Road scoreboard has been designed for a slightly different purpose, to help you spot trends. It does this by emphasising consecutive wins for the two main bets (Player and Banker). The Big Road looks a bit like an inverted bar char with alternating columns containing blue dots (representing Player wins) and red dots (representing Banker wins). A new column is started each time the winning bet changes between Player and Banker. Consecutive wins are recorded by adding a mark to the most recent column.
For example, if the Player wins the first hand of a new shoe then a blue mark is placed in the top of the first column. If the Player then wins the second hand, a second blue mark is added to the first column. If the Banker then wins the third hand then a new column is begun with a red mark.
If a round ends in a Tie then it is recorded slightly differently. Rather than start a new column, the red or blue mark that recorded the last Player or Banker win is struck through with a green line. This is because tie wins are very rare, and the chance of consecutive Tie wins is very small.
As with the Bead Plate, on a standard Big Road scoreboard the columns are all six rows deep. If a bet wins more than six times in a row then it is carried over onto the next column and this is called a ‘Dragon Tail’.
As with the Bead Plate, pairs are recorded with dots on the edge of each mark, red for a Banker pair and blue for a Player pair.
Big Eye Boy
The Big Eye Boy is another system for recording the behaviour of the shoe. If requires taking the data from other outcome orientated scoreboards and then interpreting it in particular ways. The aim of the Big Eye Boy is to give players insights into whether the deck is producing results that change with each hand, or whether there are streaks and repetitive patterns.
Because of this, the Big Eye Boy is used in conjunction with the Big Road scoreboard. A mark is placed on the Big Eye Boy every time that a new column begins on the Big Road. The two scoreboards have very similar layouts and they will usually use the same colours. However, on the Big Eye Boy scorecard red and blue do not correspond to Banker and Player, rather red represents consistent repetition and blue represents the opposite.
The idea is that you can use the Big Road scoreboard together with the Big Eye Boy scoreboard to decide what bet you should place next. If the last few records on the Big Eye Boy are showing a lot of red then players will often opt to follow the pattern that can be seen on the Big Road. For example, if the results of the last six hands were Banker, Banker, Player, Player, Banker, Banker, then the Big Eye Boy will show that and most players will then bet on Player in the hope that the same pattern will continue.
The Small Road is very similar to the Big Eye Boy. However, it skips the previous column on the Big Road and does not start until one hand after the first mark in the third column on the Big Road.
The Cockroach Pig is a similar concept to the Small Road. However, it skips the previous two columns on the Big Road and it does not start until one hand after the first mark in the fourth column on the Big Road. It is also different in that it uses diagonal lines rather dots or beads.
Using Baccarat Scoreboards to Place Bet
Many Baccarat players follow these scoreboards very carefully and there is a lot of superstition surrounding them. However, while they do provide a great deal of statistical information, Baccarat is ultimately a game of chance and the scoreboards are unlikely to make a great difference to your winnings. Having said that, if you manage your bankroll carefully, they can be a fun way to follow the game and see if you are lucky enough to hit a winning streak.
It is always important to remember that Baccarat is ultimately a game of chance and that the outcome of one hand has no bearing on the outcome of the next. However, this does not mean that it can’t provide hours of fun, and there are of course strategies to help you manage your bankroll and come out on top.
Here we have gone through the basics of Baccarat strategy. Why not give it a try, and once you have a feel for it you can begin to develop your own strategies, or pursue further reading on the subject.