Baccarat is a simple card game, played in casinos throughout the world. In Macau, the casino that dethroned Las Vegas in 2006, it accounts for 88 percent of total casinos’ winnings, and it’s increasingly popular at US casinos too, where it often has its own high-limit room. But while it might seem like a slow-moving, ritualistic game that requires serious study to master, the fact is, there are some very basic and very effective strategies that players can use.
The first step is to figure out how much money you’re willing to lose and stick to that number, deciding ahead of time what your stop-loss point will be and when it will be reached. Then, calculate how much you’re willing to bet per hand and then make your bets accordingly. This will help you stay in control and stop yourself from going broke too quickly.
Once you’ve settled on how much to bet, the next thing is to figure out where your money should go. Ideally, you want to bet the Banker every time and avoid the Player bet, which has a house edge of 1.24% (the bank charges a 5% commission on the wins), compared with 1.09% for the Banker bet. However, be aware that you should also keep in mind that your winnings may be subject to relevant state and federal taxes.
A few of the basic rules to remember are that if your hand is 9 or closer, you win. A 7 and a 9 count as three points, while an 8 and a 6 are worth five. If your hand is not a 9 or closer, you draw a second card. Then, if your total is 6 or 7, you stand. But if your total is 0 or 5, you must draw a third card.
Another rule to remember is that a tie bet pays out only half of your stake, because the casino has a 14.1% edge on the Tie bet. It’s a bet that can quickly empty your wallet, so be sure to avoid it unless you’re an expert at the game!
Another tip is to bet in runs. This is a basic strategy in any gambling game, but it’s particularly important for baccarat because the odds are so favorable for the Player and the Banker bets. If you’re betting Player and it’s working out for you, don’t break your run. It’s also a good idea to switch to the other side only when it’s losing, as this will limit your losses and maximize your profits. And, finally, a very basic but crucial tip: don’t overthink the game. Like craps, the guy who wanders into a table for the first time and just goes with his gut instinct usually has the most fun—and wins the most money!