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Baccarat Play and Strategy

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In baccarat one of the dealers, known as the caller, runs the game. Two additional dealers across the table handle all the financial matters for the game. At the beginning of a new game, the first player to the right of the caller is offered the bank and an opportunity to deal the cards as banker. This sounds important, but it is a simple procedure and is done completely at the discretion of the caller.

All players (including the banker) bet on either the player, banker, or tie by placing chips in the appropriate space on the table. When all the bets have been placed, the caller will instruct the banker to deal four cards from the shoe, face down into two hands; “Card for the player. Card for the banker.” It is very easy to follow. The banker will push the player’s hand to the center of the table and tucks the banker’s hand slightly under the edge of the shoe. The caller uses a long paddle to pickup the player’s hand and deliver it to the person who made the highest wager on player. That person will look at the cards and then turn them over. It is appropriate for the person to make an expression of either smugness or disgust. The caller retrieves the hand or the player pushes/tosses it to the caller and the two cards are placed at the center of the table.

The banker then reveals their hand. An additional card or two may be drawn at the caller’s discretion, and the hand is finished. If banker wins, the shoe stays with the person who is dealing. The shoe move counterclockwise to the next person if the player wins. Banking is not mandatory and you may offer your regrets and pass the shoe.



Baccarat resistance to strategy is part of its allure. Players have no say in how the cards are dealt. Betting is the only variable, and there are only three options. The preferable bet is the banker because it wins more frequently and has the lowest house edge. This is especially true if the vig is only four percent.

Bets on player do not win as often, but the no-vig payoff which brings the house edge for players nearly even to banker. The difference between player and banker in all cases is less than one percent.

Tie is the only wager that offers a clear choice, and that choice should always be no. This is particularly true if the payoff is only 8:1. The 14.4 percent house edge makes tie a difficult bet to accept. Even combining a tie bet with a simultaneous bet on player or banker drops the overall house edge to about 12 percent. There is simply no way to improve tie.

Some people think it is possible to predict future baccarat results by analyzing previous wins and losses. That’s why you’ll often see players studiously scribbling notes. Most Casinos even offer paper and writing instruments to assist them. This should be an indication that such systems do not work.

Counting cards is also not effective. Continued analysis has shown that baccarat’s rules make the game impossible to accurately predict until the very end of the shoe. A millionaire could earn about $10 an hour with perfect counting.

Baccarat continues to remain an elegant yet unbeatable game.