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What is a baccarat shoe: Follow the shoe betting explained

Profile Picture: Simon Young

October 20th, 2020

Baccarat is something of a curiosity, a game where you don’t have to think much because the dealer does all the work. There are three outcomes to each round: Player win at 1/1, Banker win at 19/20 (1/1 minus a 5% house commission), and a Tie at 9/1. You only have to decide which of the three places to back.

Each side gets at least two cards, and the idea is to get as close to nine points as possible.

With the outcome most likely to be Player or Banker, it’s usually a 50/50 outcome (minus that small amount of commission or the unlikely chance of a Tie) and you will win even money.

Players have been trying to devise winning betting systems in live and online baccarat and other 50/50 casino bets like red or black in roulette for generations. But aside from good bankroll management, is there really anything you can do to improve your chances of winning?

Follow the shoe betting

The shoe is the box that holds the cards used to deal baccarat hands. Usually, the shoe holds six or eight decks of cards, enough to make second-guessing what the next cards to be dealt will be almost impossible.

With that in mind, some players believe their best chance of beating the game lies in their trust in the game hands running in mini-streaks – so perhaps a couple of wins on Player, or a couple of wins on Banker in a row.

Their system works like this: if the Player wins the previous hand, then you bet on the Player again. You are "following the shoe" by trusting that you will catch the start of a mini-streak and the next hand will be won by the Player.

If the Banker goes on to win the next hand, then you back the Banker again on the hand after that. And so you continue until you decide enough is enough, and it’s time to get up and leave the table.

It’s the Gambler’s Fallacy in reverse

The problem with following the shoe and seeking a baccarat shoe pattern is that it is almost impossible to find one. The well-known Gambler’s Fallacy states that just because one 50/50 outcome happens this time, it does not make it more likely the opposite will happen next. Following the shoe is the reverse of the Gambler’s Fallacy – the belief that when a 50/50 happens, it will happen again.

As you know, the outcome of any 50/50 bet, let’s say the toss of a coin, is entirely independent of anything that has gone on before it. For example, just because I have tossed two heads in a row, it cannot possibly affect what will happen on my next toss; it certainly doesn’t make tails more likely, because each new toss starts with a 50/50 chance.

The same can be said of the baccarat shoe. You must always assume the next win is randomly Player or Banker (or a Tie) because you simply cannot predict the outcome with any certainty.

Keep an eye on the baccarat shoe results

As is the case with the games at BetAmerica Casino, most online baccarat tables keep a visual record of previous table results. Take a look back through these, and you will quickly see there is no discernible pattern.

Sure, there will be mini-streaks of Player or Banker wins where, had you followed the baccarat shoe, you would have scored a nice profit, but that’s only worth noting if you left the table at that moment and pocketed the winnings. The reality is, most of us would keep going, and the longer you play, the more even your winnings/losses become.

And because the casino always has an edge, you could play 250,000 baccarat shoes and not break even. Why? Well, you would lose your wager each time there was a tie, and as we’ve seen, you only get paid out 19/20 when the Banker wins.

Treat tracking baccarat shoe results as fun

So long as you treat strategy systems like following the shoe as a bit of fun, then you will enjoy some extra entertainment for your next baccarat session.

But you should not be disappointed when you don’t make your fortune from following the shoe. If the system worked, we would all be doing it, and we’d all be filthy rich.

Give baccarat a try and ride a streak

If you sign up to BetAmerica Casino today, you can play online baccarat tables and live dealer baccarat tables and put your follow the shoe strategy to the test. You can even play for free before making your first deposit and putting your money on the line.