There is no doubt that baccarat is a game with many nuances, though it is also the most popular gambling game in the world. It led many enthusiasts to wonder over the years, even as far back as the 17th century, whether there was any way to increase a player’s chances of winning.
Like all gambling games, baccarat is essentially based on luck, though some would argue that there is some skill to it, especially when it comes down to deciding what hands to play and how much to gamble on each hand.
Today, even for those who play online, players apply many strategies, particularly the more experienced participants, with some of these having stood the test of time over the decades.
However, deciding which strategy to use can be difficult, especially if you are not fully aware of how they work and their purpose. This is because many different variables are involved and some focus on certain facets of the game itself.
What strategy you adopt can also sometimes be decided based on the possible payouts of each hand that you play as well, so before thinking about this, it is wise to be aware of what these consist of.
Different payouts in Baccarat
In gambling, every game has a ‘house edge’, which refers to the advantage that the house has over the player and this is displayed as a percentage. In baccarat, the different hands have a house edge because this relates to the chances of winning with each of them.
Compared to some of the other gambling games, baccarat does boast some of the most generous odds and payouts, with a bet on the banker carrying odds of a 45.86 percent chance to win. The house edge states that you should win £98.94 for every £100 that you wager on the banker bet in theory, though bear in mind that this is an average figure.
Meanwhile, a player bet consists of odds that stand at 44.62 percent, which is a 1:1 payout, while a bet on the tie might have a generous payout of 8:1, however, the odds of achieving this are 9.52 percent.
Without a doubt, the biggest payout in baccarat comes from the Perfect Pair bet, with this side bet paying 25:1. However, the odds of achieving this outcome stand at just 3.34 percent. Thus, while the side bets add more of a fun and interesting element to the game of baccarat, the banker bet is considered the smartest one for a player to make.
Now that we have established the payouts in baccarat, it is possible to apply certain strategies. These strategies are essentially based on mathematical formulas and algorithms, with the majority of them used in financial institutions such as hedge funds for qualitative and quantitative modelling. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones!
The Martingale Strategy
This strategy was ultimately created in an attempt to hedge losses and in a casino, it can be systematically used for a game of baccarat. By using the Martingale strategy in baccarat, it is possible to make money in theory, with this focused on medium gains over a relatively short period of time. This is considered as a reasonably straightforward one to apply to baccarat and focuses on doubling your bet until you get a winning hand. While you do need quite a healthy bankroll, the theory is that your losses are at least recouped when you do win.
The strategy is best applied to baccarat games that have a slow tempo because bets can quickly get out of hand, which means that you can observe and make decisions better. One of the issues about the Martingale strategy is that the house edge does not make any kind of difference. Essentially, all you are doing is influencing the bet sizes and banking on the fact that you can avoid losing. Using this strategy, the edge for a player is that you have a short term window to try and win back any losses because you are doubling your bet each time. This is why the Martingale strategy ultimately relies on a considerable percentage of luck for the player.
The Fibonacci Strategy
This was developed by an Italian mathematician called Leonardo of Pisa (also known as Fibonacci), in 1202 and is popularly used by baccarat players due to its simplistic tracking approach for betting amounts. It is also worth mentioning that this system can be used on any game of chance, where there are two possible outcomes.
For all intents and purposes, this is an example of what the Fibonacci system looks like: 1-1-2-3-5-8-13-21-34-55-89
It is based on the number following the previous number being the value of the two that precede it, which is why ‘five’ is ‘two plus three’. In baccarat, this system can help players decide their betting sum. The objective of the Fibonacci strategy is to help players to recover their losses before finally reaching break-even, while as long as a player does not go on a big losing streak, it is also possible to make a profit. This does, though, require a lot of patience.
To apply betting to the Fibonacci strategy, if a player loses, they move forward to the next place in the system. If they win, then they drop back one place. For example:
Bet #1 – £1 wagered – lose – -£1
Bet #2 – £1 wagered – lose – -£2
Bet #3 –£2 wagered – lose – -£4
Bet #4 –£3 wagered – win – -£1
Bet #5 –£1 wagered – lose – -£2
Bet£6 –£2 wagered – win –£0
Bet #7 –£1 wagered – win – +£1 (new sequence)
The main risk of using the Fibonacci strategy is that if a player sustains a considerable amount of losses, then this could effectively wipe out the bankroll.
The Paroli System
This works in a slightly different way from the others so far. Instead of recouping losses, the aim of the Paroli system in baccarat is to try to monopolise on winning streaks. It is essentially based on going back to your initial stake amount after ‘x’ amount of wins in a row, theorising that all winning streaks eventually come to an end and can punish greedy players.
The most common and advisable number of wins in a row in a baccarat game that the Paroli System is based on is three, however, the random nature of the game guarantees that three wins in a row does not always happen. It is also worth noting that the Paroli system has no bearing at all on the house edge, which means that the house always has an edge long term.
Some professionals and experts in the game agree that the Paroli System can work only in the short term for winning streaks. Over the long term, it does not change the odds in your favour. As a result, those players who do decide to use the Paroli System need a substantial amount of discipline to be able to walk away.
The Labouchere System
Also known as the ‘Cancellation System’, the principal objective of this is to erase the numbers from the row that a player draws from before the game. For those who use this system, the objective is to change each bet to the outcome of the previous hand that was played.
As a result, the bet is raised after a loss, then lowered after a win, though this system is slightly more complicated than the Martingale system. Essentially to decide your bets, you are working with a series of six consecutive numbers from one to six.
Your first bet is the sum of the first and last number (seven) and if this wins, you take these numbers away and proceed with the next two (two and five). If the bet loses, you then add this onto the end of the sequence and start again. However, once the sequence is over, you start again with it – that is, if you want to.
This can go on for quite a long time and requires a lot of concentration and you may reach the table limit before you win (depending on what it is). Though, the Labouchere System does have the potential to build up a substantial amount in winnings for players, if they know what they are doing and of course, luck is on their side.
The D’Alembert System
Named after 18th century French mathematician Jean-Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert, this baccarat strategy. This system is based on increasing bets after a player loses and then decreasing them after wins, though by just one unit. Below is an example of a play using this system.
First Bet =£1 (lose) -£1
Second Bet =£2 (lose) -£3
Third Bet =£3 (lose) -£6
Fourth Bet =£4 (win) -£2
Fifth Bet =£3 (win) +£1
Sixth Bet =£2 (win) +£3
Seventh Bet =£1 (win) +£4
The main risk of using this system is that a player will use all of their money before they have had any chance to accumulate any winnings, which means that having a substantial bankroll is considered advantageous.
Tips for Playing Baccarat
There are many useful tips and strategies that you can apply to baccarat, with many of these being more practical than anything. Below we have listed a few that you might want to bear in mind before you play.
Be aware of the rules
This does not just apply to knowing how to play the game, but also having an understanding of technical elements such as the house edge and the difference that this can make. Baccarat can be a difficult game for some players to learn if they are new to gambling, which makes it more important than ever to have a full understanding of how to play. Practising with demo mode can make a significant difference.
Make use of bonuses where possible
Online, it is sometimes possible to find casino bonuses that you can use for table games, and these can significantly increase your chances of winning because you are risking less of your own money. This can also add to your bankroll, which means if you are applying any of the above strategies, could be advantageous to you.
Do not have any distractions
Especially for new players, baccarat can be a game that requires a lot of concentration, which means that playing a game in a silent place is often recommended, especially if you are playing online.
Do not gamble more than you can afford to lose
If you are applying any of the above strategies (and even if you are not), baccarat is a game that can quickly eat your bankroll, especially if you are on a losing streak. Knowing when to walk away from a game and not chase your losses is a sensible approach to playing baccarat.
While we have sought to provide you with as much information about baccarat strategy as possible, we do appreciate that you may have further questions. Below you can find some of the ones that are asked most frequently, answered in as much detail as possible.
Is there any skill to baccarat?
Being billed as the ‘thinking man’ game suggests that there is a certain degree of skill to baccarat, especially when it comes to deciding how much to wager and the type of bet to make. It could also be suggested that understanding and then applying the various strategies is also a skill. However, all gambling, fundamentally, is based on luck.
How do I consistently win at baccarat?
Regardless of the gambling game you play, the odds dictate that you will inevitably lose at some point, and the house edge also reflects this. Some of the strategies were designed based on mathematical formulas in order to give the player as much advantage as possible. However, the idea of these is that the majority of winning streaks are invariably a lot shorter than losing streaks, so knowing when to walk away is essential to judge.
How do you cheat on baccarat?
In every gambling game, especially online, it is impossible for the player to cheat, including baccarat, though applying some of the strategies can give you an advantage. Even land-based casinos have now got secure measures in place to catch ‘card counters’ and often use multiple decks of cards and security cameras to prevent this from happening.
Can you beat baccarat?
Like any game, it is possible to win, and the odds (however small), reflect this, so it is possible in baccarat. However, knowing when to walk away and not gamble more than you can afford is vitally important in order to avoid problems.
Is baccarat a hard game?
Baccarat is considered a hard game due to the number of nuances, outcomes, and concentration that it takes to learn and play. However, it is possible to understand it with enough practice, though it is worth playing on demo mode first, before you play with real money.