Number 9 in the Main Role
Whether you play the American or any other versions of baccarat, the goal of the game is always the same. The dealer deals two hands, one for the dealer and the other for the player. The player then tries to guess which of these two hands will have a total of 9. This makes it somewhat similar to blackjack, where players have to get as close to 21 as possible.
Baccarat then has several differences in comparison with blackjack. For example, it is more forgiving if a hand exceeds 9 points – if the total is 10 or more, only the last numeral counts. This means that if you get dealt 9 and 6, the final value is not 15 but rather 5.
If a player gets lucky and bets on the right hand, he wins in the following ratio:
- Bet on the player: 1:1
- Bet on the banker: 1:0.95
- Tie bet: 1:8 (or 1:9 in some casinos)
Best Bets for Baccarat
At first glance, it may seem that the best bet is a draw which has the highest payouts. As usually the case, the opposite is true. Betting on the banker has the highest house edge of 1.06%, followed closely by betting on the player with 1.24%. Far behind is the bet on a draw with a house edge of 14.36%.
For minimizing losses, in the long run, it is, therefore, best to bet on the banker’s hand. Some advanced baccarat players, however, claim that a bet on the player is playable, too. This avoids the casino fee of at least 5% for each win.
Counting Cards in Baccarat
If you play one of the European baccarat, under certain circumstances you have the option to choose whether to take a third card or not. As a player, you can more or less influence the outcome of the round. And because there is some similarity with blackjack at baccarat, the obvious question arises whether card counting techniques can increase your winnings.
A number of mathematicians tackled this issue in the 1970s, including Edward Thorp’s counting systems. But they all came up with the same result. For the vast majority of baccarat variants, it makes no sense to count cards at baccarat. It doesn’t give the player any advantage at all.