The standard set up in Baccarat is to see 8 decks of cards in the shoe at one time, but there are sometimes games played with 6 decks. The house edge will change depending on the number of decks used. The Default Baccarat Strategy and When to Deviate. Let’s assume that we have an eight-deck game since that is the most common. The default strategy for Baccarat will be to place a bet on the banker’s hand while looking out for certain conditions that will indicate to us that we should switch to the player’s hand. Look for Fewer Decks. Baccarat isn’t a game like blackjack or roulette, where rules can make a big difference. But one positive rule that you can look for is going from 8 decks to 6 decks. A standard 8 deck game features a 1.06% house edge. A 6 deck game offers a 1.056% house advantage. Let’s look at how this can make a difference in the. The house edge for baccarat does depend on how many decks of cards the house uses and we’ll compare them both in this article. What you should also remember is that nearly every casino has a 5% commission on all winning bets on the banker. The first thing to realize about baccarat is that most casinos allow very deep deck penetration. In most cases, the dealer makes it almost to the end of an eight-deck shoe. This deck penetration is significant when considering that you stand to win more money as a counter upon seeing additional cards.
The average baccarat game features the same rules in land based and online casinos. Here are standard baccarat traits and rules:
- Banker bet has a 1.06% house edge
- Player bet has a 1.24% house edge
- Tie bet has a 14.36% house edge
- 8 decks
- 5% commission taken from winning banker bets
These are common no matter whether you play at brick and mortar or online casinos.
But you can find slight rule fluctuations at certain casinos. And these small changes can make a difference in your odds of winning.
That being said, I’d like to cover some of the top baccarat games among land based casinos and online gaming providers. But let’s first go over the main tips you should consider when searching for the best baccarat variations.
Tips on Finding the Best Baccarat Games
1. Search for Reduced Commission Baccarat
Taking 5% commissions from a winning banker bet is the norm in baccarat. Commissions are the only way that the house can keep their edge with this wager.
But you can gain an edge any time you find a game with reduced commissions. And this normally entails looking for a 4% commission table
The banker bet house edge drops from 1.06% to 0.60% when you find 4% commission baccarat.
This may not be the lowest house edge of all time. But it puts baccarat more on par with games like Jacks or Better video poker (0.46% house edge) and good blackjack tables (0.50% house edge).
And what’s great is that you don’t even need any true semblance of strategy to achieve the 0.60% house edge. All you need to do is make the banker bet every time.
2. No Commission Baccarat Isn’t Better, It’s Worse
We just covered how casinos use commissions to maintain an edge over players. But what if commissions were eliminated?
You can actually find games that don’t charge commissions. And this seems like a dream come true because it can give you the edge over casinos.
But the catch is that a banker win with 6 points only pays 50% on your bet. This happens 5.39% of the time and drives the house advantage up to 1.46%.
No commission baccarat isn’t a better game. In fact, it’s worse than standard variations.
3. Play EZ Baccarat
EZ baccarat is another game that doesn’t take commissions from banker bets. But this version offers a 1.02% house edge on banker wagers.
The key difference is how EZ baccarat makes up for the lack of commissions.
Almost every winning banker bet pays 1:1. The lone exception is when the dealer wins with a three card total of 7, which is a push.
You’d think that this would make EZ baccarat have a higher house edge just like the no commission game. But let’s compare the two rule caveats with banker bets:
- Banker wins with three card 7 (EZ baccarat) = 2.25% probability& push
- Banker wins with 6 (no commission baccarat) = 5.39% probability & 50% payout
Even with the 50% payout, no commission baccarat has a higher house advantage because its rule caveat occurs more than twice as often.
4. Look for Fewer Decks
Baccarat isn’t a game like blackjack or roulette, where rules can make a big difference. But one positive rule that you can look for is going from 8 decks to 6 decks.
A standard 8 deck game features a 1.06% house edge. A 6 deck game offers a 1.056% house advantage.
Let’s look at how this can make a difference in the long run:
- You bet $100,000 on both types of games over the course of a year.
- Your theoretical losses with 8 decks would be $1,060 (100,000 x 0.0106).
- Your theoretical losses with 6 decks would be $1,056 (100,000 x 0.01056).
Again, you won’t see a major change in your odds of winning. But since baccarat doesn’t give you many other chances to reduce the house edge, the number of decks is one factor that can change things.
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5. Ignore Differences in the Tie Bets
Another common rule in baccarat games is for the tie bet to pay 8:1 on your wager. But few players make this bet because it carries a 14.36% house edge.
This is why some baccarat games offer 9:1 on the tie wager to make it more enticing. The 9:1 payout reduces the house edge from 14.36% to 4.84% in an 8 deck game.
Obviously, this is a marked improvement. But you’re still facing a house edge that’s over four times higher than what’s seen with the banker bet.
6. Look for the Best Available Comps and Bonuses
Baccarat doesn’t offer many comps because it has a low house edge, thus reducing the casino’s take. But this doesn’t mean that you should avoid looking for the best comp rates.
It’s not hard to visit online casinos and look at their bonus terms and conditions to see what kind of comps they’re offering.
Online rates tend to run together. But you’ll find more baccarat value at some casino sites with enough research.
Brick and mortar comps are harder to figure out because casinos aren’t upfront with their rating systems. This is another area, though, where you can find more value through research and/or personal experience.
Best Baccarat Casinos
1. Isleta Resort and Casino
Isleta Casino tops my list because it’s the only place that currently offers 4% commission baccarat.
I’ve never personally been to this casino in Albuquerque, New Mexico. But their website advertises that they only take 4% commissions.
This makes Isleta the only known place with a 0.60% baccarat house edge. You almost double your chances of winning from the standard 1.06% house advantage on banker bets.
The only downside is Isleta Resort and Casino’s location. The nearest major cities are Denver and Phoenix, but they’re both over 350 miles away.
Furthermore, Albuquerque isn’t a widely visited destination like casino hubs Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
But the point of this list is to find the top baccarat games. And Isleta has the best one right now out of both online and land based casinos.
2. The Orleans
Located on West Tropicana Avenue, the Orleans is one of the few Vegas casinos that runs a regular EZ baccarat game. This means that you can enjoy a 1.02% house edge with their baccarat.
But what separates the Orleans from other EZ baccarat games is the low stakes. You can play hands for as little as $10, meaning the average player will only lose 10 cents per round.
One more advantage to playing at Orleans is that it’s located near the airport and Vegas Strip. This makes it a good place to hit right away when you get into town.
The biggest downside is that there’s only one EZ baccarat table with $10 bets.
If you don’t get onto this table, then you’re forced to play one of the many regular baccarat tables throughout the place. But the good news is that Orleans isn’t far from the action, meaning you can quickly pop in and then go somewhere else.
Wynn properties are often associated with luxury and high rollers. But the Encore features an EZ baccarat game that most players should be able to afford.
Stakes begin at $25 per hand, which goes well with the 1.02% house edge.
One advantage that Encore has over the Orleans is that they feature 16 EZ baccarat tables. This helps offset the higher stakes because it’s much easier to get into one of Encore’s EZ baccarat games.
Another thing to like is the casino itself. The Encore casino has nice lounge seating, posh couches, and plenty of TVs to watch sports on.
And if you get tired of playing EZ baccarat at Encore, you can head next door to the Wynn to enjoy their casino and amenities.
4. Net Entertainment Baccarat
Net Entertainment (a.k.a. NetEnt) has long been known for producing high-quality slots games. But they’re also adept at table games, as evidenced by their baccarat action.
NetEnt features a “punto banco” game with 6 decks. As covered before, this reduces the house edge on banker bets from 1.06% to 1.056%.
You’ll see the player bet increase from 1.24% and the tie bet increase from 14.36% to 14.44%. But you likely won’t make these wagers anyways so it doesn’t matter.
Keep in mind that only the punto banco game has 6 decks and a 1.056% house edge. NetEnt’s “baccarat” has 8 decks and a standard 1.06% house advantage.
Another thing to appreciate about Net Entertainment baccarat is the interface.
Both the baccarat and punto banco tables offer rich graphics that bring the table felt to life. The table also features large words so that the rules are easier to read.
5. Playtech Baccarat
Playtech is another online baccarat provider that features 6 decks instead of 8. Again, this difference lowers the house edge on banker bets from 1.06% to 1.056%.
Playtech also features some interesting side bets that can spice up the action. Here’s a closer look at each of these wagers:
- Either pair – You win if banker’s or player’s first 2 cards form a pair.
- Perfect pair – You win if banker’s or player’s first 2 cards form a suited pair.
- Small – You win if the total number of the banker’s and player’s cards is 4.
- Big – You win if the total number of banker’s and player’s cards is 5 or 6.
These bets are fun and add something extra to the experience. But I highly recommend that you avoid making them.
The reason why is because of the house edges, which you can see below:
- Perfect pair = 17.07%
- Either pair = 14.54%
- Small = 5.27%
- Big = 4.35%
The either pair and perfect pair wagers have higher house advantages than a tie bet. They’re also two of the worst bets in all of internet gaming.
The big and small wagers have house edges that are more in line with most prop bets. But these are still much worse than if you just stick with Playtech’s banker bet.
6. Gold Coast
Gold Coast doesn’t offer anything special like EZ baccarat, 4% commission tables, or 6 decks. But they’ve become a fan favorite among baccarat players due to their low stakes and quantity of tables.
This casino offers 14 tables with $10 minimum wagers. You can also look forward to a large number of prop bets, although I’d stay away from these if you don’t know the odds.
Gold Coast is located on Flamingo Road and isn’t far from the Vegas Strip. This allows you to enjoy cheap baccarat, then visit nearby places like the Mirage, Bellagio, Palms Casino, and Caesars Palace if you want more attractions and activities.
This casino is also good for enjoying other low stakes table games, and they regularly hold tournaments.
7. Evolution Gaming Baccarat
One of the best inventions to hit online casinos in recent years is live dealer gaming, where action from a land based casino is streamed directly to your device.
Evolution Gaming has become the gold standard for live baccarat and other games. The streaming is good, the dealers are cool, games move fast, and the casino atmospheres look nice.
I’m assuming that the dealers are well paid because they’re friendly and don’t require tips.
The baccarat game itself is nothing special because you’re dealing with a standard 8 deck shoe and 1.06% house edge on banker bets.
You’ll find many of the same prop bets offered in Playtech baccarat. As we covered before, these aren’t worth making.
The key reason to try Evolution Gaming baccarat is if you enjoy the live dealer experience.
Baccarat is already one of the most favorable games in the casino. But it helps if you can find a little more value and/or a different experience.
This creates a 0.60% house edge, which is the lowest I’ve found live or online.
The D in Las Vegas used to have regular 4% commission baccarat. But they recently did away with these games.
Encore and Orleans are also good spots because they have EZ baccarat combined with fairly low stakes.
Encore has the advantages in tables (16), while the Orleans has the edge in stakes ($10). But both are good options when considering that EZ baccarat offers a 1.02% house edge.
The other choices we covered are online gaming providers with 6 decks instead of 8.
The value you gain with NetEnt and Playtech is so thin that it’s almost not worth mentioning. But if you’re going to play online baccarat, then you might as well knock a little more off the house edge.
The question of card counting comes up from time to time and there is always a debate around it. This technique is mostly employed in blackjack, but some players try it with baccarat as well. The main premise of baccarat card counting is predicting how many cards are left in play and which cards they may be. In reality, it’s much more complex than this explanation.
If you’re familiar with the basics of card counting, you may find the baccarat methodology here to be a little different from what you’ve heard before. Now let’s get into the details.
How the Basic Counting System Works
Before we go into specifics of this system, let’s clarify — can you count cards in baccarat? This maneuver is frowned upon by most land-based casinos. But in the case of online gambling, card counting absolutely fine to use. In fact, online live dealer casinos have become the perfect platform for it.
Now that we’ve established that card counting isn’t prohibited, let’s look at the general rules of this system. Keep in mind that these instructions are meant for a six- or eight-deck game:
- When the game begins, and you start with a fresh shoe, the count is 0.
- Each card dealt to you affects the count based on its true value (given below).
- While you keep the running count in your head, you need to calculate the true count.
- Divide the current count by the approximate number of decks left in the shoe. For example, with a count of 30 and 6 decks, it will be 30/6=5.
- Once the true count exceeds 15, and the game has 6 or more decks, switch from the banker bet to the player bet.
For a single-deck game, the true count needs to be higher than 11 instead. With every new deck or shoe, you’ll need to start over.
Essentially, that is the basis of all your calculations. You also need the baccarat card counting values, which you can memorize from the table below.
Training to Count Cards in Baccarat
For example, if the count is 10 and a 3 is dealt, you’ll add 1 for a new count of 12. If the next card is a 9, the count stays the same.
As you can guess, the hardest part of the baccarat card counting strategy is to do it quickly. It’s not going to be easy, but if you’re dedicated, you’ll see improvements.
Before you play baccarat online with a live dealer, get yourself a regular 52-card deck, and do the following:
- Deal one card at a time to yourself and make the baccarat true count calculations we described above. You can take as much time as you need.
- Go through the entire deck while maintaining your calculations.
- By the end, the true count should be 0. If it’s not, your calculations were off.
- Start over and slowly speed up as you go.
- Once you can accurately calculate the true count throughout the entire shoe under a minute, start dealing two cards at a time.
- You should be able to keep up with the true count in one and a half minutes, which is approximately how long it takes a real dealer.
Why Baccarat Card Counting Is So Difficult
Casinos know that gamblers will take any opportunity to maximize their returns. Therefore, they make it harder for the players to beat them. Additionally, even after you learn how to count cards in baccarat flawlessly, you’ll still be faced with a couple of issues.
In blackjack, you can use simplified systems assigning cards values of +1 or -1. Even more advanced systems assign only a few values. This mitigates some difficulties in calculations. In baccarat, however, you’ll be dealing with three- or four-digit numbers and keeping them in your head at all times.
Is Baccarat Card Counting Worth the Effort?
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So, does card counting work in baccarat? Under perfect conditions, and if you follow the rules precisely, yes. The good news is that it can actually help you get an edge against the casino in theory.
The bad news is that it might not make as much of a difference as you hope. In a book called ‘The Theory of Blackjack,’ Peter Griffin has calculated how much you can profit after going through the entire shoe. Unfortunately, it’s not as much money to justify the time and effort you need to put in.
In reality, card counting in baccarat doesn’t work like in blackjack. For the small return you get, you’ll need to play for hours. You’d need to wait hundreds of hands before finally betting on a favorable opportunity. What you should do instead is casually count until you reach +16 for the player, or less than +16 for the banker, and make your move.
Pros & Cons of Counting Cards in Baccarat
Counting cards in Baccarat makes it possible for the player to minimize the house edge of the casino. On the other hand, counting cards in baccarat is a risky venture. Getting good requires a lot of practice, and this requires a lot of money to get started. Likewise, you should know that it is not permitted in some land-based casinos.
Pros of Counting Cards in Baccarat:
- Allows players to minimize the house edge.
- Leads to longer play sessions.
- Is arguably the most “fun” way to play the game.
- Leads to a better appreciation of the game.
Cons of Counting Cards in Baccarat:
- Takes a lot of time to learn.
- The benefits of counting cards are not as pronounced as in other games.
- Practicing it with real deals can be expensive
It makes sense that players want to reduce the house edge. If you’re very determined to learn how to beat baccarat by card counting, you may see some results. A slight increase in chance can tip the balance in your favor. That said, you shouldn’t expect huge profits by just relying on this technique.
In any case, finding and using different techniques is better than purely trusting your luck. There is no harm in testing a new method, especially if you do it properly.
If you are new to real money baccarat, Bob Casino is a good place to discover this card game. Here, you can play with friendly live dealers who know how to accommodate beginners. Not only will you access excellent classic casino games, but you can also explore exciting new titles you’ve never seen before.
Is it possible to count cards in baccarat?
Yes, card counting is an important part of playing baccarat.
Is baccarat card counting system allowed in casinos?
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While land-based casinos may discourage card counting, there is nothing illegal about what a player does in their head. Worst case scenario, you may be asked to leave the venue. Online casinos cannot enforce such rules, so card counting is de facto permitted.
Will card counting work in live dealer baccarat games?
Yes, card counting is an effective way of playing live baccarat.
Can I even profit from counting cards in baccarat?
Counting cards in baccarat allows the player to increase their chances of winning. That being said, the benefit is a lot less pronounced than that in blackjack and other games.
Is there a software to help me count cards in Baccarat?
There are several baccarat card counting training programs available for players who want to learn to count cards. These include both free and paid options.
What baccarat strategy can help me win?
In order to maximize your potential winnings in baccarat, it is best to use a mixture of bankroll management, betting, and card counting strategies. Most experts on Reddit and gambling forums recommend you spend no more than 2% of your bankroll on a single bet, use a betting strategy (such as the Martingale strategy), and learn at least basic card counting skills.
This article was updated on March 5, 2021.