Baccarat is the king of casino games in Macau and Asia, but in the end it’s winning a baccarat game that brings you big wins and bragging rights. It can be a life-changing experience, as one big tournament can bring in up to millions of dollars in prize money. When playing baccarat cash games in casinos, what you have to do is to choose whether the banker wins or the player wins. What makes baccarat games unique is that your goal is not to win mountains of chips. It’s about playing better than other baccarat players – by winning more or losing less than your opponent. The key to winning a baccarat game is money management skills. You need to know how many chips you have and how many chips your opponents have, and bet with the principle of getting the best chance of finishing with more chips than the other players. You shouldn’t really care if you have a lot of chips, it’s the difference between your chips and your opponent’s.
Baccarat Skills Teaching
Before we get into hands-on strategy teaching, let’s take a look at some basic concepts that all game experts are familiar with. The order of bets is important. Unlike baccarat cash games, the order in which players place their bets is critical. If you can see which side your opponent is betting on (banker or player), or how much, or usually both, it will be an important basis for your own betting decisions. Let’s say you have 100,000 in chips and a key opponent you are trying to beat has 90,000. Now that your opponent bets player 20,000, you should bet with player 20,000 too!
Whether the banker wins, the player wins, or a draw, you still have a 10,000 chip lead at the end of the hand. Because of this phenomenon, tournaments have specific rules for the order of bets, just like in poker. The difference is that in baccarat the table players turn counter-clockwise, while in poker it is clockwise.
Understanding the “first note” mark
Because of the importance of the order of bets, baccarat games use a “first bet” marker, a bit like the banker’s tick in poker, except that the player holding the marker is the first to bet, not the last. As in poker, this marker is passed to the next player after each hand (counter-clockwise, not clockwise) so that each player gets a fair deal in the order of betting. Once the mark is uploaded on the desktop for a round, it is called a “round”. Occasionally a game has special rules: after a tie, the “first bet” marker does not move. This doesn’t really matter that much, since ties only occur about 10% of the time. You have a huge advantage over the players to your left. When you bet behind a player, you have a big advantage; conversely, when he bets behind you, he also has a big advantage over you. Usually the player on your left bets ahead of you and the player on your right bets later than you (depending on the exact position of the “first bet” marker), so you have an advantage over the player on your left and the player on your right has an advantage over you . The closer the players are, the greater the advantage, so you need to be more alert to the players on your right and not worry too much about the players on your left. Having fewer chips than the player on the right is a much bigger problem than having the same amount as the player on the left, especially if your opponent on the right knows how to use his positional advantage effectively. The banker is more likely to win any hand. Because of baccarat’s distribution rules, the banker wins 45.9% of the time, the player wins 44.6% of the time, and 9.5% of the time it’s a draw. Bet a tie only on the last hand. A tie is a big house edge bet. A tie occurs 9.5% of the time, and the odds are only 8/1, giving the house a 14.5% advantage. If you bet too much on a tie, you’ll find your stake dwindling rapidly. It’s best to avoid betting on ties, but surprisingly, almost all last-hand strategies involve a crucial tie. This is because by the time the final hand is reached, house edge is no longer an important consideration, and maximizing the chance of overtaking the opponent is the main goal. We’ll talk more about this later, but just remember for now: never bet on a tie before the last hand, and almost always bet max on a tie on the last hand.
Play Baccarat Betting Strategy
Know the preferred bet
Despite the 5% commission, betting on banker is a slightly better bet than betting on player. If you need to bet on banker or player for no special reason, you should bet on banker, but you should be prepared to change your choice at any time due to various reasons. The deeper you go into a game, the more reasons. If the casino doesn’t charge commissions, but the banker’s house is 6 and the odds are 1/2 (or half), the player bet becomes the preferred bet.
Keep records and calculations
We all know that 4, 5 or 6 cards are required to make a baccarat hand, and the average hand uses exactly 4.94 cards. Since it’s so close to 5, you can use 5 cards as if it were a hand. This knowledge can be used to help you calculate how close you are to the end of the game.
Suppose a game uses an 8-deck shoe, discard the top 10 cards and the bottom 10 cards of the shoe. This means that (8 x 52) – 10 – 10 = 396 cards will appear before the cut, or about 80 hands. By making these records, you can know how many hands are left. It’s a bit like looking at the clock at a sports game and knowing how long it is until the end of the game. Before the shoe is over, you can figure out early and late betting for the last few key hands. Usually seats are pre-arranged during a race, but if you’re lucky enough to pick your own seat and know where the “first bet” marker starts (usually from seat 1 on the table), you can extrapolate, the last lap Which seat is most likely to be the last bet (or bet late) is the best seat.
Don’t Confuse Checking and Secret Betting
Some baccarat games allow checking. These are not secret bets, they just allow you to bet zero on this hand. Checking is not particularly important, as there is usually very little difference between a zero bet and a minimum bet. If I have a check option in the tournament, I’ll save it for the end, as it might come in handy on the last hand or the last few hands.
Know when to use secret bets
Most baccarat tournaments allow secret bets, but have a limited number of uses. A secret bet completely wipes out the advantage of betting first (or betting early), as the bet does not appear on the table, but is written secretly on a piece of paper and handed to the match supervisor. Your bets will not be announced until all players have placed them. This is equivalent to your last bet, but out of order. Of course if you’re betting last (or betting late) anyway, never waste a secret bet opportunity! You should, without exception, leave a secret betting opportunity for the last hand (if you are out before the last hand, there should be an untouched secret betting opportunity). If you have more than one chance to bet secretly (many games give three), save one for the last hand and use the other few times when you must bet first, or must bet ahead of your most crucial opponent. You can also reserve the second secret betting opportunity for the penultimate hand, the third secret betting opportunity for the penultimate hand, and so on.
Early in the game I don’t see any impact
I can’t see a reason why you shouldn’t check on the secret bet, but if you do, be careful not to turn in the check with the secret bet! Your opponents will see your bets at a glance!
Casinos occasionally stipulate that the “First Bet” marker does not move after a tie. Under this rule, an average of 5.46 cards of the “first bet” token is passed once.
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