Baccarat strategy can be viewed from three angles. One from the player’s point of view, the second from the dealer’s point of view and the third from the bettors’ point of view.
The player has only one decision to make. If his hand value is five, should he take the third card or not. The player will increase his hand value if he draws any of the four cards (ace and two to four). The player will decrease his hand value if he draws any of the five cards (five to nine). The player’s hand value remains the same if he draws any of the four cards (ten, jack, queen and king). Assuming all cards have equal probability of being drawn, the player gains on four cards and loses on five cards and therefore should opt to stand. However this assumption would not be always valid. If many high value cards have already been discarded, then the probability of getting low cards and of increasing the hand value goes up. In that event the strategy would be to ask for another card.
The dealer’s only decision is whether to take the third card or not. If the player has not taken a card, then the dealer should take a card if his hand value is five or less. Computer simulations have been made to arrive at optimum strategy if the player has taken a card. These are tabulated with the dealer’s hand value and the player’s third card as variables. A simple way of stating the strategy is that the dealer should take a card if his hand value is three or less. He should not take a card if his hand value is seven. In other cases, the dealer should take a card if the player’s third card had middling values.
Tips for Bettors
The bettors have no decision making in the deal and hence the above strategies do not apply to them. However the following tips will help them bet wisely.
- It is difficult to win in the long run. Play in short bursts and quit when winning.
- Never bet on a tie. It has a very high house edge.
- Some casinos play baccarat with fewer decks. Opt for these if possible because the house edge decreases with the number of decks.
- Practice on free online casinos.
- Tend to increase the stakes when on a winning run and lower the stakes when on a losing run.