As many players get more and more into blackjack card counting, they start to wonder if the same practice can be used to beat baccarat at casinos. After all, both games are dealt from a casino shoe, and the cards go into the discard tray rather than back into the deck. This being said, it’s definitely worth taking a look to see whether or not baccarat is another card game that can be beaten like blackjack.
A Tiny Edge
In blackjack, players spend hundreds of hands counting cards (or they have a spotter do it) so that they can gain a 0.5-1.5% edge on the casino. Obviously this isn’t a big edge, but it can be profitable when you’re varying bets and playing for several hours. So the question is, how does baccarat card counting compare to this edge?
Several experts, including blackjack card counting pioneer Edward Thorpe, have run experiments on baccarat card counting to find out how big of an edge they can get. In theory, they predicted that baccarat card counting could be nearly as profitable as blackjack over the course of time. However, these theories never came to fruition since baccarat card counting yields such a small edge to players that it isn’t even worth the effort.
For one thing, baccarat card counting at casinos doesn’t give people an edge on either the player or banker bet. With this being the case, players’ counting efforts all go towards predicting when they have an advantage on the tie bet. But even with this, it’s difficult to detect when you’ll earn an edge with the tie wager.
For example, you would have to wait until there are no odd cards in the deck to gain the tie advantage, and this takes lots of counting and analysis. What’s worse is that you could still lose after all of this when the player and banker hands don’t tie. As gambling expert Peter Griffin put it, a great baccarat counter only stands to win a few cents a day.
While card counting might sound like a fun pursuit to try for those who are tired of making the same bets, it’s definitely a waste of time. You could earn more money combing the streets for pennies or looking for change in between your couch cushions. Furthermore, why would you want to go through the stress of keeping a running count in baccarat if it’s not even profitable?
What’s worse is that - just like blackjack - you need to spend hours learning how to effectively count in baccarat under the pressure of casino distractions. In the end, you are better off using your time elsewhere besides trying to count cards in baccarat. If you are really obsessed with beating the house edge, you should put the hours into learning to count cards in blackjack. On the other hand, you could also use basic baccarat strategy and avoid spending any hours counting.
Baccarat is one of the easiest games in online gambling since you use optimal strategy simply by betting on the banker hand to win. By doing this, you keep the casino edge at 1.06% (in six deck games), and this is the best possible bet you can make in baccarat. And if you run hot on the tables, you could easily earn a profit by making banker bets over and over.
So to sum things up, you have almost the same chance of winning in baccarat by making the same bet repeatedly, rather than spending all of the time that it takes to count cards.