Baccarat Strategy – Reducing the House Edge

One of the most attractive things about Baccarat is that when played with proper strategy, it has a low house edge. Better yet, the strategy is not very hard to master at all. In this guide, we will take you through the best baccarat strategy to help you on the way to winnings.

Basic Baccarat Strategy

As you no doubt know, there are just three possible bets in Baccarat, Banker, Player and Tie. Furthermore, there are no decisions to be made beyond which bet to place. As a result, the strategy is solely concerned with which of these bets to place.

If you look at the probability each bet has of winning, then it immediately becomes obvious which of the bets is the most favourable to players.

  • Banker – 45.84%
  • Player – 44.61%
  • Tie – 9.45%

As you can see, the Banker bet has a better chance of winning than the other two and this is why a 5% commission is usually taken on winning Banker bets. While there may only be a slight difference between the Banker and Player bet, it is these small differences that will determine your success. As such, you will want to place the Banker bet most often.

In fact, if you really want to give yourself the best chance of winning, you should only ever place the Banker bet. The Tie bet should never be placed as the house edge is so large and the Player bet simply won’t win as often.

Baccarat Betting Systems

While only placing the Banker bet will ensure that the house edge is as small as possible, there is more to consider when devising your strategy. Even though the house edge may be small, it does exist, and this means that you will lose money in the long run. Therefore, many people will advocate using a betting system to help with bankroll management and ensure that they can play for as long as they wish.

There are three types of betting systems, positive progressive, negative progressive and flat. With the positive systems, your bet increases after a win, with the negative progressions, your bet increases after a loss. A flat betting system simply means that you bet the same amount on every hand.

There is a lot to be said for flat betting. If you take your bankroll, e.g. $100, and know that you want to play for an hour, so roughly 50 hands, then you simply bet $2 per hand. That way you can be sure that you will not run out of funds. If you hit a winning streak you can either increase your bet or set aside the winnings for another time.

However, this can be a little boring, so here we will look at some alternative betting systems that can be used when playing Baccarat.

The Martingale System

The Martingale betting system is probably the best known and also the simplest. It is a negative progression system that can be used with many games, including Baccarat. It requires you to bet the same amount after a win and double your bet after a loss. 

For example, if you bet $2 and win, then you bet $2 on the next hand. However, if you lost, then you would bet $4 on the next hand and if you lost again, you would bet $8 on the next. You keep doubling until you win, at which point you return to a bet of $2.

There is one big problem with this system. If you hit a losing streak then the bets grow to be enormous very quickly. Not only does this require you to have a huge bankroll, but it also means that you have to be aware of a table’s upper betting limit.

The Paroli System

This is a positive progression system that has been used for hundreds of years. Its name comes from the Latin word ‘Par’, which means “one that is equal”.

The system requires you to choose a starting bet, such as $2, that is used at the start of each progression. The system simply requires you to keep your bet the same when you lose and double it when you win (so the opposite to the Martingale).

This means that if you hit a losing streak, hopefully the losses won’t be too much. Another advantage is that you can be flexible with how you use the system. For instance, rather than doubling your bet after a win, you could increase it by 50% and take the rest of your winnings as profits.

The Labouchere System

This betting system actually has several names, such as the Split Martingale, the American Progression, and the Cancellation System. It is slightly more complicated than the previous two systems, but it is extremely popular. The Labouchere System is a negative progression system that is designed to recover losses gradually rather than all at once through a number of smaller wins. It can be applied to virtually any game where there are even money bets.

When using the system, the first thing to do is to set a target for how much you want to win, e.g. $200. That figure should then be divided up into a series of smaller numbers, for example 20-40-20-20-20-40-20-10-10. You then need to add the leftmost and right most numbers together from the series and bet that amount, which means that with the above example your first bet would be $30. If you win the bet, then you cross those numbers out from the series and move on to the next pair. However, if you lose, rather than crossing the numbers out, you add the amount that you bet onto the right-hand side of your sequence (in our example the sequence would become 20-40-20-20-20-40-20-10-10-30). When you have successfully crossed off all the numbers, you will have won the amount of your goal.

The great thing about this system is that you can design the series of numbers yourself and that way decide upon the risk. There are a few risks with it (as there always will be when gambling), for instance, you may hit a losing streak and end up with a very large number, possibly more than you can afford to bet. One way to try to prevent this is to include some zeros in your sequence.

The Fibonacci System

The Fibonacci sequence is very famous and it can be used as the basis for a Baccarat betting system. It is a negative progression system that is flexible and easy to understand.

The Fibonacci sequence is a series of numbers where each number is the sum of the previous two. The first fourteen numbers in the sequence are 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, and 377, but it can be extended infinitely.

When playing Baccarat, you would start with a bet of 1 unit, which corresponds to the first number in the sequence. A unit could be $1, $2 or any other amount that you decide. If you lose, then you move to the next number in the sequence, so you bet 1 unit again. If you lose again, you then bet 2 units, and so on. As soon as you win, you move back two numbers in the sequence, for example if you lost five bets in a row then won the sixth, your next bet would be 2 units. As with the other betting systems, the danger is that you hit a long losing streak and run out of funds or exceed the table maximum.


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