Baccarat is one of the most underrated casino games. While Blackjack tends to steal the spotlight, Baccarat offers players an opportunity to make money and have fun without having to make too many decisions like we’re used to doing in Blackjack.
But while Blackjack offers players the chance to use strategies like card counting and betting systems, there isn’t a ton of focus on Baccarat strategy. And when people do talk about Baccarat strategy, they pump it up so much that you walk away wondering if it’s too good to be true.
The answer? Yes. Most Baccarat strategies are designed to work well, but in reality they’re not effective. Today, we’re going to uncover why.
The most popular Baccarat strategy
Martingale is one of the most popular Baccarat betting strategies. It’s a simple strategy that involves doubling your bet every time you lose. No matter how many losses you experience, hitting a win after a string of losses will lead to a gain of whatever your initial unit was. So if you bet $5 to start, you’ll be up $5, even if you hit six or seven losses in a row.
Theoretically, the Martingale System works. We say theoretically because it just doesn’t work in practice. More on that in a second.
First, the theory. In Baccarat, the Martingale system works so that you’ll always be able to recoup your losses, even after a string of horrible crushes. We’re serious. Even if you lost 10 hands in a row, on the 11th hand, you’d be up. And you’ll always be up $5 after a string of losses, no matter where that win occurred.
Let’s look at an example. Start off by betting $5. If you lose that first $5, double your bet. If you lose that, double again. And keep doing that until you win. Here’s what this betting pattern looks like:
- Bet $5, Lose -> Down $5
- Bet $10, Lose -> Down $15
- Bet $20, Lose -> Down $35
- Bet $40, Lose -> Down $75
- Bet $80, Lose -> Down $155
- Bet $160, Lose -> Down $315
- Bet $320, Lose -> Down $635
- Bet $640, Lose -> Down $1275
- Bet $1280, Lose -> Down $2555
At this point, you’re down a lot of money. We’re talking $2,555. That’s a lot of lettuce. But on your 10th bet, your fortune changes. You must lay down $2,560. But if you win, you’ll get paid $2,560. And that turns the tables because you’re now looking at a $5 win. That’s right, you’re actually ahead $5. You put a lot of money down, but in the end you made your losses back.
However, as tempting as this Baccarat strategy system works, there are three big caveats you need to be aware of.
Caveat 1: It only works on the Player bet
Even if the Martingale System worked perfectly, it only really works when you bet on the Player. That’s because betting on the Banker reduces your win by a small fraction. Remember, when you win a bet on the Banker, the house takes a 5% commission. So while you’ll be up, you won’t be up as much as you would have been with a 1:1 win on a Player bet.
Take the above example. On that 10th bet, you put down $2560. If you win, the house is taking $128 of that. So now your $5 win is actually a $123 loss. And you don’t just lose on big value bets. At the 6th bet in the scenario above, your $160 bet that leads to a win would come with an $8 commission, forcing you down to a $3 loss.
Caveat 2: Baccarat tables come with maximum bets
Martingale works great if you could physically double every single bet after a loss. Except you can’t. Unfortunately, Baccarat tables come with table maximums. At smaller casinos, it could be $200 or $300. At typical Vegas casinos, you’re talking about $500. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in a high roller room, you might be looking at $1,000 or $2,000 maximums. But in the above example, you’d hid that table maximum on your 9th or 10th bet—or possibly even earlier if you were to start your betting with more than $5 (and at a table with a maximum of $1,000, you can bet the table minimum will be over $100).
Caveat 3: You don’t have an unlimited bankroll
Let’s pretend for a second that the table maximum didn’t exist. You’d be good to go, right? Wrong. Chances are you don’t have an unlimited bankroll. So even if you could keep doubling your bet, eventually you would run out of money. And that’s a big deal when you might only be ahead $5 after a string of losses.
So is this Baccarat strategy completely flawed?
Not necessarily. The above strategy highlights the almost-worst case scenario that is losing 9 or 10 in a row. But if you’ve played Baccarat before, you know that losses don’t always come in big waves like that. Sure, it happens. But there’s an equal chance that you’ll hit a string of wins. And there’s an equal chance that you might hit two losses followed by 3 wins, followed by 5 losses, followed by a win, followed by a loss, followed by 5 wins. Basically, you never know what will happen because gambling is completely random.
Can I try this Baccarat strategy without worrying?
Absolutely. At Palace of Chance, we’ve got free Baccarat games where you can put this popular Baccarat strategy to the test. Sign up for a free Palace of Chance account and enjoy Baccarat on your PC or Mac from anywhere you can get an Internet connection. You can play for free, so you don’t have to even make a deposit to see how far you can take your bankroll. When you’re ready to play for real, you can take advantage of a deposit bonus and win real money playing Baccarat—plus lots of other casino games.