Baccarat myths and misconception

Baccarat is a commonly played game in both land-based and online casinos, but not everything you hear about this popular card game is accurate. There are various myths and misconceptions about the game, the odds involved and the strategies that can help you win at baccarat. Here are a few of the myths you need to be aware of if you’re thinking of trying your hand at baccarat.

Myth 1: The right baccarat strategies can really influence whether you win or not

You’ll hear about various baccarat strategies that players employ, and may even hear people saying there are guaranteed ways to ensure you walk away from the table with a profit. However, there is no way to guarantee a win in baccarat, and it’s actually quite hard to influence the outcome of a game.

Baccarat is a game of luck, so there really is no optimal playing strategy as such. While you’ll find plenty of information about baccarat strategies online, a closer look will reveal that mostly they are betting strategies that can be used with most games of luck and may or may not work for you. 

Progressive betting strategies are often recommended in baccarat and other games of chance, but many players will tell you they’ve never had much luck with them. These strategies include systems such as the Martingale and the Fibonacci system, and they generally involve adjusting the size of your bet as play progresses, often making it larger with each new hand you play.

Some systems, for example, suggest you increase your bet size every time you wager when you are on a losing streak. The idea is that no losing streak can last forever, and the bet size will be quite substantial by the time you win. This can be highly problematic for a number of reasons, not least because, depending on your budget, you can easily exhaust your bankroll long before you win. 

It is best to see betting systems for what they are: a potential way to make decisions on what to wager, if it suits you and your budget, but not a way to really increase your chances of winning in any concrete way. There is no evidence that those following progressive betting strategies win more money. In a game based on luck, there is no real way to strategize your way to a certain win. 

You’d be far better off learning how to manage your bankroll, bet responsibly and develop the self-discipline needed to keep your gambling under control and within budget.

Myth 2: Baccarat always has a very low house edge

Baccarat is indeed a game with a low house edge, but not on every bet. There are three main types of bets that you will be making in baccarat, namely the player bet, the banker bet and the tie bet. The house edge on each bet is slightly different, with the player bet and the banker bet being almost (but not quite) equal at around 1.36% and 1.17%, respectively. 

However, that is not an exact calculation for every game because there are factors that can affect the house edge, such as the commission charge levied by a particular casino. Generally, the commission size will impact the house edge. While it’s possible to find casinos offering commission-free baccarat, you’ll tend to find that the house edge is higher when this is the case.

The third common type of bet in baccarat is the tie bet, which is statistically much less likely to be successful and therefore actually has a much higher house edge of around 14%. For this reason, it is considered best to place a banker bet, which has the lowest house edge of all. It’s generally not advisable to place a tie bet, even though the payout will be bigger if you win. 

Having said that, most players know that statistics are not everything when playing casino games. Every bet you place has a chance of winning, and those with a much smaller chance, statistically speaking, tend to be those that pay out more. Players have to decide for themselves how to wager. Just remember that the house edge is the lowest on the banker bet, and statistically, this is the bet that you have the best chance of winning on.

Myth 3: You should switch between different bets in baccarat 

You may have heard that it’s a good strategy to switch between placing your wager on the banker and the player when playing baccarat because there is close to a 50/50 chance that either one will win. While this may seem logical, and many players like to do it, there is no statistical advantage to it. You might also be tempted to bet on the player if, for example, the banker has won the last several hands and you feel that a change of luck is due.

While these are common enough feelings, they are not based on any sound mathematical reasoning. The probability of the banker winning is the same every single hand, and as this is the bet with the best odds, it actually makes sense to bet on it every single time. As a player, you may find that a little boring, and if you want to mix it up, go ahead – just know that it won’t give you any kind of advantage in the game.

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Myth 4: Baccarat is complicated to learn and play

Baccarat has a reputation among many players as being a sophisticated game, perhaps because it was traditionally played in land-based casinos by fancy, well-heeled clientele. This can lead people to think that it is complicated or difficult to play, but that’s just not the case. Baccarat is actually a very simple game with just a few basic rules to learn.

The aim of the game is to get a hand where the face value of the cards add up to nine or a number under nine that is as close as possible to it. If you go over nine, that’s not a problem. You can’t “go bust” as you do in blackjack. Every player must have a single-digit score to determine the outcome of the game, so if you end up with a two-digit number, you simply drop the first digit.

What’s more, in this game, unlike in blackjack for example, you do not actually need to make any decisions. You are simply dealt the cards, and then the values are added up. You don’t need to decide whether to hit or stand, split or double, or anything like that, so there is no skill required and no complexities to the way the basic baccarat game is played.

Myth 5: There are always only three betting options in baccarat

The basic baccarat game you’ll most commonly get involved in usually consists of the three main betting options of banker, player or tie. However, some versions of the game allow for side bets as well. These are bonus bets that can sometimes be placed on a round of baccarat that focus on outcomes beyond which bet will win the next round.

Side bets can focus on things like whether anyone will get a hand that is all red or all black, or one that features three of a kind. You can also make various side bets on the combined value of the player and banker’s hands. Side bets, then, are not made on the outcome of the hand itself but rather on other related factors. As the name implies, side bets are made in addition to the main bet and are placed before the hand is dealt.

Side bets are not always available, and when they are, it’s not really advisable to make them. Side bets are often on things that are statistically unlikely, and again, they are things that can’t be predicted, so you are just taking a guess. Many people would say that side bets make the game more interesting, but others would argue that placing side bets of any kind is not a desirable strategy in baccarat and that they are best avoided all together.

Myth 6: Card counting is useful in baccarat

You may well have heard of card counting in casino games and how it can help you win, or at least reduce the house edge. This may be true in some games where there is more strategy involved, but it’s just not the case with baccarat. Even if you are an excellent card counter, there’s no big advantage to knowing which cards remain in the pack when playing baccarat, because it’s not as if you are choosing to take extra cards and need to estimate the likelihood of getting a high- or low-value card.

At the very most, card counting in baccarat might give you an idea of whether the banker or player might be offering the best value at any given time and help you decide who to bet on. However, even when done well, this will only give you a very tiny advantage, and frankly, it means that the effort involved in counting cards in baccarat is just not worth it. 

Author: Tanya Fields

Campaign Acquisition Manager Length with RC: 1 year, 9 months Favorite Casino Game: Starburst Background in iGaming: Opened the iGaming Department at Hard Rock Atlantic City in 2018 in both Customer Service, and then CRM, prior to moving over to RC in January 2021 Location: Based in NJ at the RC HQ Content: Occasionally, but only as it pertains to RC