Baccarat Betting Strategies – Tips for Better Odds of Winning (and Systems)
While there is no skill involved in baccarat and it is a game of pure luck, this doesn’t mean that you have no control. There are numerous types of baccarat strategies that could help improve your returns and you will learn about them here.
Why Use Systems and Strategies in Baccarat?
A betting system is a set of rules that you follow that dictate how much you should bet and, occasionally, which bet you should place. Theoretically, this is slightly different from betting strategy, which is more of a plan to achieve a goal. However, in gambling, the terms system and strategy are used interchangeably.
The more important question is, do they work? Unfortunately, the truth is that there is no strategy or system that can guarantee a win when playing baccarat. If there were, then casinos would very quickly be out of business. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that you cannot do a few things to increase your chances.
For example, on the most basic level, it is important to be aware of the rules of baccarat and the house edge of the three different bets. When playing the standard form of the game (i.e., with a 5% commission on the Banker bet), the Banker bet has a house edge of 1.06%, the Player bet has a house edge of 1.24% and the Tie bet has a house edge of 14.36%. Therefore, it is obvious that your first baccarat betting strategy should be to never place the Tie bet.
Beyond this, there is certainly a role for betting systems when playing baccarat. Mainly, they will help ensure that your bankroll lasts for longer, which will allow you to play for longer. Not only does this mean more hours of fun, but it also means more opportunities to hit a long winning streak.
There Is No Such Thing as Sure Win Baccarat Formula!
You are likely to see websites advertising things such as “How to Always Win at Baccarat” or “Win at Baccarat for Sure”. However, it cannot be stressed enough that there is no magic formula that will guarantee you always win. These websites are peddling lies and worst of all, they often charge you money to reveal these false tricks. Using betting strategies can certainly reduce the house edge to make the game slightly more in your favour, but never believe anyone claiming that they can remove the house edge entirely.
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Baccarat Betting Systems
There are three baccarat betting systems that you can make use of each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Which you choose will largely depend on your bankroll and preferred style of play.
Therefore, it is important that you properly understand how each of them works, which is exactly what we will explain next.
Negative Progression System
Negative progression betting systems require you to increase your bet when you lose and decrease it when you win. They are based upon the idea that you will eventually win, and when you do so, you should be able to recoup all of your previous losses and ideally make a profit as well.
However, these systems must be handled with care. If you hit a long losing streak, then your bets can very quickly become very big. Furthermore, if you keep having to increase the size of your bets, you may eventually hit the game’s upper betting limit.
Positive Progression System
A positive progression betting system is the opposite. They are those that require you to increase your bet when you win and decrease it when you lose. The systems are usually very easy to learn and follow, and they can actually be used when playing nearly every casino game. The idea behind these systems is that they will help you make the most of winning streaks and keep losses to a minimum when on a losing streak. Examples of positive progression systems include:
There are no flat betting systems of strategies, it is simply the expression used when a person bets the same amount on each hand. This is in contrast to the above, where the bets are continually changing, hence the term flat rather than progressive.
Flat betting is an excellent way of controlling a bankroll and ensuring that you stay within budget. However, it can be a bit boring, which is one of the reasons people turn to progressive betting systems.
Baccarat Betting Strategies
Now that we have explained the three categories of betting systems, it is time to look at some specific examples.
Each of the strategies below can be used when playing at the best baccarat casinos from our selection. You will find examples of positive and negative progression systems, some more complicated than others.
This is a negative progression system that requires you to keep your bet the same after a win, double your bet after a loss and return to your original bet after you win.
For example, if you bet $2 and then you win, you would bet $2 again. If you then lost, you would bet $4 and if you lost again, you would bet $8. If you won the next round, you would return to a bet of $2.
This is another negative progression system that requires you to increase your bet after a loss. First, the system requires you to select a betting unit, e.g., $5. You start by placing a bet of one betting unit and if you win, the bet stays the same, if you lose, then you increase the bet by one unit. After a win, you return to betting a single unit.
For example, you bet $5 and lose, so you bet $10. You lose again and bet $15 at which point you win, so you return to a bet of $5.
The Labouchere is a negative progression betting system that is slightly more complicated than those already discussed. First, you must set a goal for how much you want to win, e.g., $100 and then split that goal into a series of smaller numbers, e.g., 10-20-10-10-10-20-10-5-5. Your first bet is the sum of the leftmost and rightmost numbers, so in this case, $15.
If you win, you remove the two numbers from the series and progress to the new rightmost and leftmost numbers.
If you lose, rather than remove the numbers, you add the amount that you just bet onto the right-hand side of your sequence, which would make the above sequence 10-20-10-10-10-20-10-5-5-15. When you have removed all of the numbers in your sequence, you will have won your goal amount.
This is a negative progression betting system that is based upon the famous sequence of numbers in which each number is the sum of the previous two. The first ten numbers of the Fibonacci sequence are 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 and 55.
When using it as a betting system, you start with a bet of 1 unit (e.g., $2). If you lose you move to the next number in the sequence (1 unit again). If you lose again you move to the next (2 units) and so on. As soon as you win, you move back two numbers in the sequence.
For example, if you lose four bets in a row then win the fifth, you should move back to betting 2 units.
This is a fairly complex. It divides the gambling session into a series of cycles and the aim of the system is to make 1 unit of profit per cycle. Once the profit is made, the cycle stops.
If you bet 1 unit (e.g. $2) and win, then the cycle is over. If you lose, then you keep the bet size the same. When you win, increase the size of the bet by 1 unit, unless that results in a profit of more than 1. Once you have made 1 unit profit, start again.
An example can be seen in the below table:
|Units Bet||Win/Loss||Units -/+|
|1||Lose||-1||Bet stays same|
|1||Lose||-2||Bet stays same|
|2||Lose||-3||Bet stays same|
|2||Win||-1||Bet does not increase|
This betting system takes its name from the order in which bets are placed and it is very easy to master. Simply follow the sequence and only move on to the next number after a winning hand.
For example, if your betting unit is $5 and you bet it on the first round and lose, then you bet the same on the next hand. However, if you win then you move along and place a bet of $15 ($5 x 3 = $15). You follow this system until you lose a hand. For example, if you win the next hand then you would bet $10 and if you lose the next, then you go back to the start and bet $5 again.
This is very similar to the above strategy but with a slightly lower risk due to the smaller bet at the end of the sequence. Once again, the sequence of numbers tells you how many units to bet.
Therefore, if you have a unit size of $5, then you start with a bet of $5. If you win, then you bet $15 on the next round, whereas if you lose, you return to the start. Both this and the 1-3-2-6 system have a small amount of protection built in, if you make it to the third number in the sequence, then you can be sure of making a profit, even if you lose the next round.
The Paroli is a positive progression betting system. You first need to choose a bet that will be used at the start of each progression, for example, $5. The system then requires you to keep the bet the same after a loss but double it after a win.
This way, you will be able to make some significant profits quickly if you hit a winning streak, but you will not be risking vast amounts when losing.
For example, bet $5 and win, bet $10 and win, bet $20 and win, bet $40 and lose, and return to a bet of $5.
This is a simple positive progression betting system. First, you need to set a betting unit, if you win, then you double your bet by adding the amount that you won in the previous round.
As long as you keep winning, then you should keep doing this (unless you are approaching the maximum win amount, in which case it may be time to bank your winnings). Once you lose, you return to the original bet amount.
For example, bet $5 on Player and win, then bet $10 in the next round, win again and bet $20, then lose and return to a bet of $5.
Cheating at Baccarat
All the strategies described above are entirely without controversy. You can use them freely and not have to worry about getting into trouble with a casino. However, there are techniques that are considered cheating. Some of these are explicitly cheating and others exist in a grey area, and there have been some huge court cases regarding them.
The most famous of these involved Phil Ivey and there has been reports about a movie called “The Baccarat Queen” being produced about it. The technique he used is called edge sorting and involves identifying imperfections on the back of playing cards in order to gain an advantage. Ivey employed this technique at London’s Crockfords Casino and won more than $10 million and at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City, where he won roughly $9.6 million. Both casinos took Ivey to court and after protracted battles, ultimately won.
Phil Ivey’s baccarat case is an extreme example, but there are plenty of other techniques that casinos frown upon. If you come across any of the following techniques, then you may want to think carefully before trying to use them:
- Card Counting – This technique requires you to keep track of the shoe so that you know when it is in your favour. Using card counting, you can keep track of the ratio of high to low-value cards so that you know when to bet on the Player or Banker. The technique is actually simple to use and technically, it is not illegal. However, if you are caught, then the casino is likely to remove you.
- False Shuffle – This technique requires the player to work together with the dealer. Unlike card counting, there is no doubt that this is cheating. It requires the dealer to false shuffle the shoe and the player to identify the unshuffled cards and increase the bet at appropriate times.
- Swapping Cards – This is another technique that only works in land casinos. As the name suggests, it requires the player to swap the cards when they are dealt facedown. It is incredibly difficult and certainly cheating.
- Card Marking – This technique sees the cheating player mark specific cards, usually by bending them slightly or with a substance applied from the hand, in order to make them easily identifiable.
- Card Cutting – This is a complicated technique that uses technology to spot card values as the deck is cut. It makes use of a small camera that films the card values, and the information is then relayed to the player.
- Past Posting – This involves adding chips to a bet after a winning hand. It involves a sleight of hand, and it works best when the dealer and player work together.
- Edge Sorting – This requires studying the back of cards to find inconsistencies. This way it is possible to identify facedown cards, which gives players an edge. While this technique is not explicitly illegal, as Phil Ivey found out, it is not welcomed either.