You can play Baccarat for real money at online casinos, but when you do it’s wise to have a strategy in mind. And choosing bets wisely is what Baccarat strategy is all about…
BETTING OPTIONS IN BACCARAT
The high table minimums often placed on Baccarat at brick-and-mortar casinos may intimidate some players, especially if they grew up watching the old James Bond movies. However, online Baccarat is surprisingly simple. There are two key differences to playing Baccarat online versus in a brick-and-mortar casino – when playing baccarat online you don’t have to deal, as opposed to a brick-and-mortar casino where the players take turns dealing. You can also play with lower betting minimums online; at Café Casino, you can play a round of Baccarat for as little as $1 – or even for free using practice play mode.
For each round of Baccarat, you can bet on three possible outcomes: a win by the banker, a win by the player (you), and a tie. You can wager on one, two, or all three of these results at the same time. Each option comes with its own house edge, which is where your Baccarat strategy comes in.
BACCARAT HOUSE EDGE
Since the only control you have over the outcome is your bet selection, Baccarat strategy lies in knowing the house edge and probability for each bet. The player house edge is 1.24%, the banker house edge is 1.06%, and at most land-based casinos in North America, the tie house edge is 14.4% (8-to-1). By playing online at Café Casino, for example, you reduce the tie house edge to 4.85% (9-to-1).
The first step you can take in strategic Baccarat play is to scout out casinos that offer the 9-to-1 payout for the tie bet. That’ll make the tie a more viable betting option. With an 8-to-1 variant you should rarely consider betting the tie because of the house edge.
Even when playing online, betting the tie should be done sparingly since its house edge is still about four times as big as the player house edge. The 9-to-1 payout is enticing, however, so playing the tie once in a while adds to your entertainment
The number of decks in the Baccarat shoe will have a subtle effect on the probability of winning. Café Casino uses a six-deck shoe for both their classic and new versions of Baccarat, with the entire shoe reshuffled at the end of every hand. The probability for each of the three wagers when playing six-deck Baccarat is:
45.86% for the banker
44.62% for the dealer
9.50% for the tie
With a 45.86% probability, the banker bet will result in more wins than the other two options. To account for the banker’s advantage, a modest 5% commission is removed from the even-money payouts, leading to the 1.06% house edge mentioned above. No commission is removed from player payouts, which are also even-money. Most in-person casinos use eight decks for their Baccarat games, which increases the house edge very slightly from 1.0558% to 1.0579% for the banker.
DEVELOPING YOUR BACCARAT STRATEGY
Since the lowest house edge in Baccarat is with the banker bet, if you want to play as long as possible this is the only bet you should make. If you prefer some variety, try mixing in some dealer bets and tie bets as well, but make your wagers a little smaller and less frequent for the dealer, and make the tie your smallest and rarest wager. There isn’t any particular incentive to bet on more than one of these three options at the same time.
There also isn’t much value in trying to count cards when you play Baccarat. Unlike Blackjack, the potential advantage you can gain is considered too small to make it worth the effort. On the other hand, if you find a casino that offers reduced commission on the player bet you can lower the house edge significantly. You can even turn the edge in your favor if someone offers a promotion where they take zero commission.
Try playing a few rounds of Baccarat for free using practice play mode, and see how often the banker bet pays out. With the newer versions of online Baccarat it’s easy to see how often the banker wins because each outcome is recorded in a history chart to the left of the virtual felt.
Have fun playing Baccarat, and good luck!! Let us know how you do!