Baccarat is a great game for gamblers that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. It’s easy to play, and it has a low casino edge compared to most other games offered in the casino. Yet it’s almost never mentioned in a list of the best casino games.
But you have to make sure you haven’t developed bad habits during baccarat gameplay. Bad habits always cost you money.
Here’s a list of five bad habits that every baccarat player needs to break. And you need to make sure you never fall into any of these terrible habits.
1 – Playing for a Tie
When you play real money baccarat, you have exactly three options. You can bet on the banker hand, the player hand, or on the two hands tying. The tie bet option looks enticing because it pays more when you win.
The player hand pays a straight 1 to 1, and the banker wager pays 1 to 1 minus a 5% commission. The commission makes many baccarat layers avoid the banker bet, but it turns out that it’s the best option, even after the 5% commission.
A baccarat tie wager pays 8 to 1 or 9 to 1, depending on the house rules where you play the game. As I mentioned earlier, this looks like a good payout, because ties do happen. But the problem is that ties don’t happen often enough to make the bigger pay off a good deal.
You have to look at the edge the casino has on each of the three available wagers. The casino edge for the tie wager option is a huge 14.4% when the payoff is 8 to 1. Even when the casino pays 9 to 1, the casino edge is 4.85%.
Of course, 4.85% is much better than 14.4%, but it’s still much worse than the other two options on the table.
If you do decide to take a shot at the tie option from time to time, make sure that you’re actually getting 9 to 1. Some casinos are sneaky and list the tie pay out at 9 for 1. The difference is that 9 for 1 is the same as 8 to 1.
It’s a terrible habit to ever take the tie wager option.
2 – Skipping Online Bonuses
Baccarat players have the chance to play online. The game of baccarat is the same online as it is in live casinos, but it plays faster if you want to play faster. It also plays slower if you want to play slower.
Before you get too excited, you need to understand exactly how online baccarat bonuses work. They usually don’t help you win. If the casinos just gave you the money and didn’t put any restrictions on it, the bonus would help you win. But this isn’t how baccarat bonuses work.
When an online casino gives you a baccarat bonus they lock you into playing a minimum number of hands that equal a minimum amount of dollars risked. In other words, you have to risk your deposit amount and the bonus amount a number of times before you can take any money back out of the casino.
Does this mean that you shouldn’t use online baccarat bonuses?
Even though they don’t really help you win, you should still take advantage of them. If nothing else, online baccarat bonuses increase the size of your bankroll so you can play longer. With a larger bankroll and smaller minimum bet amounts, you can play online baccarat much longer than live baccarat using the same initial stake.
3 – Betting on the Player
I explained how bad the tie bet option is in an earlier section. The player bet option is a great deal better than betting on a tie. The casino edge for the player bet spot is 1.24%. This over 10 times better than tie wagers that pay 8 to 1, and roughly three times better than the tables that pay 9 to 1 on the tie wager.
So, why is it a bad habit to bet on the player spot?
Because there’s an even better wager available. I mentioned the three wagering options, and the banker spot is the best bet on the table. When you win on a banker wager, you’re playing with a casino edge of 1.06% even after the casino takes their 5% commission.
The difference between 1.24% and 1.06% isn’t big on one or two hands but over time, it adds up. The casinos edge is the average percentage the casino makes on every dollar wagered at the table. So, if you make 500 wagers of $40 each, you’re risking $20,000.
Your expected loss on $20,000 making the player hand wager is $248. The same amount wagered on the banker spot has an expected loss of $212. This is only a difference of $36, but it’s still better to have the $36 in your pocket than in the casino’s bank account.
4 – Risking Too Much
If you’re paying attention, you see how the amount you risk when you play baccarat directly influences how much you lose. In the last section, you saw the expected loss on making 500 wagers at $40 each.
If you made the same number of wagers, but only risked $20 instead of $40 on each bet, your expected loss is half the amount.
This shows why it’s a bad habit to risk more than you need to when you play baccarat. When you play baccarat in a live casino, find the table with the lowest table minimum amount. And never risk more than the minimum.
The other advantage to online baccarat is you control how many hands you play every hour. You can play fewer hands by taking your time, which in turn reduces the total amount you’re risking. This is the kind of good habit that you need to develop.
5 – Not Using Limits
Most baccarat gamblers don’t use any type of limits when they play. But you can use any or all of three limit types to improve your baccarat experience.
Baccarat stop-loss limit – A baccarat stop-loss limit is just what it sounds like. You set a limit on your losses and stop playing baccarat when you reach the limit. This protects you from losing more than you planned every time you play baccarat.
Baccarat stop-win limit – A baccarat stop-win limit is like a stop loss limit, but you stop playing when you reach a profit limit that you set before you start playing. This gives you the opportunity to win more and not give back your profits by playing baccarat too long.
Baccarat time limit – A baccarat time limit is simply a set amount of time that you’re going to play. You can use a baccarat time limit in live play and in online play. Set a timer and stop playing as soon as it goes off. This limits how much you risk, and in turn, limits your long-term losses playing baccarat.
When you play baccarat, either online or in a live casino, there’s only one strategy you should use. Any other strategy is costing you money. Simply bet on the dealer hand with the smallest bet amount available. This isn’t going to make you money in the long run, but it’s going to lose the least amount of money.
Finally, use stop-loss and stop-win limits to improve your overall playing experience. Build the right baccarat habits to avoid the bad habits.