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 Baccarat Systems


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Baccarat Strategies and Systems


Strategies and Systems

Baccarat Chemin-de-Fer and Baccarat-en-Banque strategies

American Las Vegas Style Baccarat systems

General Principles of Baccarat systems

The Types of Baccarat Systems

Examples of Baccarat Systems

Selection Methods of Bet Positions


“Strategies” and “Systems”

The terms “strategies” and “systems” are often used synonymously. However, many gambling analysts draw an important distinction between them. That distinction is relevant to Baccarat. In precise terms a “strategy” means playing strategy – the number of rules, instructions or criteria that help a player to make a decision on how to play his current hand and/or increase or decrease his bet size. According to his strategy he might draw an additional card or stand with his initial cards dealt to him in the beginning of a playing round. A playing strategy can be based on logical analysis, mathematics, observed facts supported by relevant statistics. It can’t be based on the predetermined mechanical varying of the bet size, feelings, intuition, superstitions and other nonsense. A “system” is a wider term that in addition to playing strategy also may include a betting system – a manipulation of the bets (changing their size and positions they are made on), which is planned before the game and without any kind of analysis during the game. For ex, in Roulette there are no possible strategies – only betting systems can be employed by the players trying to get lucky in a short term. On the other hand, in Blackjack a pure playing strategy – Basic Strategy - is widely used. In Baccarat both playing strategies and betting systems are possible, but which one can be used depends on the type of Baccarat that you play. Unfortunately, in American Baccarat, the playing strategies do not exist due to the complete elimination of the player and banker options to draw or to stand. The decisions to draw or to stand are automatic and determined by the rules only. Thorp and Griffin (“The Theory of Blackjack) both proved that “no practical card counting systems are possible” for American Baccarat, which could help to take advantage of the drastic bet increase before the next round. At the same time Baccarat Chemin-de-Fer and Baccarat-en-Banque allow some logical analysis to be used as a playing strategy, because these varieties of Baccarat provide the player and the banker with the freedom of choice in specific situations and let them to make the decisions about standing or drawing.

Baccarat Chemin-de-Fer strategies

Because the stakes are made before any card is dealt, the purpose of a possible playing strategy is to know when to draw the third card and when to stand with the first two cards. Most of the situations exclude for the player the option of drawing or standing and the decisions are enforced by the rules only. The player must always draw if his starting hand is baccarat (equals zero) or has a value of 1, 2, 3, or 4. He is not allowed to draw if the total of his two cards is 6 or 7. The only case when a player has a choice of action is when his  first two cards give his hand a value of 5. Ludovic Billard (“Breviaire du Baccara Experimental” 1883) insisted that from the mathematical point of view it does not make any difference to draw or not to draw to 5. However, it is really important for a player not to give any ideas to the banker, through verbal statements or through exhibited patterns in drawing or standing, about what a player usually does when he has a 5. If the banker knows that the player usually draws to 5, then the next time the player stands, the banker knows that he has at least 6 or 7. On the other hand if the banker came to conclusion that the player never draws to a 5, then if the player draws that obviously means that the player has 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4. In order to avoid any recognizable patters, a player should sometimes stand and sometimes draw to a 5. Buillard recommends to stand at five when the player makes big bets and to draw when the bets are small.

The strategy for the banker is more complicated due to more banker’s drawing and standing options. When the banker has baccarat, 1, or 2 he is bound by the rules to take the third card. He can’t draw when he has 7. When he has 3, 4, 5 or 6, then what he does depends on the 3rd card given to a player. If the banker has a 3 or 5 and the third card of a player is 9 or 4 respectively, the banker has an option of drawing or standing. In these two cases his playing strategy will depend on the analysis of the current situation, which involves the knowledge of the player’s style of play when a player has starting hand of 5. The 3 tables below show possible banker strategies according to what the banker knows about the player’s game.

The Banker knows that the Player
 does not draw at 5
The Banker knows that the Player
draws at 5
The Banker does not know what the Player
 does when he has 5
Banker has Player draws 4 Player draws 9 Banker has Player draws 4 Player draws 9 Banker has Player draws 4 Player draws 9
3   STAND 3   STAND 3   Does not matter: Stand or Draw
5 Does not matter: Stand or Draw   5 DRAW   5 DRAW  


Baccarat-en-Banque strategies

The rules of Baccarat-en-Banque and Baccarat Chemin-de-Fer are the same. The set up is different. Instead of one active player representing all players in Chemin-de-Fer, there are two active players in Baccarat-en-Banque representing the players on the left and the right side of the banker. The banker should disregard the side, which has an active player with the smaller bet and use the same strategies outlined in the previous 3 tables against the more important hand of a bigger player. The larger the difference between the bets on the left and the right sides, the better position the banker is in.

American Baccarat Systems

The rules of American Baccarat equally strip the banker and the player of any drawing or standing options. Such rigid rules turned beautiful Chemin-de-Fer into its mindless American variety. The game became a mechanical process without any playing input from the players during the game. There is no possible playing strategy. All the players can do is to use pre-planned before the game betting systems, according to which they choose what position to bet on and how to vary the bet size. The problem with the betting baccarat systems is that they don’t change the long-term house percentages against the players. In result, a player is guaranteed to be a long-run loser.The house percentage against a player position is 1.36% and it is 1.17% against a banker. No matter what kind of betting baccarat system a player will choose, if he will always bet on a player, he’ll be losing at a rate of 1.36% on every dollar. If he’ll bet on a banker his loss rate will always be 1.17%. If he’ll mix his positions, his disadvantage will be between these two numbers, and the exact percentage will be determined by the relative frequencies of the played positions. If a player will include in his betting system a "Tie" bet, which has a 14% advantage for the house, the player's disadvantage will increase significantly.

Most players strictly follow three general principles when using betting baccarat systems:
1)      Always increase your bet size (progress) as you win;
2)      Keep your bet minimal when you are losing;
3)      Never fight the trend and switch your position as soon as your position lost few times in a row.

Following examples will illustrate these principles. Suppose a player bets $10 and wins 5 times and loses 6th bet. His win will be 5x10 – 10 = + $40. If, instead of keeping his bet flat $10, he starts gradually increasing his bet size after first two wins, his betting progression might look like: 10, 10, 15, 30, 45 and 45. His win under previous assumption will grow to 10 + 10 + 15 + 30 + 45 - 45 = + $65. This example and endless similar examples show how beneficial it is to raise the stakes during the winning streak. Betting progression like that can help a player to come out a winner after a short session even if he has lost more bets than he won, because he was playing big bets when winning and small ones when loosing. It is an absolute must for a player using betting systems to progress bet-size wise, if he wants to win and win big in baccarat. On the other hand if a player is losing, he has to keep bet’s size minimal. In he loses at any point of the betting progression, he has to stop progression and start a new one with the first minimal bet. Mike Goodman popularized 1, 2, 3 and 5 progression in the 1960s. Mike was a professional gambler himself and also worked as a pit boss and casino executive. He challenged all famous experts of his era, including Thorpe and Scarne, to debate in public any gambling issues but his challenge was never met. His progression is expressed in units, and unit can be a dollar amount of your choice, which will permit the development of this progression without hitting a house limit. Besides allowing a higher profit potential in comparison with a flat betting, Mike’s betting progression, like the progression in our example, does not require any additional money from you after the second successful bet. After the second bet you are increasing your bets with casino money. Also, after the 2nd bet, a player starts taking down a little after every successful bet. After the 5th successful bet you can lower your next bet, you can start progression from the beginning, you can bet again 5 unit bet and if successful go to even higher bet etc… Possibilities in creating variations of this progression and similar progressions are endless. With minimal imagination you can create as many as you want and they will be effective in the same way as long as they follow the same principles. The third important rule for the baccarat systems players is to never fight the trend. A well-known baccarat player Lyle Stuart recommends “The Rule of Three”. If for ex, you bet 3 times on the player and lost three times in a row, switch your position to the banker for the next bet. Don’t even think to be stubborn and keep betting on a player. 

There are two basic types of the betting baccarat systems used by the players.

The first type is the betting system that tries to recover the losses of the previous bets. The simple example is this progression: 1, 2, 3 and 6. The 3rd and the 4th bets in this progression, if won, will recover the losses of the previous bets. The classical example is Martingale, which requires a doubling-up of the previous bet: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 etc…The last winning bet recovers all previous losses and gives a one unit profit. However, Martingale progression can reach the house bet limit very fast and a player will not be able to recover his losses.

The second type gives the best chance to a player to have a winning session. It follows the three principles explained above. It is an offensive system that tries to capitalize on a winning streak using increased bets. The baccarat systems of that type aim to win big, even if the total number of winning hands will be less than the number of losing hands. Two examples of betting progressions above belong to this category.

Many players use classical Roulette systems and their numerous variations, which work with even money bets - systems like "Paroli", "Garcia", "Labouchere" and many others.

There are few ways the players choose their bet positions. Some players make the same bet that won previous hand. If the banker won, they bet on the banker. With this bet selection, the players win a lot if there is a winning streak in progress. If the wins fall on the banker and on the player alternately, the players lose a lot. Other players bet on the opposite to the previous bet. If the previous successful bet has been the player, they bet on the bank. These players will win a lot if the bank and the player win alternately, but loose otherwise. The well- known “avant-dernier” bet selection method, trying to get the best of both worlds, chooses the winning bet previous to the last one. If the sequence of the decisions was for ex. b, p, b, p, b, p, b, b, b, b, b, b, the player who would bet according to “avant-dernier”  starting with the third bet, would win all the bets with the exception of the second bet within the streak of the winning bets on the banker.

Copyright Progress Publishing Co. 2006


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