Baccarat isn’t a game that’s commonly associated with card counting. Instead, blackjack draws all of the attention for this advantage play method.
Nevertheless, you can effectively count cards in baccarat. You can even make small—and I emphasize small—profits from baccarat card counting.
If you’re interested in gaining an advantage over the house, then you should check out the following guide. It discusses how to count cards in baccarat, the types of profits it offers, and if this endeavor is ultimately worthwhile.
How to Count Cards in Baccarat
If you know anything about blackjack card counting, then you shouldn’t have much trouble picking up the baccarat version. Even if you’re totally new to counting cards, you’ll be able to learn the basics relatively quickly.
Here’s how you count the different cards:
- +1 for each ace, 2, or 3 that’s dealt.
- +2 for each 4 that’s dealt.
- -1 for each 5, 7, or 8 that’s dealt.
- -2 for each 6 that’s dealt.
- 0 (neutral) for each 10, J, Q, or K that’s dealt.
You bet on the player side when the count is +16 or higher. Meanwhile, you bet on the banker side when the count is +15 or lower.
You may find it difficult to keep up with the dealer’s speed in the beginning. With time, though, your counting skills should improve.
What Kind of Advantage Will You Gain?
There’s a big reason why you don’t hear much about counting cards in baccarat—it barely works!
As famous gambling author Peter Griffin once said, you’re only going to earn around $0.70 for each hour spent counting cards. You’ll hardly find this advantage play method worthwhile in baccarat.
Of course, you might be interested in making money from a casino game you enjoy playing. However, baccarat card counting is nothing more than a hobby.
Contrast this to counting cards in blackjack, where you could make lots of money. You can earn up to $100 or more as a skilled blackjack card counter.
Much depends upon your skill level and, if applicable, teammates. Furthermore, you also need to be good at camouflaging your play and choosing the right casinos.
The point, though, is that your efforts will be rewarded in blackjack. The same can’t be said when applying advantage play to baccarat.
Is Baccarat Card Counting Worth It?
Assuming you’re looking to make money through gambling, then you won’t find baccarat advantage play worthwhile. It takes too much effort for the pennies that you earn on the hour.
On the other hand, you might be seeking a new challenge with real money baccarat. If so, you’ll find card counting to be an interesting pursuit.
You shouldn’t go into card counting with the mindset that you’re going to make a living. However, you can use this technique to spice up your baccarat sessions.
Why Is Blackjack Card Counting More Lucrative?
Baccarat and blackjack card counting don’t seem much different on the surface. However, blackjack is the more-lucrative game for a few different reasons.
You stand to win more with a favorable blackjack count because:
- Your chances improve of getting a natural blackjack.
- Doubling down gains more potential value.
- Splitting gains more potential value.
- The dealer stands higher odds of busting out.
When counting cards with blackjack, you want more high-value cards (10-A) in the shoe. If this happens, you gain the four advantages covered above.
Casinos offer a 6:5 or, preferably, 3:2 bonus payout for natural blackjacks (21 on the first two cards). They don’t, however, offer bonus payouts for baccarat hands.
You can also double down and split in favorable situations with blackjack. These types of options aren’t available in baccarat.
The baccarat dealer doesn’t bust out either. As a result, you can’t depend on this factor with a positive count like with blackjack.
Finally, the advantage for a positive baccarat count is marginal. You’re basically just deciding whether wagering on the player or banker is currently more profitable. Even when figuring this out, though, the advantage is tiny.
When playing blackjack, though, you raise bets when the count is positive. In some cases, you’ll be spreading wagers from $10 to $100 or more. You really benefit when combining high stakes with a positive count.
Tips for Winning More With Baccarat
You can see that card counting isn’t the golden ticket in baccarat. Furthermore, it requires quite a bit of work compared to what it pays.
With a little luck, you don’t necessarily need to be a card counter to experience baccarat success. Instead, you can just use the following tips to boost your odds of winning.
Keep Making the Banker Wager
Baccarat is one of the best-paying games in the casino. It offers 98.94% return to player (RTP) when you place the banker bet.
Assuming you ever get bored with the banker wager, you can switch to betting on the player hand. It offers a more-than-respectable 98.76% RTP.
Ideally, though, you’ll stick with the banker bet most, if not all, of the time. All you need to do is place this wager again and again to enjoy one of the best payout percentages in gaming.
Consider Online Baccarat
The great thing about baccarat is that it pays the same in both land-based and online casinos. You’ll enjoy 98.94% and 99.76% payback with the banker and player bets, respectively, in both settings.
The same can’t always be said about other casino games. Blackjack, for example, often pays around 99.5% RTP in online casinos and around 99% RTP in land-based venues.
Even with the fact that online and land-based baccarat pay the same, you should still consider the online version.
First off, it’s cheaper to play. You only need to place a $1 minimum wager online. Brick-and-mortar casinos, meanwhile, usually require you to bet at least $5 per hand.
Secondly, you won’t have any travel costs wrapped up in online gaming. With land-based casinos, you’ll need to drive or fly to your destination.
Pick Up Online Baccarat Bonuses
Assuming you do play online baccarat, then you can look forward to bonuses. Many gaming sites offer deposit bonuses, which match a percentage of your deposit.
Here’s an example of one of these deals:
- A mobile casino offers a 100% match bonus worth up to $500.
- You deposit $200.
- You’re now qualified for a matching $200 bonus.
Provided baccarat does qualify, then you should definitely take advantage of the associated bonus. Many of them are worth up to hundreds of dollars.
Sign Up for the Loyalty Program
At land-based casinos, you need to sign up for the loyalty program either in person or online. Once a member, you’ll receive a card that can be used at the tables.
Online casinos require you to register before placing a deposit. Since you’re already registered, you’ll normally be enrolled in the loyalty program automatically.
You earn points for each wager placed. You’ll then be able to spend these points on whatever comps the casino offers.
Our Thoughts on Card Counting in Baccarat
Baccarat card counting certainly isn’t a lucrative venture. In fact, it’s a waste of time if you’re looking to make serious money from gambling. At best, you’ll earn less than a dollar per hour in profits.
However, you might still consider counting cards if you’re looking for a new challenge. Furthermore, you can break even or even make a few dollars from your gambling hobby.
Provided you’re really serious about earning profits, though, you should focus on blackjack card counting. It’s the most popular form of advantage play for those who aspire to be pro casino gamblers.