Lessons I Learned From Losing at the Baccarat Table

Baccarat Logo With Online Table Background

Baccarat can be a boring game. But personally, I like to play it more than most casino games, because I’m more concerned with the return numbers than playing an exciting game. Sadly, even though baccarat is better in the return department than most games, it’s still a losing proposition in the long term.

I’m going to share seven important lessons I’ve learned from playing baccarat and losing. These lessons aren’t going to help you win when you play baccarat, but they can help you improve your results.

The bad news is that there aren’t many better options in the casinos than baccarat. So, you need to learn how to play real money baccarat the way that gives you the best chance to win.

Big Table or Little Table Baccarat

I’ve played baccarat on big tables and on the tables that are the same size as blackjack tables. And while the way the game is dealt is a little different and the amount of involvement the players have is a little different, the games are the same in the end.

I prefer the small table baccarat game a little better, but I can play either option. The odds of winning and the return numbers are the same for each of the three bet options on either table. The tie wager is bad on either table, the player wager is decent on both tables, and the banker option is the best way to go on either table.

Closeup of a Baccarat Table

The only thing I look for when I play baccarat now is if the casino is running a special reduced commission on the banker wager. If you can find a baccarat table offering less than 5% commission on the banker wager, you can play with close to a 100% return. That’s why these promotions are rare.

Short-Term Variance

The return to player number for the banker wager, even after the casino takes their commission, is almost 99%. The actual number is 98.94%, but this is close to 99%. This makes baccarat one of the top games in the casino.

In a different section, you’re going to learn how baccarat compares to other casino games. In this section, you’re going to learn an important lesson about short-term variance.

Another name for short-term variance is luck, but this isn’t a good name. Luck is a word that leads some gamblers to believe they have a better chance to win than they really have.

Instead, everything about baccarat and other casino games is based 100% on math. Luck doesn’t have anything to do with it. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t win sometimes, especially when you play a game with a high return.

For example, you play baccarat 10 times and bet a total of $1,000 each time over the course of several hands. Here are your results:
Stacks of Casino Chips

  1. Lose $200
  2. Lose $250
  3. Win $50
  4. Lose $175
  5. Win $125
  6. Lose $125
  7. Lose $250
  8. Win $100
  9. Lose $175
  10. Lose $125

Over the course of 10 baccarat sessions, you won three times and lost seven times. Overall, you lost a total of $1,025 on $10,000 total in wagers. This is very close to what you can expect.

What I want to point out is that you still won 30% of the times you played. This is why short-term variance is important when you play a game with a high return.

You can sometimes win when you play, but in the long run, you’re still going to lose.

Is Live Baccarat Better Than Mobile and Online Gambling?

I’ve played enough live baccarat, online baccarat, and mobile baccarat to know that the games are all the same. You can play more hands when you play online or mobile baccarat, and you can make smaller wagers in mobile and online casinos. But all in all, the games are the same.

I prefer to play baccarat in a land-based casino, but I still play quite a bit online. You’re going to learn why I play online later on in this article.

I mentioned earlier that baccarat is boring. It’s even more boring online and in mobile casinos. At least there are other players to talk to when you play live baccarat. You don’t even have this opportunity when you play virtual baccarat.

Baccarat Is Better Than Most Casino Games

Baccarat is easily one of the top five games for casino gamblers. The only common casino games that offer a higher return than the banker wager are blackjack and video poker.

To get a better return to player, you have to find the best blackjack games and use good strategy. Or you have to find video poker machines with the right pay tables and use good strategy. Baccarat is much easier than either of these things.

Baccarat is very popular with beginner gamblers. You don’t have to learn any fancy strategy and the dealer takes care of everything as long as you’re playing small table baccarat. Just make the table minimum bet amount and always use the banker option.

But if you want to have an even better chance to win, you need to look at a few other options. You can learn more about these options in the next section.

But You Still Can’t Win Money for Long

The fact is that any gambling activity that has a return under 100% is a gambling activity that you’re going to lose. You might win sometimes because of short-term variance, but the long run is difficult.

You should always look for gambling activities that have a high return like baccarat, but most of them aren’t going to help you actually win.

The only way to win as a gambler is to find ways to play with an advantage. Baccarat isn’t on the list of games that you can play with a long-term advantage. In fact, the list is short, and it’s hard to actually get an edge even when you play the right games.

If you truly want to try to play with an edge, you have to look at blackjack strategy combined with card counting, table game poker strategy, or sports gambling with advanced handicapping skills. These things aren’t easy like baccarat, but they do offer a small chance of success.

You Might As Well Get a Casino Bonus

I mentioned earlier that I prefer playing baccarat in a live casino. I like the social interaction of the live dealer and other players to break up the boredom of making the same wager over and over and waiting for the cards to be dealt.

But online and mobile baccarat play offers something that I can’t get in land-based casinos. You can use an online casino bonus when you play baccarat online or in mobile casinos. Not every casino offers a baccarat bonus, but enough of them do offer them that they’re not that hard to find.

Las Atlantis Online Baccarat

You need to understand that a baccarat bonus isn’t going to help you win. This is the mistake that many casino players make. The bonus is just going to help you play longer. You’re still going to lose in the long run.

You Can’t Count Cards

Smart blackjack players can use card counting and bet sizing to alter the return to player numbers. The best ones can push the return over 100%, which results in a profit.

Because baccarat uses decks of cards like blackjack and the cards in the shoe influence the return, some players believe they can use counting when they play baccarat.

The problem is that you can’t change the return enough to make much of a difference by counting. The casinos use too many decks and you can’t get an edge until the end of the shoe. Even if a casino deals all the way to the end of the shoe, you can’t make a big enough bet to change your results.

Another thing that some baccarat players try to use is some kind of system to beat the game. Gambling systems don’t work, so there’s nothing you can do to change your results playing baccarat.


It doesn’t matter if you’re playing baccarat at a big table or a little table, the long-term results are the same. The banker wager is better than over 90% of the other bets available in the casino, but even this wager takes your money over time.

Live baccarat is basically the same as online and mobile baccarat, so it doesn’t matter where you play. The main difference is that you can get bonuses for online and mobile baccarat play and you can’t get a bonus in live play.

You can’t use a system or counting to beat baccarat, so if you’re going to play, you might as well relax and enjoy the ride.

Posted in: Table Games

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