If you’ve ever stepped into a sticky-floor California card room or the tuxedo-laden casinos of Monaco, chances are you’ve seen baccarat being played. The game can be a bit confusing to newcomers, but it’s simple: players place wagers on whether the Banker or Player will win each round. A hand with a value closest to nine wins; if both hands are equal in value, it results in a tie. The game differs slightly depending on if you’re playing the Punto Banco (where all actions are pre-determined) or the chemin de fer (“dealer’s choice”) version, but the fundamentals remain the same.
The game begins after the players place their bets, and two cards are dealt to the Player and Banker hands. A third card may be dealt to either or both of these hands in some cases. A hand with a total closer to nine wins; if both hands are identical in value, it results in a tie. If either the Banker or Player hand contains an eight or a nine in their first two cards, it’s called a “natural,” and the hand is an automatic winner. Otherwise, further cards are drawn to decide which hand is the winner.
Many baccarat systems are advertised as foolproof ways to boost your winnings in this popular casino game. In reality, these are simply smoke and mirrors designed to lighten your wallet. Some, like Phil Ivey’s baccarat system, even ended up costing him his reputation as a gentleman gambler. However, there are some sound gambling principles that will make you a better baccarat player for free.
One of the most important baccarat tips is to stick to the rules. Breaking the rules of baccarat will set you up for frustration and constant losing, and that’s something you want to avoid.
Another good baccarat tip is to always make your bets on the player side, and only switch to the banker bet when you feel it’s time for a change. Lastly, don’t make the tie bet — it pays well, but you’ll need a certain amount of luck to win it, and you’ll be better off sticking with your bet on the player.
There are plenty of other baccarat strategies out there, but these six should get you started. Remember, it’s important to study the rules before playing, and never stop learning. Sticking to the rules will improve your odds of winning at baccarat more than any other strategy you could pay for. And don’t forget to enjoy yourself! The best baccarat players are those who have fun.