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Three Strategies for Baccarat

Posted on February 8, 2021 | 2:17 pm

There was a time when baccarat was reserved for only a casino’s most well-to-do clientele.

Truly! The tables sat behind a velvet rope, the dealers wore tuxedos and evening gowns, black-tie dress codes for players were strictly enforced, and betting minimums began in the four- or even five-figures!

Fortunately for today’s gamblers, that is no longer the case. In fact, the massive international trend towards live gaming has combined beautifully with a big increase in popularity of baccarat.

The result?

At a time when online gambling is booming across the board, baccarat is more available than ever. And make no mistake: this is great news for players.


It all comes down to payback percentage.

To put it simply, baccarat offers one of the lowest house advantages of any game in the casino. Players who stick to the banker bet can expect a house edge as low as 1.06%.

That puts just about any other game on the casino floor to shame, with the potential exception of blackjack…

…and even then, blackjack advantage is only superior to that of baccarat when player-friendly rules are available and when optimal strategy is used. When either of these is not the case, baccarat has the edge.

With all of that understood, today’s players need to know the best way to lay their bets to succeed at the baccarat tables.

Here are three different strategic approaches popular among today’s players. Let’s explore each one in depth, then regroup to compare them.

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Strategy 1: The ‘Keep It Simple’ Approach

strategy_1_the_keep_it_simple_approachLike any classic casino game, there are all kinds of subtleties involved in advanced baccarat play.

However, focusing on the many interesting fine points of the game can distract players from important, obvious truths. In this case, that truth is…

…that the banker bet offers the best odds in the game. Period.

While individual streaks can and will occur, the numbers don’t lie. With standard rules, the banker bet offers a superior house advantage of 1.06%; the player bet offers a slightly worse house edge of 1.24%; and the tie bet comes with a far, far worse house advantage of 14.36%.

Those numbers tell the most important story.

Players who want to give themselves the best chance of success over the long term should go with the banker bet every time.

There are other approaches out there, for sure, but none of them is backed up by the math.

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Strategy 2: The Trend Switch Strategy

strategy_2_the_trend_switch_strategyFor all its subtleties and pleasures, playing baccarat can sometimes feel like betting on a coin flip.

We know that sounds ridiculous. But is it?

After all, there are two primary outcomes in baccarat – banker win and player win. Each outcome occurs approximately 50% of the time. That sure sounds like a coin flip, doesn’t it?

The ‘trend switch strategy’ takes advantage of this fact.

Most baccarat shoes consist of ‘zigzag’ patterns (banker wins, player wins, banker wins, player wins, etc) broken up by ‘streaks’ (stretches where one outcome wins several times in a row). This is where the ‘trend switch’ strategy comes in.

Here, players bet the same amount on every hand and aim to follow either one of those two trends: zigzag or streak. When they lose two in a row, they switch to the other trend!

It’s a simple, active strategy that won’t put much of your bankroll at risk.

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Strategy 3: 1234, Martingale, and other Roulette-style Betting Strategies

strategy_3_1234_martingale_and_other_roulette_style_betting_strategiesWhere the ‘trend switch’ strategy calls for changing the wager while keeping the bet size constant, there are other approaches that do just the opposite: place the banker every time, but vary the amount wagered.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this approach. When relied upon too heavily, though, this is a strategy that can leave players bankrupt.

The Martingale betting system is one such example. The core tenet is this: after a losing bet, double the size of your wager.

Without getting into the details, we can assure you that this is a potentially disastrous approach that should be avoided at all costs.

Briefly, it’s an approach that requires players to bet astronomical sums in chasing their losses, in order to win comparably small totals. And if players run out of capital at an inopportune time, they’ll find themselves with a bankroll of zero.

It’s a bad idea in roulette, and no better in baccarat!

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Addendum: Never Bet the Tie

As previously mentioned, the tie bet comes with a house edge over ten times greater than either the player or banker bet. From a mathematical perspective, it’s a full-on betting disaster!

There’s just no reason for a smart gambler to make this bet, under any circumstances.

Any strategy that says otherwise should be avoided like the plague!

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Our Recommendation

Gambling can be frustrating at times. While playing with mathematically sound strategy makes good sense over the long term, every player endures cold streaks…

…indeed, it can sometimes feel like every wager turns sour.

Especially in baccarat, when skilled players are only making one of two bets (see ‘addendum’ above), cold streaks can be downright excruciating!

With that understood, it’s understandable that some players turn to esoteric betting tactics to try and get the better of the house. The Martingale and ‘trend switch’ strategies both fall into this category.

While either may lead to a winning session, though, neither of them is advisable over the long term.

It’s simple:

The banker bet just has the best odds. Full stop.

We concede that making the banker bet over and over is not the sexiest approach to gambling…

…after all, it hardly goes with the glamorous reputation that baccarat enjoys in the West! it’s hard to imagine James Bond rakishly strutting up to the villain’s table, flashing a charming smile to the most beautiful woman in the room, then proceeding to make the safest bet possible on every hand!

But at the end of the day, feeling glamorous is not the primary goal of casino gambling.

For players who want to play smart, manage their bankroll well, and watch their profits grow, the banker bet is the way to go.

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