Guide to Baccarat Etiquette
Baccarat is considered a classy and sophisticated casino game that is often played by high rollers. It was James Bond’s game of choice, and for many, that is enough of an attraction for them to want to learn how to play it.
You don’t have to be a James Bond fan to play Baccarat. You don’t even have to be a high roller with a big bankroll. All you need to do is learn the game and the accompanying etiquette, and you can enjoy a game of Baccarat anywhere.
The game itself is relatively simple to learn. The player bets on one of two hands – the player and the banker. The winning hand is the one that scores the highest out of a possible nine points.
It can be thought of as a guessing game, and maybe because it is so straightforward, it is governed by a set of rules. It is important to learn what they are, but it is also necessary to learn the etiquette that governs the game.
Before playing baccarat, players should learn how to handle cards, the art of interacting with dealers and other players, and the rules and strategies around placing bets.
The basics of Baccarat etiquette
The word “etiquette” may sound like the game is out of reach for some, but it isn’t. Baccarat etiquette is complicated, and it was developed to ensure that there is order around the table.
The game isn’t restricted to high rollers either. Anyone can play it, and anyone can be a winner so long as they understand the rules and how to behave around the Baccarat table.
Below are some of the most important things for players to remember every time they sit down to play. Some of them apply to general casino etiquette.
How to handle cards
Once you take your place at the Baccarat table, it is essential to know how to handle cards.
After the dealer hands them out, the player is in control of whatever cards they get, and they must remember that:
- All cards should be visible to the dealer and also other players around the table. A good rule for casino games that use cards is to make sure that all cards are always visible to the dealer. That way, the player is completely transparent and cannot be accused of cheating.
- Cards shouldn’t be bent, creased or otherwise damaged. Players who do this can be accused of cheating and excluded from the game.
- If a player damages or bends a card, they should let the dealer know right away.
Placing bets correctly is just about the most important thing players can do if they want to be successful when playing casino games.
In Baccarat, players can place wagers on one of two cards – either the banker or the player. Here is what they ought to know before they place any bet:
- Every player should know the maximum and minimum bets for every game they play.
- Bets can be placed using chips or cards, and the dealer must always know how much the player is wagering.
- After the dealer announces that there are no more bets, players cannot place chips or cards on the table.
- Players cannot change their bets after cards have been dealt. This rule applies to all casino card games, not just Baccarat.
Interacting with dealers and fellow players
Good etiquette means good fun, and observing the following rules keeps the game clean and pleasant for all around the table:
- Players should be polite to everyone in the game and remember to say please and thank you to the dealer and fellow players.
- It is important to respect personal space and avoid commenting on other players’ strategies. Actions like that are deemed disrespectful and can bring a negative mood to the game.
- Players ought to be decisive when placing their bets and avoid confusing the dealer. All chips should be placed in the betting areas within view of all around the table.
- Most Baccarat games do not need players to touch their cards, but some do. When playing in one of these games, players should only handle cards when it is their turn, and they should make sure that they are in full view of the dealer and other players.
- Players in every Baccarat game must listen to the dealer. He is there to control the game and provide instructions, so players should pay attention and do as they are asked.
- To minimize disruptions around the table, Baccarat uses quite a few hand signals. Players should learn these signals and use them discreetly.
- Players shouldn’t have side conversations on the table. This can distract others who are trying to concentrate.
- Baccarat is considered a formal game, so players need to dress appropriately.
- Many casinos offer complimentary drinks at the Baccarat table, but that is not a license for players to guzzle alcohol. It can impair their judgment, and they can spoil the game for others. The same goes for eating around the table; it isn’t good form and should be avoided.
- Players who choose to play online Baccarat are also expected to observe some etiquette. They should keep chats clean and be sensitive to others, they shouldn’t dither when placing bets, and they should respect all casino rules and guidelines for the game.
Lastly, players need to respect local etiquette. Some behavior that is acceptable in one country may be viewed very differently in another. Dress code, for example, varies from country to country.
Another good example of when players should be culturally sensitive is when playing in China. The number four is considered unlucky and it is rarely seen on Baccarat tables. On the other hand, the number eight is considered to bring good fortune, and many players bet on it.
Tips for Baccarat beginners
For first-time players, the game can seem a little intimidating, but it shouldn’t be. So long as they are familiar with how the game is played, know the rules, and understand how to place bets, players should be able to play reasonably well. However, it helps to know a few tips that can elevate the game.
Tip 1 – Tie bets are never a smart idea
There are three bet options open to players: the banker, the player, and the tie bet, and they each come with a different house edge.
The house edge is how much the casino keeps out of a player’s win. The banker has a house edge of 1.6%, the player 1.24% and the tie bet has a house edge of 14.4%. This is extremely high for any casino game and should be avoided at all costs.
The immediate question that comes to mind is why such a wager would exist; it doesn’t seem to make sense that any player would opt for it when they are likely to lose almost 15% to the house.
There is no concrete answer, but it may exist because every once in a while a sucker comes around who doesn’t know enough about Baccarat wagers, and they choose this type of bet.
Tip 2 – The banker is the smartest bet
The banker wins a little more than 50% of the time, which means quite good odds for the player.
The great thing about this is that there isn’t much to think about, at least in the initial games.
Players can simply place their bets, sit back, and watch how the game goes. As they get better at Baccarat, they can place other types of bets.
Tip 3 – Bet the banker until it loses
Every player looks for a streak that they can capitalize on, and in Baccarat that streak is the banker. If a player places their initial banker wager and they win, they should keep going with it until they lose.
This comes with a caveat. Just because a player places a banker bet and wins doesn’t mean that they will win in the next round. Baccarat, like all other casino games, is a game of chance, and there is no way for players to predict whether or not they will win.
Tip 4 – After losing, wait a round before betting again
The player keeps betting on the banker until they lose. The temptation is to place another bet right away, maybe on the player this time. This isn’t a good idea. Players are advised to wait for the next decision and then place their bet.
Tip 5 – Players should be careful about how they handle their bankroll
There is a temptation to increase the size of bets, especially when a player is on a winning streak.
Before placing this kind of bet, it is important for players to remember that there are no guarantees – just because they won the last round doesn’t mean that they will win the next one.
Every player should think about how much they intend to spend and how long they plan to play. That way, they can decide how much they should wager for each game.
Advanced Baccarat strategies
As players get better and better at the game, they may want to advance their betting strategies. There are 4 that are commonly used in Baccarat and other casino games, and although they are relatively easy to master, they require careful thought.
This strategy means that the player doubles their bet every time they lose, so that when they eventually win they can make up for the preceding losses. After they win, they can reset and start again with their initial bet.
The main advantage of this strategy is that the player, if they win, can recoup their losses, but the problem with it is that it can be pretty daunting when a player is on a losing streak. It isn’t easy to keep doubling bets after every loss, and it can be quite expensive.
The Paroli strategy
It is also known as the reverse Martingale and the player does the opposite – rather than double their bet after every loss they do it after every win.
It is meant to take advantage of winning streaks, but the problem with it is that, because there are no guarantees, the player can lose a sizeable chunk if they bet on the wrong hand.
The Fibonacci system
Here, the player increases their bet after each hand according to the Fibonacci sequence which is one, one, two, three, five, eight, 13, and so on.
If a player starts with a $10 bet, for example, and they lose, they bet another $10 in the next round, and should they lose that they bet $20, then $30 and so on until they win.
The main advantage of this system is that the wins are sizeable, but the problem is that losses can be significant, and table limits sometimes get in the way.
The Labouchere system
This one is also known as the Split Martingale or the Cancellation system, and it allows players to adjust their bets based on a predetermined set of numbers.
The player can determine what numbers they want – say one, two, three, and four – and their first bet is the sum of the first and last number in the sequence. In this case, the player would bet on four plus one, which is five dollars.
It is a flexible approach because the player can choose the numbers that they want to bet on, but like all the systems discussed above, it isn’t foolproof.
Playing Baccarat online: etiquette and differences
Online Baccarat is a little different from the live version because there is no dealer. The betting limits also vary, and minimums are low, usually starting at $1.
The rules, however, remain the same, as do the types of bets a player can place. Etiquette is also important, and players should read the casino rules and regulations in advance so that they understand what’s expected.
It may be a good idea for new players to observe more experienced ones playing Baccarat so that they can learn more about the etiquette of the game.
A good place to see Baccarat players in action is Resorts Casino in New Jersey. It is one of the oldest establishments in the area and has all sorts of table games and online games.
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