The House Edge in Baccarat


The game of Baccarat is one of the most popular casino games on the planet, and for good reason. It’s a simple game with straightforward rules, and the payout odds are quite favorable. Despite these great odds, the house edge is still present.

To mitigate this edge, players must practice smart bankroll management. This means setting a budget and sticking to it. It’s also wise to limit your play sessions to two hours or less, as this will help you avoid high losses. In addition, players should always look for a baccarat game that uses fewer decks. Those with fewer decks have a lower house edge on the ’Banker’ bet, which can help reduce the impact of losing streaks.

Players must choose whether to bet on the ‘Banker’, ’Player’, or a ‘Tie’ hand before the cards are dealt. Once a player makes their selection, the dealer will deal two cards to the ‘Banker’ and two to the ‘Player’. If either the ‘Banker’ or ‘Player’ hand totals nine, they win. If neither of these hands equals nine, a third card may be drawn to determine the winner. In most cases, a hand value is determined by adding up the sum of all the cards in the hand. However, the first digit of the total is dropped. For example, a hand made of seven and six would be valued at 13; but since the first digit is dropped, the hand is actually worth three points.

When a hand totals 8 or 9, it is called a “natural” and no third card is drawn. A winning player hand with a total of 9 qualifies for a 1 to 1 payout, while a winning banker hand wins nine times the amount wagered. However, the banker must pay a 5% commission to the game’s croupier, which can reduce the payout odds on this bet to 19 to 20.

According to Bill Zender, a former Nevada Gaming Control Agent and casino executive, baccarat has grown in popularity among Asian high rollers. He says that the game is a natural fit for their cultural preferences, and has become a mainstay at many of their favorite casinos. However, he warns that it’s important for casinos to manage the game carefully to protect their bottom line. For this reason, Zender recommends a bankroll management strategy that combines flat betting with pattern trends. This system, known as the 1-3-2-6 System, is a simple way to track your results and manage your bets. The first step in this baccarat strategy is to start flat betting and fill out your results on a baccarat score board sheet. Once you have a clear picture of the results, follow the pattern trend. If it’s a zigzag pattern, alternate between betting on the banker and player hands. Otherwise, continue betting on the same side until the pattern turns.