Baccarat and Card Counting 

For centuries, Baccarat was famous for its unpredictability and has long been considered as a true game of change, all thanks to the high stakes and a strong element of risk, enjoyed by the players who feel that the true appeal of gambling is not knowing. The players who prefer exercising control over every aspect of gambling tend to avoid Baccarat for that very same reason and keep their distance, seeking refuge at the table games where the odds can be changed by employing certain strategic skills such as card counting. Sadly, one of the first things you are told about Baccarat is that luck will not yield to any mathematical skill introduced to your gameplay. But is that really a fact?

The truth behind the randomness of Baccarat

The most common misconception about Baccarat is that there are no known strategies that the player can use to eliminate the house edge. This is exactly what the casino operators want their players thinking – that there is nothing one can do to change the course of the destiny and that the best approach is to wager on Banker bet over and over again – which is pretty convenient, considering the fact that the casino chargers 5% commission for every winning Banker wager. The higher payout comes with the Player bet as the house will not deduct the commission percentage, but this option does not win as often as the Banker, which is the main reason players tend to stick with the latter.  

If however, you would have a pretty good idea when the Player bet will win, the tide would change completely and the Player bet would easily become one of the most favorable bets in Baccarat – at least for the players who hold the mathematical edge, no matter how small it is.  

How to count cards in Baccarat

One of the main conditions of counting cards in Baccarat is to start with the new 6 or 8 decks shoe; joining the table when the game is already in progress is not an option for the card counters.  

The count will start at 0 and as soon as an Ace or a 2 are drawn from the shoe, 1 will be added to the count total. When the Dealer draws a 3 and a 4, the player will add 2. 

Negative values will start with a 5, when the player should subtract 1. Cards 6 and 7 will also reduce the count by – 2, while 8 will be counted the same as 5, which is -1. Face cards and 10s all have neutral 0 value. 

Card Value
Ace, 2 +1
3,4 +2
5,8 -1
6,7 -2
10, J, Q, K 0

Using the count will help the players in determining when the advantage should be given to the Player over the Banker bet, which is pretty much every time the count exceeds the total of 16.  

The ability of counting cards in Baccarat vs the necessity of counting cards in Baccarat – is it worth it?

It really depends on how you look at it. Unlike with Blackjack, where proficient card counters can basically never lose, Baccarat card counting is sadly not as reliable. It is definitely helpful and you can gain a moderate advantage by employing it, however, if you are to compare your card counting session with the one where you only used your common sense and wagered on Banker, you will not notice a lot of difference. Still, for some players having the slightest of edge counts and even the notion that not everything in Baccarat is outside of your control is worth the effort.