Baccarat is a favorite in some of the world’s most prominent casinos, particularly amongst high rollers. Despite the allure, the game is extremely simple to play, even for beginners. To get started, you’ll just need to learn a few of the most important bets. First, there’s the banker bet. This wager typically pays off one to one, minus a five percent commission paid to the house. The banker bet is a favorite among players because it offers the best odds at the table. Next, there’s the player bet. The house advantage on this wager is just slightly higher than the banker.

Even with this slim disparity, going with the player bet isn’t a bad option. Finally, there’s the tie bet. Although the tie bet pays off eight to one, it’s generally acknowledged as a sucker’s bet. The house advantage on the tie is over 15 percent, making it a lame duck in what is an otherwise favorable game for casino goers.

With this information in mind, developing a betting strategy for baccarat is really simple. You can put your money on the banker bet every single hand without sacrificing on the odds. If you prefer to be a little more hands-on, though, there are some systems that have gained prominence over the years. For players adhering to a betting strategy, the player bet can be a preferable option. This is because the banker bet’s slightly lower than even payouts (after paying the five percent commission) can seriously complicate things. Giving the house a small advantage on the odds in order to make the math a bit easier at the table can be a worthwhile venture, particularly if you’re not completely comfortable with your strategy just yet.

Now that you’ve got a bit of background on the basics of baccarat, let’s get into betting systems. As with most games in the casino, players at the baccarat table have invested plenty of time and money into developing intricate betting strategies with questionable effectiveness designed to maximize winnings and minimize the damage caused by cold streaks. For the most part, baccarat betting strategies serve as a simple tool for helping you manage your winnings and losses throughout the night without getting too out of control. With no strategy, you may find yourself with an uncomfortably small pile of chips if the cards aren’t in your favor.

While developing a system can be a good way to stay within your limits, not all baccarat systems are created equal. In fact, some betting systems can be more of a nuisance than a benefit. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at a few baccarat systems that you should avoid at all costs.

The Martingale System

This betting system is popular in a variety of games, because it is theoretically foolproof. Unfortunately, this is one instance in which theory doesn’t necessarily translate into reality. Following the Martingale system, players will double their bets with every loss. The idea is that, eventually, you’ll win a hand, and, at that point, you’ll recoup any losses in addition to a tidy profit. While this may sound great, the Martingale system can also be a recipe for a quick night at the casino. Depending on the size of your bankroll, it may only take a few losses to have your wager at that pulse-pounding ‘make or break’ level. With a win, you’ll be back in the game. With a loss, you’ll be in your room for the remainder of the night with an unmistakable feeling of regret. Even though James Bond makes it look really cool, putting all your money on a single bet is never a good idea. As long as you’ve got money to play with, you’ve got a chance of turning it around. When you push all in and lose, though, your night is over.

Before turning to this aggressive betting system, consider the reasons why you enjoy baccarat. Sure, winning is a great bonus, but most players go to the casino for other reasons. Slow down, and enjoy the ride. You might just find yourself with a bigger bankroll when all is said and done.

The Labouchère System

This betting system is sometimes called the split Martingale, because it follows a similar pattern to the previously discussed strategy. With the Labouchère, players decide how much they want to win and write down a list of numbers that add up to the goal. From this list, the player will make a wager. If the wager is successful, that number is crossed off the list. If unsuccessful, the wager is added to the bottom of the list. Eventually, either the list is completely crossed off or the player is out of money. High risk, high reward.

While these systems work with limitless bankrolls, they don’t have any effect on the house edge. While baccarat features a modest house edge, the advantage still exists. The longer you play, the better the odds of your winnings reflecting this disparity. For that reason, the best baccarat strategy is to play in concise bursts, understanding when to walk away. If Lady Luck is on your side and you find yourself up, remember that the house edge is waiting in the wings to pull you back down. Walking away when you’re winning is the best way to ensure that the house edge doesn’t come back to bite you.

Progressive baccarat systems are extremely popular – including the Martingale and Labouchère, as well as the Paroli System and the 1-3-2-6 system. Despite their popularity, none of these betting systems overcome the built-in advantage that makes baccarat a worthwhile game for casino operators. The best strategy to employ at the baccarat table may be no strategy at all. Take a seat, enjoy the atmosphere and hope for a run of luck that helps you beat the odds. Bet on the banker and stop playing if your predetermined limit is reached. You won’t win every time, but this simple system gives you the best odds over the long run.


Simon is an overactive gambler and the Staff Writer here at Silver Oak. He loves casino bonuses, online slots, and using the em dash too often. Currently, he rests his typing hands in Vancouver, Canada.