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Baccarat house edge explained and tips on how to reduce it

Profile Picture: Simon Young

January 7th, 2021

For many, baccarat is something of a casino curiosity. They believe it is a game reserved for high rollers or sophisticated and suave patrons like James Bond. But the truth is, baccarat is a simple game that everyone can enjoy, no matter how much money they have.

Not only is it easy and fun, it has one of the lowest house edges in most casinos, meaning you are far more likely to make a profit on any given session than, say, roulette or the slots. And the good news doesn’t end there. There is a way to stack the odds in your favor even more.

But before we go on, let’s explain how baccarat is played and then look at the house edge.

You cannot influence the outcome

Unlike a game such as blackjack, where you can choose to take another card or stand, for example, you cannot make any decision to influence the outcome of a round of baccarat.

In this game, you have just one decision before the cards are dealt – to bet on the Banker, the Player, or a Tie. Once you place your bet, the dealer does the rest of the work, dealing cards to Banker and Player to see which of them comes out with a score closest to the magical total of nine. See here for our full baccarat playing guide.

While there are nuances about when an extra card can or cannot be taken, you need not worry about that because the dealer will do it all for you. You just have to sit back and relax, cocktail in hand, and hope to make some cash.

The odds of the Player or Banker winning are basically the same – but with a slight twist – and there is a 9 to 1 chance of a round being a tie.

Baccarat house edge

With the most likely outcome of a round being either a Player or Banker win, you can see why the house advantage in baccarat is so small. It would be like tossing a coin over and over again – in the end, the number of heads and tails would be quite even.

But why, you might reasonably ask, is the house edge in baccarat not zero? The answer is in the tiny advantage that the Banker has in a hand. Without getting into complicated theory, the Banker plays out its cards second, which is an advantage like it is in blackjack, where the player might bust before the dealer even has to play.

It’s a tiny advantage, as you will see:

  • Player win: 1.36% house edge
  • Banker win: 1.17% house edge
  • Tie: 14% house edge

Cutting your baccarat house edge

We shouldn’t get greedy and try to eliminate the house edge completely. If we did, no casino would make a profit, and so none would exist. Instead, we should play in a way that at least gives us the least chance of losing.

We can see from the three odds above that, straight away, we should avoid backing a tie. Yes, it pays out 9 to 1 if it hits, but the chances are such that the house cleans up in the long term.

Although it looks small, the house edge difference between Player and Banker bets is significant over the long term. Of course, if you planned to play only 20 or 50 rounds (or coups as they are known), you would not notice this difference. But if you were a serious player, enjoying thousands of rounds of baccarat, you most certainly would.

So, a Banker bet is always the best way to reduce the house edge.

Of course, nothing in gambling is so straightforward. There is a "but" to this Banker advantage. Because the house edge is lower, you do not get a straightforward 1:1 return on your money. You get your original stake back, plus another 95% as your profit, not 100%.

This commission causes many players to believe it evens the chances of Player or Banker winning, but the strong house edge remains, so Banker should always be your best bet.

Is there another way to reduce baccarat house edge?

The short answer is no. You have no other decisions you can make to influence what happens. Some players swear by betting strategies like the Martingale Strategy. Others look for patterns in the previous 10 or more rounds, figuring it will influence what happens next. Of course, it can’t.

For this reason, take the game at face value. Enjoy the fact that apart from reaching out and placing your bet, you need do nothing more; the dealer does everything for you.

Try baccarat today

Now you see there is no real mystique to it, why not give baccarat a go? You can even try it for free when you first sign up for BetAmerica Casino. But it’s much more fun playing for real money and trying to bring down that house edge. Remember to claim your first deposit bonus when you sign up.

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