How to Beat the House Edge in Baccarat


Baccarat is one of the most popular games in casinos around the world. It’s easy to find online and in brick-and-mortar gambling establishments, and it’s a game that even a novice can learn to play very quickly. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some strategies to help you beat the house edge and come out ahead in the long run.

According to Bill Zender, a former Nevada Gaming Control Agent and casino executive who literally wrote the book on managing casino games, baccarat has grown in popularity over the past twenty years as it’s become more of a culturally relevant card game for Asian high rollers. While it has remained a popular choice for those players, the game has also grown in popularity among regular gamblers who appreciate its simple rules and low house edge.

The history of baccarat dates back centuries, starting with the popular medieval tarot cards and eventually becoming the game we know today as Punto Banco. Over the course of time, it has migrated from sticky-floor California card rooms to the tuxedo-laden casinos of Monaco and beyond. It’s now an incredibly common card game that can be found in every major casino from Macau to Las Vegas.

There are only three possible outcomes in a baccarat hand: your player hand winning, the banker hand winning, or a tie. If you wager on a winning player hand, you’ll receive a 1:1 payout, while the house will take a 5% commission on a winning banker hand. In addition to these two bets, some casinos offer a third betting option called the ‘tie’ that pays out 8-to-1. Score sheets are available at the table to keep track of your score.

Many baccarat bets can be made without ever leaving the comfort of your home, and there are even dedicated online baccarat platforms where you can place all of your bets with the click of a button. However, the sheer number of different baccarat bets can be a bit confusing for newcomers to the game.

A baccarat hand is scored by the sum of the values of the player and banker’s total. If the hand is a total of 9 or higher, it’s considered a ‘natural’ and no additional cards are drawn. If the hand is a total of 6 or 7, it’s known as a ‘standing’ and no further cards are dealt.

In addition to the Player, Banker and Tie bets, some casinos offer a variety of unique side bets. These often feature large payouts, but they can also carry a high house edge. It’s always best to steer clear of these bets and focus on the main bets that will give you the highest chance of winning.