The casino is calling and tonight you want to look like a high-rolling gambler, so why not head to the baccarat tables? But it’s important to know what you’re getting into. Baccarat is a game run by specific rules, and while there is little a player can do to book a win beyond betting the player or banker, it remains one of the best games in the casino.
It may look a little tricky, but baccarat is a pretty simple game to play. It can make for a fun night out or gambling online — with some real opportunities at profits if luck goes your way.
Here’s a little casino advice before you take a seat at the baccarat table.
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1. Don’t take the tie bet — There are three bets in baccarat and one of them is really bad. In a game that has such a low house edge and that can be so favorable for gamblers, the tie is an absolutely terrible bet. Players who take this bet, lured by an 8-to-1 payout, are handing the house a massive 14.36 percent house edge. Overcoming that edge and coming out a winner is virtually impossible. Bet the player or the banker — or just keep your cash in your pocket.
2. It’s rules-driven — The game of baccarat is centuries old and is governed by a specific set of rules. It makes the game more enjoyable to know the hand values and rules for drawing a third card. Each card retains its numerical value, but kings, queens, jacks, and 10s all are valued at 0. Aces have a value of 1. When two cards are added together and the total is above 9, subtract 10 to determine the value. For example, if you have a 6 and a 7 in your hand, that would be valued at 3. Watch those cards and follow along — hopefully with a bunch of winning hands.
3. Player meet banker, banker meet player — Ultimately, baccarat is a game of chance but with only a tiny house edge. Betting the player only affords the house a 1.24 percent advantage. A wager on the banker only carries an edge of 1.06 percent. Those are just a bit worse than 50-50 and players making good guesses can score some profits.
4. Walk away a winner — Too often players approach gambling with hopes of a major score and of turning their three-figure bankroll into four or five figures. But those expectations are usually unreasonable. Be ready to take a 10 percent to 25 percent profit if you find yourself ahead. Those house edges may be small in baccarat, but can catch up with players over time. If your gambling budget is $1,000 and you’ve won $150 or $200, consider it a good session and cash in those chips. If you’re online, it may be time to log out and be happy with a win. A celebratory cocktail or steak dinner might be a good way to close out the night.
5. No trends, no tricks — The game of baccarat is really driven by the dealer. It’s a game of chance dealt from a shoe that usually has eight decks. There’s nothing a player can really do to overcome the house edge or make certain choices that are better than others. Each hand is independent of each other hand, and betting on streaks or trends may seem like a great idea, but will usually prove fruitless. In essence, it’s a guessing game. But it’s a fun guessing game nonetheless. So, grab that lucky rabbit’s foot or horseshoe — maybe this time your guesses will be correct.
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