Baccarat Betting Strategy

By R.L. Cultrona
Baccarat Betting Strategy
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Baccarat is a casino game that is played with several decks of cards. Two cards are dealt to both the dealer and the player, and the hand closest to nine wins. Many people choose not to play baccarat because casinos generally keep this game roped off and give it an added glitz and a higher minimum bet. However, baccarat is extremely easy to play, and if you know how to bet effectively it can be very lucrative.

Playing the Game

There are three types of bets for each baccarat hand. A player has an option to bet on the “Dealer,” the “Player” or a tie. Basically, a dealer deals out two cards to himself and to the person who has the highest bet on the Player. That person chooses whether to “hit” (add one additional card) or “stand” (add no cards) based on the total value of the cards he was dealt. The dealer then does the same. The hand closest to a total of nine is the winner. The players who bet on the winning hand (either Player or Dealer) will be paid out.

House Edge

While it may seem like there is no way to come up with an effective strategy for this game, there are some things you can do to minimize your losses. First, you need to understand that there is a very small house advantage in this game, making it much easier to win money in this game than in others. Also, the house edge changes based on which side you bet on. If you bet on the player, the house edge is about 1.3 to 1.5 percent. If you bet on the dealer, however, the house edge drops to about 1 percent. This means that a dealer hand will win more often than a player hand. The reason a casino is OK with these odds is that if you win on a dealer hand, you generally have to pay a small commission to the casino for your winnings, usually up to 5 percent. This tends to even things out just a bit. A tie bet can usually be very good money (the payout is higher), but the house edge for a tie bet is over 15 percent, meaning you will lose much more money over time with a tie bet.

Which to Bet?

On its face, the better bet is always on the dealer, because you will win more often than you lose. But, depending on the commission, this may end up being negligible. The best thing to do is to find a casino with a commission of about 4 percent and then continually bet on the dealer. If you find a commission of 5 percent or higher, you should then bet on the player because you will be able to keep more of your winnings.

About the Author

R.L. Cultrona is a San Diego native and a graduate of San Diego State University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater, television and film with a minor in communications and political science. She began writing online instructional articles in June 2009.