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Tips and Strategies

Baccarat Tips

Tip #1: The one card placed faceup on the table indicates how many cards the dealer will burn. If the card turned up is a four of clubs, the dealer will burn four cards.

Tip #2: In baccarat, the casino takes a commission whenever a player wins a bet placed on the banker side. This is because betting on the banker has an inherent 1.06 percent advantage. Bets are paid at 0.95-to-1.

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Tip #3: Twos through nines are counted at face value; tens and all jacks, queens and kings count as zero; and aces count as one. Suit is irrelevant in baccarat.

Tip #4: First and third cards are dealt to the player. Second and fourth cards are dealt to the banker.

Tip #5: For any total over nine, only the last digit is taken - for example, a total composed of a six of clubs and a six of diamonds is two. If either the player or the banker has a total of eight or nine, it's called a "natural" and automatically wins - unless the other hand also has a natural, in which case the two hands tie.

Tip #6: If the player holds a total of less than six or seven, the player draws.

Tip #7: With a total from zero to two the bank always draws; with a total of seven the bank always stands; with a total of three the bank draws, unless the player drew and its third card was an eight; with a total of four the bank draws, unless the player drew and its third card was an eight, nine or ace; with a five the bank draws, unless the player drew a third card outside the range of four through seven; with a six the bank stands, unless the player drew a third card of either a six or a seven.

Blackjack Strategy

Basic blackjack strategy is defined as the proper play of cards knowing only your hand and the dealer's exposed card. It does not involve card counting or remembering which cards were played previously. The basic blackjack strategy is created through intensive computer simulations which perform a complete combinatorial analysis. In this method, the computer 'plays' tens of thousands of hands for each BlackJack situation possible and statistically decides which decision best favours the player.

Basic strategy is usually printed as tables with the dealer's upcard the first row and your two card combination the first column. The other entries in the table tell you what to do (Stand, Hit, Double-Down, Split) with the different combinations of dealer and player's hands. Basic blackjack strategy tables (8 decks, dealer stands on soft 17, double-down on any two cards, double after split allowed, no re-splitting of cards allowed, no surrender) are shown below for hard totals, soft totals, and pairs along with a legend.

Legend :
  • S - Stand
  • H - Hit
  • D - Double
  • Y - Yes, split
  • N - No, don't split

Hard Totals Dealer's Upcard
Your Cards 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
17 S S S S S S S S S S
16 S S S S S H H H H H
15 S S S S S H H H H H
14 S S S S S H H H H H
13 S S S S S H H H H S
12 H H S S S H H H H H
11 D D D D D D D D D H
10 D D D D D D D D H H
9 H D D D D H H H H H
8 H H H H H H H H H H
Soft Totals Dealer's Upcard
Your Cards 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
(A,9) S S S S S S S S S S
(A,8) S S S S S S S S S S
(A,7) S D D D D S S H H H
(A,6) H D D D D H H H H H
(A,5) H H D D D H H H H H
(A,4) H H D D D H H H H H
(A,3) H H H D D H H H H H
(A,2) H H H D D H H H H H
Pairs Dealer's Upcard
Your Cards 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
(A,A) Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
(10,10) N N N N N N N N N N
(9,9) Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y Y Y
(8,8) Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
(7,7) Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N N
(6,6) Y Y Y Y Y N N N N N
(5,5) N N N N N N N N N N
(4,4) N N N Y Y N N N N N
(3,3) Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N N
(2,2) Y Y Y Y Y Y N N N N

General Tips

It is a good idea to avoid tie bets altogether, since they give the house a significant advantage, close to 20%, in fact. By sticking to only the banker and player bets, the house advantage will remain at a minimum, thereby maximizing your chances of winning.

Betting on the player gives the house a 1.36% edge

Betting on the banker gives the house a 1.17% edge

Either way, the house has the edge and should win in the long run.

Some baccarat players believe in streaks and will bet on whatever won the last hand. This strategy does not give you better odds though as each hand is like the flip of a coin.

The Martingale Betting System

This dangerous sytem can dig you into a deep hole very quickly should you have a long string of losses.

It is an easy system to understand. You attempt to win 1 unit ($1/L1, or $5/L5, or whatever) on every hand. Your first bet is 1 unit on player or banker. If the bet is won, you start again at 1 unit. If the bet is lost, you double the next bet to 2 units. Winning at this stage gives you a win of 1 unit (1 unit lost followed by 2 units won). Should you lose again, then you double your bet again, this time to 4 units. And again, a win at this stage is of 1 unit (1 unit lost, 2 units lost and 3 units won). And so on until you win. Given a 'normal' sequence it should not be too long before you register a win which covers your losses and provides a win of 1 unit.

The object is to assemble a hand of two or three cards with a points value as close to nine as possible. The perfect hand is one that totals nine in the first two cards. Eight is the second-best hand and, along with the nine, it constitutes the two "natural" hands. The only hand that will beat a natural eight is a natural nine. If any player hand or the Bank has a natural eight or nine, the others may not draw a third card. In a tie, bets are called off.

Aces count as one, picture cards as 10 and the others their face value. If your hand total is in double figures, then the first figure is ignored. So a hand totalling 18 would count as eight.

The player with the most money is usually is declared the banker - this is the casino in Baccarat Banque and rotates in Chemin de Fer. The banker deals three hands of two cards each, face down. These hands are for two players, one to the right and one the left of the banker, plus his own hand. Other players at the table may bet on either hand (cheval) or both to beat the banker's hand. If a player declares "banco", it means they are betting the total value of the bank's funds and all other bets are withdrawn.

If either player has a count less than eight or nine, he may stand (saying "non") or get one more card face up (saying "carte"). The player must stand on six or seven and must draw on four or less. Casinos usually take their percentage of the bank and bets as their fee for the game.

This is one of the most basic and more widely spread money management system.

It works like this:

You double your stake, when you lose, and start all over again, when you win. Quite simple actually. This means that you will be ensured a profit, when you win.

Let's make an example: (odds 3) (betting on sports)

You bet 100$ on a home victory at odds 3, but you lose. Next time, you bet 200$ on another game at odds 3. Here you win, meaning a profit of 200$ x 3 - 200$ - 100$ = 300$. If you had lost, you should have increased the stake to 400$, then 800$ etc. No matter when you win, you will win back what you have lost plus a lot more in profit.

As can be seen from the graph below, having strong monetary backup is crucial. Most sources agree that in Black Jack, when using basic strategy, the odds stacked against you are of 50.25% This means that 11 consecutive losses will happen once every 2047 hands you play. If this is an acceptable risk to you, it means that you will need 2047 times your standard bet as funds ready to back up a losing streak.

The main problem is that the stakes grow very big very fast, when losing several times in a row, i.e. you need a very large betting fund or "bankroll". Another problem is the fact that the bookies and casinos operate with maximum bet limits.

To put a stop on the use of this very simple system, casinos instated minimums and limits on black jack and roulette tables and therefor, unless you can find a black jack table with a very wide limit range, you will not be able to apply this system.

Originally Martingale was used on Red/Black when playing Roulette (odds 2.00). This means that the risk is minimized, but also that the profit at each progression end will be only the starting-stake.

A Martingale II Variation

It is easy to see how the Martingale grows faster and faster as you keep losing and why you require so much money to support yourself through losing streaks.

The main problem with the Martingale is that it seeks to earn you money even when you are losing. Though not a bad idea, this is unnecessary and greatly affects the amount you need as back up.

The MII only seeks to make you make money on the second hand after a loss.

The MII simply seeks to have you regain the money lost without attempting to gain money even when you loose. You only double after the first loss, and after that you simply bet the amount that you have lost so far.

This means that the first win after a losing streak of more then 2 losses will not earn you anything but only cover what you have lost so far. This is based on the fact that long losing streaks are statistically less probable and therefor on the second hand you bet 10 rather then only 5. All subsequent hands, you will bet the total that you have lost so far, which comes down to doubling.

Making money when you loose is the catch phrase that draws people to the Martingale, but the essential here is not to make money when you lose, but to be able to afford a losing streak.

A dose of realism

As stated above, the Martingale can rarely be used in casino situations because of table limits. Although promising, the Martingale technique will eventually fail. What you have to hope is that the money earned will compensate for that losing streak. We defined an arbitrarily insurmountable losing streak probability we are willing to accept being of 1 in 2000, in our case it is actually 1 in 2047 on the 11th loss, because the 10th loss did not meet our criteria, being only 1 in 1024. Should you survive all losses and play 2046 hands before facing a bad streak of 11 consecutive losses, you would earn $10,235. Every Martingale winning hand earns you your minimum bet, every time, even after a losing streak. With the Martingale there is no loss, except the maximum losing streak you are willing to accept as risk. Unfortunately, the cost of the fatal losing streak is also of $10,235. In our case. Mathematically, this will balance out, always.

You can use this system and try to beat the 1 in 2000 odds, but this is not what this system is for. This system is meant to stretch your game time without any loss, so that you can turn the odds in your favor, through card counting and basic strategy. There is a high risk of losing much. The idea is that if you need 50 hands before getting what we call a "rich deck", then for 50 hands, your risk of losing everything is of 2.44260%. This means that the more there are people at the table, the faster you will get to a rich deck, if there is a rich deck to be had, because every turn the number of cards spent will be much more, lowering the number of turns and there for, your risk factor.

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