How to Apply Basic Baccarat Strategy

Although baccarat is a simple game to play, there is a basic baccarat strategy that everyone should follow if they want to enjoy any level of success. However, it is important to remember that this game is one of chance and that no strategy can completely ensure a win. All of the rules of the game are applied by the house automatically, so the most any player can do is hope to choose who will have the winning hand.

Baccarat Odds

In order to truly understand how the game works, it is important to understand baccarat odds. The house edge for player bets and banker bets is relatively low at 1.29% for a player hand and 1.01% for a banker hand, so while the banker bet is generally the safest bet, it is safe to assume that the banker will not always have the winning hand. However, the tie bet should generally be avoided as this presents a house edge that is well over 15% even though it provides a nine-to-one payout when won.

Understanding the Commission

When making a bet on the banker hand, it is also important to note that players will be required to pay a commission to the house when they win. This commission varies from 3% to 6%, and players are generally advised to avoid any baccarat table if the commission is more than 5%. Regardless, even after a 5% commission, the odds of winning the banker hand as well as the respective payout make this the best hand upon which to wager at almost any point.

Number of Decks and Odds

The number of decks that are used in a game of baccarat can have a significant impact on the player's odds. Overall, players should look for games that are played with the fewest number of decks and have a 4% or lower commission. Baccarat can be played with anywhere from one to eight decks. Only in a few rare casinos that offer Microgaming software can players find single-deck baccarat games--these present the absolute best odds and should be sought after very carefully.

Money Management

The best baccarat strategy is one in which the player can effectively manage his or her money and make the most out of the bankroll. Before playing, the player should determine how much he or she can afford to lose as well as how much he or she will win before stopping. Then, the player should determine how many rounds of baccarat he or she wants to play and divide up the money accordingly.

Strategy Limitations

No matter how carefully any of these tips are applied, it is still very important to remember that baccarat will always be a game of luck. There is very little skill involved here outside of understanding the odds and playing the safer bets. The house controls the value of the hand and whether or not a third card will be taken, so there is no real strategy that can be used to improve the player's odds of winning.