Baccarat strategy can be discussed in two parts. The first part deals with the actual playing strategy and the second part deals with bankroll management strategy.
Some baccarat games like Punto Banco and online baccarat offer the tie bet. This bet wins if both of the Player and the Banker have the same hand value. This bet usually pays out at 8 to 1. Some online casinos pay out at 9 to 1. In either event this bet is a sucker bet because it has a very high house edge. The first lesson in baccarat strategy is never wager on the tie bet.
Baccarat Betting Strategy
The question then arises is how to decide between wagering on the Player or the Banker. New players to baccarat can make a simple assumption and base their strategy on that assumption. The assumption is that all cards have an equal chance of being dealt and that the cards in the discard tray do not affect the outcome of the game. In online baccarat there is no discard tray and each game begins with complete decks. Therefore this assumption is totally valid. In land casino baccarat games it is not unreasonable to assume that the makeup of the cards in the discard tray and in the shoe box is identical. Even if they are not, the impact it has on optimal play is marginal. Therefore players who do not have expertise in advanced strategy have to depend on the validity of this assumption. Under this assumption the most favorable bet is to wager on the Banker, despite the lower payout because of the commission.
Advanced players who want to take advantage of the knowledge of which cards have been discarded have to follow a card counting system. The theory behind this is that when there is a higher ratio of low cards in the shoe then betting on the Player is favorable and when there is a higher ratio of high cards in the shoe then betting on the Banker is favorable. Players can assign a value of -1 for each card from ace to five; a value of +1 for each card from six to nine and a value of 0 for each card from ten to king. A value of 0 is assigned to cards from ten to king because these cards have a value of 0 and do not affect the hand values. Then players keep the cumulative total of all the cards that have been discarded and placed in the discard tray. If this cumulative total is negative it means that there is a larger number of low value cards in the discard tray and therefore a larger number of high value cards in the shoe. Therefore they should bet on the Banker. If this cumulative total is positive it means that there is a larger number of high value cards in the discard tray and therefore a larger number of low value cards in the shoe. Therefore they should bet on the Player. Advanced card counting strategies have also been devised.
Baccarat Bankroll Management
Bankroll management strategies are common to all casino games and baccarat players should also be aware of these. Players should fix their total bankrolls for the session depending on the surplus leftover from the incomes after providing for all necessities. They should then estimate the time that they want to spend on gambling and the number of hands they expect to play in that time. The amount wagered on each hand should then be fixed by dividing their total bankroll with the expected number of hands to be played. Related articles - How to Play Baccarat - Baccarat Odds and House Edge - Baccarat History - Baccarat Betting Strategy