Baccarat is a casino mainstay that may not have quite the popularity of games like blackjack and poker, but is still a game that is played professionally very frequently. It’s also a particularly enjoyable game to play both as a professional and as an amateur as it’s fairly easy to get into and betting both against the dealer and for them adds a very fun element to it.
Here are some key tips to making headway as a professional baccarat player.
Know the Odds
An obvious one, but baccarat, like all gambling games, is all about the odds. Fortunately, there aren’t any complicated odds tables you need to memorize. All you really need to know is that the payout rate is 1:1 for all regular bets (ie. bets on which hand will win) and 8:1 on a tie. Betting on the banker adds a 5% commission rate and though the payout is 1:1 for regular bets, your odds aren’t quite 50/50 because of the possibility of getting a tie bet.
Bet on the Player
This one is a bit controversial because betting on the banker actually has slightly better odds, but because you pay a commission on such bets of at least 5% (some go as high as 25%), your winnings are less than they could have been. And, though 5% might seem worth it for the better odds of winning, it starts to add up over time, especially if you need that win to make up for a series of losses.
Find a Strategy and Stick to It
Obviously the only strategy involved with baccarat revolves around how you bet, but there are a few different betting strategies that veteran players find usually pay off in the long run. Probably the most famous and arguably best of these is known as the Martingale betting system, whereby players double up on each loss until hitting a win. This might seem risky, especially on a limited budget, but it pays off. See below for an example.
|Bet||Result||Total bankroll (starting at $100)|
In the above example, after 3 losses, you can still earn all the money back that you put in plus a neat profit. The catch is, though, that if you had one more loss, your bankroll would be depleted and you would be left with only $20, a far cry from the $80 you would need to make the next bet. You should not, however, switch strategies and start betting again from $1 or something. It almost definitely won’t pay off.
Which brings us to the next and arguably most important point.
Manage Your Bankroll Properly
Going into any baccarat session, whether live or online, it is absolutely crucial that you do so with a set budget on how much you’re willing to lose. And then stick to that number without going so much as a cent above it. This isn’t just smart, responsible gambling, it prevents you from falling prey to a spiral of worse and worse odds.
Take the above example of using the Martingale system: If you lost on that $40 bet, to keep the odds in your favor; to have any real chance of making your money back, you would need to play $80 on your next hand. Never mind whether you can afford an additional $60 above your $100 budget, if you lose that one too, you will have lost an additional 60% above what you budgeted for and the sting of that loss will drive you to double up again and again until the point that you either go into debt just trying to break even or you run out of money completely to make that “one last bet” to pull you out of the ditch you dug for yourself.
Whether you’re just playing for fun or as a professional, you need to know how to stick to a budget and to accept losses only within that budget. Also, try and keep in mind how long you want to play for, and if you have a very modest budget but want to play for, say, an hour, understand that you will need to make small bets and possibly rely on some strategy other than the Martingale method.
Quite While You’re Ahead
On the flipside to sticking to your budget and counting for acceptable losses within it, it’s also crucial to know when to stop when you’re winning. Just as you set out a budget for how much you’re willing to lose, set a budget for what would be an acceptable profit and quit when you reach that goal. The reason for this couldn’t be simpler: your luck absolutely will not last forever and if you just play indefinitely those house advantages will sneak up on you and take away all those winnings you took so long to make. It’s also a good idea when you have been on a roll but haven’t quite reached your target to stop gambling with your initial capital (that $100 in the above example) – maybe even, say, double your capital – to help mitigate what might happen if your luck suddenly turns sour.
Stick to these simple tips and your baccarat sessions can be as fun as they are financially rewarding. Fail to stick to them, though, and you may well find yourself in a world of trouble.