Counting Cards
Baccarat is widely regarded as one of the most unbeatable games in the casino. However, the game has one weakness that if taken advantage of using the proper system can return you a profit.
Of all the games in the casino, baccarat is one of, if not the, simplest game to play. Two hands are dealt, one for player and one for banker. Before these are dealt, players may bet on which hand will win, player or banker or tie. It’s almost as simple as betting on the flipping of a coin. Bets on player or banker are paid 1:1, but banker wins also pay a 5% commission. If there is a tie, banker and player bets are returned. Your decision to place your bet is your only decision. After this the game follows its rules automatically.
The game’s one weakness is its one similarity to the game of blackjack. After cards are dealt they are placed in a discard tray. They do not enter into play again until the deck is shuffled. Remembering what the discarded cards are could gain you an advantage and increase your number of wins. Card counting systems similar to those for blackjack can be designed, but do they actually work?
Most experts say this isn’t practical. Leading gambling authorities like Edward Thorp and Peter Griffin have shown that it can’t be done. Their card counting systems demonstrated that bets on bank and player don’t give an advantage to the player and could not find any edge for tie bets.
According to Griffin, the best possible card counting system would yield little or no improvement in profit in the game of baccarat.
Most of what these experts say is true. However, it is not impossible to create a system of increase winnings on tie bets.
If, for example there are no odd cards remaining in the pack then there are only five possible totals: 0, 2, 4, 6, 8. The odds of drawing a tie are now doubled and your advantage has gone up to 62%.
You can count the cards by giving a value of +1 to odd cards. When you’re counting reaches 160, you’ll know that the distribution of the deck will give you an advantage of 62%.
The best bet that is a good balance of risk and return is 7.8% of your available money. The bet is high because the odds are very favorable.
If you started with a bankroll of $50,000 you should bet $3800. You can expect to win $2356 each time you make this bet, on average.
The one downside to this strategy is that this situation occurs rarely. If you make a final bet having seen all cards except 813 cards you can calculate as follows: The chance of eight even cards appear on the top of the deck is the same as the same cards appearing on the bottom of the deck. If you determine the odds of an even card appearing by dividing the total number of cards in 8 decks (416) by the number of even cards and times this number by the result of 415 divided by 255 and keep doing this until you reach 404 divided by 244. Next, add up the possibilities of having this subset of cards appear for 8 to 13 cards, add them and divide by 6. You’ll discover that you’ll see an all even set of cards remaining about once in about 10,000 hands.
This approach will garner you earnings of about $24 over a run of 100 hands. Minus 10,000 bank wagers of $5 with about at 1% house edge and this system will actually earn you about $20 per hour. This isn’t a bad return but not that great when you look at possible returns from playing blackjack or poker.
This system is quick and easy to learn. If you can count to 160, you can use it and you don’t even need to understand the rules or even worry about playing your hands properly.
Remember, the less money you have to start with the less you’ll make. The casino may take notice of a 1760 bet spread, even though they won’t know what you are doing.
There is more you can do to improve your return. When a shoe contains nearly all even cards, the advantage is not near 60% but is favorable. One thing you can do is keep track of tens. When there are more tens in the deck you can gain an advantage. On bank and player bets, you can use your count of even cards to minimize your losses.
One important fact to remember is that you can enter and exit a baccarat game whenever you like and as much as you like. You are even allowed to sit and watch if you are not taking up space that could be used by a betting player. It is possible to enter a game with 8 excess even cards to play, you have a 5 times greater chance of seeing an all even subset and have less waiting hands to play. To make profits on a handtohand basis you only need at 1 to 4 bet spread.
If you start with just $10,000, you can make $50 per hour counting cards in a carefully chosen game!
