Many gamblers are curious about the roped-off baccarat tables they’ve seen at land based casinos. Quite a few have never stepped behind the ropes to find out what baccarat is all about.
Even among those who do, more than a few myths and misconceptions prevail. In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the most common misunderstandings which gamblers have about playing baccarat.
If you have been intimidated by the game in the past, this may be enough to get you past the mental ropes that are holding you back and to the tables.
And regardless of your experience level with baccarat, hopefully clearing up a few of these misconceptions will help you do better at the game.
First, let’s tell you about where to play some Baccarat, then let’s get to our myths list!
A Super Quick List of the ‘Where’s’
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With a name like MyBookie, you may think that they are a sportsbook only. Like the others mentioned however, they also offer up a great online casino for you.
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Lastly, for you non-US players, is CloudBet. CloudBet is a bitcoin only casino, but you still need to know about them. Why?
Where else are you going to find a casino that will match your deposit up to 5 btc?!
Unlike the others in the list, they do not offer up a sportsbook, but for a match up to 5 btc even with the price of btc today, ($10,882.40), do you really need one?
And Without Further Ado, We Present 10 Baccarat Myths and Misconceptions
A Progressive Betting System Will Help You Win
Leading the 10 baccarat myths list, among gamblers playing baccarat, progressive betting “systems” such as Martingale are very popular.
These are systems where you adjust your stake sizes as you play. You progressively wager more and more, which is where they get their name.
Many players are under the misconception that progressive betting systems “work” for baccarat and other games. But they don’t.
As an example, let’s take the Martingale system. When you stake your bets according to this system, you double your wagers every time you lose.
Why would you do this? Because theoretically, you cannot lose forever, and when you win, your winning bet will be large enough to compensate for the preceding losses and give you a profit.
Why doesn’t it work? Because bankrolls have limits, and when you double you bet size every time you wager during a losing streak, you will be surprised by just how rapidly you bust.
It is also worth pointing out that progressive betting systems do nothing to actually strategically give you a better chance of winning your bets.
If you really want to try using a progressive betting system on baccarat, feel free to do so. But you’ll discover sooner or later that it is not a winning strategy. In fact, all it will do is accelerate the demise of your bankroll.
Key Point: Martingale and other progressive betting systems will not help you win baccarat. They will just speed up the rate at which you burn through your bankroll.
Baccarat is Complicated
Another common myth about baccarat is that it must be super complicated. Why else would the tables be roped off? Why else would the game draw only the rich? And why else wouldn’t more people play it? This may be among the biggest of the 10 baccarat myths.
And surely if James Bond played it so often (as portrayed in multiple books and films), it must have some challenge to it, yes?
First of all, the game doesn’t draw only the rich. Many, many people play it, but more on those points later.
As to James Bond, well, a spy would be the first person to point out to you that appearances can be deceiving.
Baccarat is far from complicated. In fact, it is almost absurdly simple, because it is a game of chance (see below).
If you are looking for a fast guide to the rules of the game and how it is played, see our crash course on baccarat.
Incidentally, you can also find out how to play baccarat by reading Casino Royale. Ian Fleming describes how to the game is played in detail in the book.
Key Point: Baccarat is not a complicated game. While James Bond may have enjoyed it, you do not need to be James Bond to figure out the rules and play it.
Baccarat is a Game of Skill
Just as many people assume that baccarat must be complicated, many also assume that it must be a challenge game of strategy where skill determines outcomes.
In actuality, it is only a combination of mathematical probabilities and luck which determines all wins and losses.
This is why the house edges for each of the three main types of baccarat bets are constant, and are as follows:
- Player bet: 1.24%
- Banker bet: 1.06%
- Tie bet:14.36%
You can no more come up with a strategy to beat baccarat than you can come up with a strategy to beat a slot machine.
So why might you be under the misconception that baccarat is a game of skill?
Perhaps it is because you have heard it so many times, including from sources that really should do their research before reporting as much incorrectly.
Even the New York Times has made this error.
Key Point: Baccarat is not a game of skill on any level. It is 100% luck-based, and there is nothing you can do to increase your chances of winning on any hand.
The House Edge of Baccarat is Always One of the Lowest
Again, let’s review the house edges for the main three baccarat bets:
- Player bet: 1.24%
- Banker bet: 1.06%
- Tie bet:14.36%
The Player and Banker bets are indeed among the lowest edges you will find. This makes baccarat an excellent choice if you want to keep to games where the house’s advantage over you isn’t a big one.
But notice how high the house edge for the tie bet is. This is one of the worst bets you can make on any casino game.
Some players wager on the tie without first looking up the house edge on the bet, because they are under the misconception that all the baccarat bets have low edges.
But now you know better, and can avoid the tie bet.
Key Point: The Player and Banker bets feature low house edges. The tie bet, on the other hand, features a high one.
Baccarat is a Game That is Purely for the Wealthy
Coming in halfway on our 10 baccarat myths list, is that it’s only for the rich,
The image of baccarat as a high-class game is pretty well entrenched by now, even though things have changed regarding the game’s presentation over the years.
Despite the fact that baccarat tables today are often more egalitarian in their appearance than those of the past, it is the image of the past which sticks in our minds.
If you are asked to picture a baccarat table in your mind, details which you are likely to focus on will include – the ropes surrounding the table. Being sectioned off from the rest of the casino floor. Expensive clothing worn by the players.
Today, if you were to walk into a land-based casino, particularly in Asia, you might not even notice the baccarat tables. You might even mistake them at a glance for blackjack tables. The ropes are usually gone, as is the formal attire.
High rollers do continue to flock to baccarat tables, sometimes wagering more than $500,000 on the outcome of a baccarat hand.
But baccarat tables are also open to players with medium and small bankrolls as well as those who simply are more conservative in their money management.
While many of these lower stakes tables exist offline, you will find numerous more opportunities online to play a modest game of baccarat.
Key Point: Baccarat is not a game which is only for the wealthy, despite the image you may have in your head.
Baccarat is Not as Popular as Blackjack
If you ask most people to start listing off casino games, their list will probably go something like this: “Slots, poker, blackjack, roulette…”
Perhaps they will name baccarat at some point, but it is quite likely to fall below at least three of the four games mentioned above.
Despite the fact that baccarat is an afterthought for quite a few people, especially those who only have a casual interest in gambling, it is actually a huge deal, especially in Asia.
And actually, despite the fact that many people think of blackjack before they think of baccarat, blackjack’s popularity has been declining, while baccarat’s popularity is on the rise.
If you want to know just how big a deal baccarat is in Asia, statistics reveal that this game pretty much powered the rise of Macau to overtake Las Vegas as the world’s capital for gambling.
The 2018 numbers particularly emphasize how critical baccarat is to Macau’s success. 88% of all revenue that year came from baccarat games.
If you’re wondering why baccarat is so prominent in the East and not the West, it has to do with cultural differences both in terms of how the game is perceived as well as what is valued in gambling.
While playing a game of chance has appeal to gamblers in all parts of the world, to players in Asia, that appeal is infused with deep cultural superstition.
Eastern players are less likely to convince themselves that they have some sort of strategic edge while playing baccarat than those in the West. But the difference is that they are not looking for such an edge, and actually prefer to be entirely at the mercy of chance.
It is also Eastern players who have paved the way toward the changes in baccarat’s presentation. Players who enthusiastically cast their fates into the hands of invisible forces in Asia could care less about what is visible, including affectations of status and wealth.
This is why the ropes around baccarat tables are disappearing, along with all the fancy evening wear.
If you find this topic interesting, it is well worth doing some research on it. You will probably find the complex interplay of culture, beliefs and baccarat fascinating.
Key Point: Western gamblers often think of blackjack before they think of baccarat, but this reflects gambling trends of the past. Blackjack’s popularity is dropping globally, and baccarat’s popularity is rising, especially in the East.
You Should Switch Between Betting on the Banker and Betting on the Player
Even players who are well aware that baccarat is a game of chance can easily be seduced into thinking that that there are strategies which can be employed. This is another one of the biggest 10 baccarat myths.
How does that work? Often, the problem is that even if a player knows that baccarat is a game of chance, that player may have a fundamental misunderstanding of what chance means.
For instance, a player might employ a strategy like this:
- If one is enjoying a winning streak betting on the banker, continue placing bets on the banker, because banker bets are “hot.”
- If a winning streak betting on the banker ends, switch to betting on the player, because banker bets have “gone cold.”
This thinking does acknowledge that luck is determining wins and losses. But it asserts that the mathematical odds are fluctuating from bet to bet based on what has happened in the past.
A winning streak is really only a “thing” for you. It is a collection of wagers you have won back-to-back, entirely by coincidence.
There is no underlying reality of continuity. There is no streak in the eyes of luck, which is blind to events in the past and the future. For probabilities, there is only the present moment, the present outcome. There is not hot or cold. The temperature is always the same.
The misconceptions players have about baccarat in this regard are connected to the Gambler’s Fallacy, a cognitive distortion which causes us to believe the following:
An event which has been happening with high frequency in the recent past will happen with diminished frequency in the future, and vice versa.
The idea that you should hold onto a hot winning streak is actually an inverted version of this. It is the belief that an event which has been happening with high frequency in the recent past will continue to in the future.
Both the Gambler’s Fallacy and this inversion of it have in common the same error in thinking. The false belief in continuity in a situation of complete luck.
All hands are independent of one another. All outcomes are discrete and disconnected.
If you never forget that, you will stop thinking that “hot” or “cold” conditions exist in baccarat, slots, roulette and other games of chance.
When planning your bets according to logic alone, there is no reason ever to switch from betting on the banker to betting on the player.
The 1.06% house edge on the banker bet is always superior.
This is why the only “strategy” worth employing when playing baccarat is just to bet continuously on the banker.
That way you never give the house more of an advantage over you than you need to.
Key Point: Baccarat players often make the mistake of believing that there is a good reason to vary their bets at baccarat. But in truth, the most sensible way to play the game is to wager on the banker each and every time. There is never a point at which it is logical to do anything else.
Every Baccarat Game Has the Same Commissions
Did you know that commissions for baccarat games can vary? This is useful to be aware of, since when the commissions change, so do the house edges for the different types of bets.
It is even possible to find versions of baccarat which are commission free. To compensate for the absence of commissions, however, casinos which offer this game do so at a price in the form of a higher house edge on all types of bets. Instead of a 1.06% house edge for the banker bet, for instance, the house edge may be 1.46%.
Sometimes, however, you can find a “best of both worlds” scenario when it comes to commissions and house edges on baccarat games.
There are games with reduced commissions and reduced house edges where the house has only a 0.60% advantage on the banker bet.
Of course, there is still a catch, and that is that the majority of casinos do not offer this version since doing so does not allow them to profit as quickly as providing the standard version with more of a house advantage.
Key Point: Baccarat games do not all include identical commissions or house edges. So if you are online, try checking out different versions of the game to see if you can find any which happen to have reduced house edges and commissions. Just remember not to get too excited if you find zero commission baccarat, as the higher house edges make up for the lack of the commission.
There Are Only Three Types of Bets in Baccarat
While the side bets available for baccarat rarely are discussed, there are a surprisingly large number of them, depending on the version of the game you are playing. Some of them have very low house edges, while some of them have very high house edges. Quite a few fall in between.
But the banker bet still is (literally) your best bet.
You Can Count Cards in Baccarat
One last misconception worth discussing with regards to baccarat is the matter of card counting. Many people assume that it is possible to count cards in baccarat the same approximate way that you can in blackjack.
But baccarat is very different from blackjack, despite appearances. And it turns out that it is highly impractical to count cards in baccarat even at a land based casino.
Peter A. Griffin discusses baccarat card counting in his book on blackjack card counting. Under certain conditions, he says that it is possible to card count with baccarat, but you can expect to make under $1 an hour while wagering $1,000. And that is assuming you are doing everything in as optimized a way as possible.
As to card counting online, that isn’t even feasible with blackjack, much less with baccarat! So it is not worth it to invest in card counting systems or strategies. They are not going to pay off.
Find Out Why Baccarat Has Become Such a Popular Game Worldwide
Hopefully we have destroyed these 10 baccarat myths.
Ready to find out why the thrill of baccarat keeps players crowding around the tables at Macau and at land-based and online casinos around the globe? Now that you are familiar with the many myths and misconceptions which revolve around this game, you are ready to make the most of each hand.
Find the sites which offer the best selection of online baccarat, check out our online casino reviews, and start playing baccarat today!
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