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Baccarat strategy tips

By Lauri Ronkainen. Updated:

Bojoko helps you learn baccarat strategy. Baccarat has a very high return to player percentage and you don't need any skill to achieve that in the long term. However, many players rely on betting systems and strategies to improve their chances of winning.

Although we know it doesn't change the odds one way or another, using those systems makes playing more interesting and eventful.

On this page, we look at the most popular baccarat betting systems and explain them step by step. We also look at ways people have tried to cheat the casino in baccarat.

List of baccarat casinos

Once you've found a baccarat strategy you like, it's time to put it into action. Here's a list of casinos where you can put your money where your mouth is.

Read more about baccarat strategies

On this page, we walk you through the basic concepts of baccarat strategies and explain the most important betting systems. In addition, we'll show you how some players have tried to cheat at baccarat.

In addition, we recommend checking out our other pages about baccarat:

baccarat strategy

Why trust Bojoko on baccarat strategies?

Here at Bojoko, we don't promise what we can't deliver. As a result, we can't tell you how to win at baccarat, apart from opening your own casino.

Baccarat is a game of chance and there's no way to overcome the house edge with a magical betting sequence.

So instead of selling you snake oil, we help you manage your expectations. We explain the basic concepts carefully and walk you through each strategy step-by-step.

What are baccarat systems?

Baccarat systems are betting strategies that attempt to turn the odds of the game in favor of the player. There are many different systems, and in this section, we cover the most popular ones.

Many betting strategies rely on raising and lowering the bet size after each loss or win. These are known as negative and positive progressions.

Negative progressions usually help you recoup most or all of your previous losses in a single sweep. However, they also push your bet size out of control quite fast.

Positive progressions add some extra to your winning streaks. However, you'll need to know when to take your winnings instead of risking them any further.

In the list of baccarat systems, you'll see in which category each strategy falls.

Do baccarat systems work?

What makes the baccarat systems alluring is that in the short term, they might actually work. When the results of the game fall within certain limits (i.e. the winning streaks for either hand stay modest but still exist), many strategies may work just fine.

However, baccarat is an unpredictable game. This unpredictability often results in very long winning streaks for either the Banker or the Player. Alternatively, you can see a "choppy" game where the winner alternates steadily between rounds.

Following a betting system may get you a steady stream of relatively small wins. But once there's a streak you didn't account for, this "abnormal" event will wipe out your bankroll.

Betting systems don't change the odds of the game; they affect the volatility and the payout structure: you win often but small, and lose rarely but big.

Gamblers' fallacy

In baccarat, the results of the previous rounds don't affect the next round. This may seem counterintuitive, but that's just a fact.

Raising your bet because a certain result is "due" just doesn't work.

In the long term, there are roughly an equal number of wins for the Player hand and the Banker hand. Actually, the Banker hand will win slightly more often, but the rules adjust for this with the 5% commission.

However, the key phrase here is "long term". Odds of every casino game are based on mathematical probabilities that only materialize over thousands of rounds. The results vary a lot between sessions, and that's what makes the game so unpredictable.

Tips for winning at baccarat

You can't affect the odds of baccarat with systems and strategies. However, you can decide how much you're willing to risk and maximize the entertainment and play time you get from your bankroll. Here's how:

  1. Bet on the Banker. The Banker bet has a very low house edge of only 1.06%
  2. Don't bet on a Tie. Even with the big payout of 8:1, the Tie bet has a huge house edge of 14.36%
  3. Use flat bets. The results of previous rounds don't affect the odds for the next hand
  4. Stick to your limits. Set yourself a maximum individual bet and a total budget you're willing to risk during a session
  5. Don't chase your losses. Losing is part of the game and you take a considered risk when putting money on the table. Instead of trying to win back what you've lost, know when to cut your losses walk away
  6. Manage your bankroll. Choose a small enough starting bet in relation to your total gaming bankroll. If the game is not going your way, consider lowering your bet instead of going all-in.

List of baccarat strategies

Baccarat betting strategies mainly fall into two categories: positive and negative progressions:

Below, you'll find a list of the most common baccarat betting systems, grouped by when you increase your bet.

No progression

Negative progression systems

Positive progression systems

NOTE: The standard payouts in baccarat are 1:1 for the Player win and 0.95:1 for the Banker. You can use the betting strategies listed below for betting either the Player or the Banker. However, if you're betting on Banker you'll need to take into account the 5% commission on all Banker wins.

Flat betting

This is the simplest, most straightforward and least risky way to bet on baccarat. You just place the same bet over and over again, regardless of the results of previous rounds.

Since the Banker bet has statistically a slightly higher RTP (return to player) percentage than the Player bet, we recommend playing Banker every round.

The downside is, this way of playing may get boring. There's no elaborate system to follow. Keeping track of the results of previous rounds doesn't really make sense either, since they don't affect your decision.

However, when playing like this you're taking baccarat for what it is: a highly unpredictable game that can't be beaten with betting systems. All you can do is hope that the random turn of the cards will go your way in the particular session.

Martingale

Martingale is probably the most common and most dangerous baccarat strategy. The idea is simple:

You start with 1 chip and double your bet after each loss, to 2, 4, 8 etc. When the win finally comes, you've netted 1 chip. Then you start over by betting 1 chip.

Here's how it works in practice

Baccarat martingale system

Martingale is a very powerful system if you have deep pockets and there are no table limits. However, with long losing streaks the bet size quickly gets insanely high.

EXAMPLE: After 10 misses in a row you'll be risking 512 chips. If you win, your net win is only 1 chip. If you lose, your total loss is 1023 chips.

Streaks of 10 or even 12 are not that uncommon in baccarat. The previous rounds don't change the odds of the next one, and a particular result is not "due" just because it hasn't come recently.

Sniping

Every streak has to end sometime. If you want to use the martingale system but limit your exposure to freak streaks, there is an option. We call it sniping.

At online casinos, you can scope out the live dealer lobby that also shows you results of several tables at once. When you see a long streak forming (we usually start betting after a streak of 7), enter that table and start betting against the streak, doubling your bet after each loss. After you win, go back to the lobby and start looking for the next streak.

This is a risky option too, and a successful run will only net you 1 chip. Even if you start betting mid-streak, the bet size can get out of your comfort zone. Stick to your limits and don't risk more than you can afford to lose.

Paroli

Paroli or reverse martingale turns the martingale system on its head. Instead of doubling your bet after every loss, you do so after every win.

The idea is that you only risk losing 1 chip of your own money each betting sequence. When you let the winnings of the previous round ride, you're not risking more than your initial bet.

Here's how it works in practice:

Baccarat paroli system

Before playing, you need to decide how long a streak you need before calling it quits. Are you going to be happy after a streak of 5 wins and the profit of 16 chips it'll net you? Or are you going to push further and aim for a streak of e.g. 10 and the associated profit of 512 chips?

d'Alembert

In the d'Alembert betting system, you increase your bet by one chip after each loss and decrease it by one chip after each win.

Choose your starting bet so you have room in both directions: if your starting bet is too low, a winning streak at the start will push your bet quickly to 1 chip. If your bet is too high, a losing streak will cause your bet to spiral out of control.

Here's an example starting from 5 chips:

Baccarat d'Alembert system

The d'Alembert system doesn't let you recoup all your losses in one big swoop. However, you can still make a profit without winning more than half of the hands played.

There are also variations of this system and we cover them below.

Reverse d'Alembert

As the name suggests, the reverse d'Alembert system turns the standard d'Alembert betting sequence upside down. You increase your bet by 1 chip after every win and decrease it by 1 after each loss.

Here's reverse d'Alembert in practice:

Baccarat reverse d'Alembert system

The system is simple and it can boost a winning streak nicely. However, you need to win more rounds than you're losing just to break even. In addition, you need to quit while you're ahead and not push the bet size up too much, even if you're winning.

Fibonacci

The Fibonacci betting system is based on the Fibonacci sequence where each new entry is the sum of its two predecessors. For example, the first 10 numbers in the Fibonacci sequence are:

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 and 55

Here's how you apply the Fibonacci sequence in baccarat:

Baccarat fibonacci system

Unlike the martingale system, Fibonacci won't let you recoup all your losses after one winning deal. However, the strength of the Fibonacci system is that it allows you to get ahead by only winning c.a ⅓ of the hands played.

Unfortunately, with long, consecutive losing streaks your bet size may quickly get beyond your comfort level. Such streaks are fairly common in baccarat and can wipe you out, especially if your initial bet is too high. That's why it's important to stick to your limits and not go above them, even if the strategy says otherwise.

Labouchère

Labouchère is also known as the cancellation system. It's a bit more fiddly than the other systems. Keeping track of your bets with a pen and paper is helpful, especially in the beginning. However, in baccarat such notes are more of a rule than an exception, so labouchere fits the game perfectly.

When applying the Labouchère system in baccarat, you first decide a set of numbers, e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4. You can use any set of numbers you want, and they can be in any order you like. During a successful betting sequence, your net win will be the sum of these numbers.

Here's how it works:

  1. Decide the set of numbers you're going to use, e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4
  2. Add the first number and the last number on the list together (5) and bet it on Player or Banker
  3. If you win, cross the numbers played out, like this: 1, 2, 3, 4
  4. If you lose, add your current bet at the end of the list: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  5. Continue betting the sum of the first and last numbers remaining on the list
  6. If there's only one number remaining, bet that
  7. Once there are no more numbers remaining, the betting sequence is complete and you've won 10 chips

Baccarat labouchere system

1326 system

The 1326 and its variation 1324 are betting systems that rely on capitalizing the winning streaks. Since long streaks of either the Player or Banker hand winning are fairly common in baccarat, these systems are a decent choice for the game.

When you use a 1326 system in baccarat, you bet on either the Player or Banker hand. Here's how it works:

  1. Start by betting 1 chip on Player or Banker
  2. If you win, bet 3 chips on the next round
  3. If you win again, bet 2 chips on the next round
  4. If you still win, bet 6 chips on the next round
  5. If you win the 6 chip bet or lose any bet, start from the top

Baccarat 1326 system

Is the 1326 system any good? The upside is that you're essentially risking only 1 and 2 chips of your own money on rounds #1 and #2 respectively.

In the rounds #3 and #4, you're playing with the casino's money. If you lose on bet #3, you're still ahead by 2 chips. If you lose the bet #4, you're on your own. You can net a total of 12 chips during a successful sequence, and that's nothing to frown upon.

However, 1326 isn't a miracle system. If the game is choppy and there are no streaks, you won't win. Once again, it comes to the unpredictability of baccarat.

1324 system

The only way 1324 differs from 1326 is that on the 4th round you bet 4 chips instead of 6. The point is that you don't risk all the winnings of the sequence in the last round.

If you win at least the two initial rounds of the sequence, you'll net at least 2 chips. Here's how it breaks down:

Baccarat 1324 system

Oscar's grind

Oscar's grind is a betting strategy that first appeared in a 1956 book Casino Gambler's Guide by Allan Wilson. Wilson interviewed a roulette player named Oscar who revealed his low risk betting progression.

In Oscar's grind, the gameplay is divided into sequences. In each sequence, your aim is to win exactly one chip, no more, no less.

Here's how it works

  1. You start by betting 1 chip
  2. If you lose, your bet size always stays the same
  3. If you win, you always raise your bet by 1 chip
  4. If raising your bet would bring your total winnings of the sequence over 1 chip, adjust your bets accordingly

Baccarat Oscar's grind system

Cheating in baccarat

There are many ways dishonest players have tried to cheat the house in baccarat. In some cases, the line between advantage play and cheating may be a bit blurry. However, in most situations it's easy to figure out what is OK and what is not.

The baccarat cheat systems shown here don't work at online casinos. However, we don't recommend using them at brick-and-mortar establishments either.

Every time you cheat you risk getting seen. If you get caught, you'll be banned for life. In addition, the casino will review security footage of your play and confiscate your winnings. Depending on the jurisdiction, there may also be legal consequences.

Just to be sure, we don't condone cheating in any form of gambling. The examples listed below are just for educational and entertainment purposes.

Past posting

Past posting is one the most common cheating techniques and not exclusive to baccarat. It simply means adding chips to a winning bet and hoping nobody sees you do it.

Past posting is one of the few techniques that doesn't require help from someone on the inside. However, it's also the oldest trick in the book and casinos know how to spot it.

Chip dumping

Chip dumping is another old and simple technique. However, you'll need the dealer to be in cahoots with you.

When you win, the dealer discreetly places an additional chip on top of your winnings. Afterwards, you share the loot.

This is one of the techniques with a big risk of getting caught. In this age of non-stop camera surveillance, you'd be hard pressed to find a casino employee desperate enough to agree to risking their career and possible jail time for such a scheme.

False shuffling

In false shuffling, you need an accomplice from the casino: the dealer or the shuffler. You'll also need to be able to record the results of a sequence of cards.

When shuffling the cards, the accomplice will leave a certain part of the deck unshuffled, while making it seem that it is properly mixed. This part is called the "slug".

The slug is usually placed at the beginning or at the end of the shoe. The player has kept track of the results of the previous shoe. When the slug cards start to come from the new shoe, he knows which hand will win each round and bets accordingly.

False shuffling is nothing new, as this AP article from 1987 reveals. However, big cases with the same trick keep popping up from time to time. In 2017, the FBI caught a group of baccarat cheaters who had won 14 hands in a row, taking home $850,000 in winnings. Sure enough, they also had an inside man using the slug technique.

Camera up the sleeve

In midi and full baccarat, players are allowed to touch the shoe when interesting the cut card. Some players have devised a way to use this moment to record the entire deck with a hidden camera placed in the sleeve.

Once the cheaters have recorded the shoe, they excuse themselves to the bathroom to view and memorize the card sequence. Once that sequence starts to come from the shoe, they know how to bet.

This technique came into light in 2011 when a group of gamblers used it in Las Vegas Cosmopolitan to cheat the casino out of more than $1,000,000.

Edge sorting - cheating or advantage play?

Playing cards used by casinos are not perfect. This is a result of the manufacturing process, most notably the cutting of the cards from a big print sheet.

The machines that cut the cards need to be calibrated frequently so that the pattern on the backs of the cards stays exactly the same for every card in the deck. However, card manufacturers try to lengthen the calibration frequency because halts in production cost them money. The result: cards with a recognizable pattern on one at least one edge.

By looking at these patterns, edge sorters can see what the top card of the shoe is and bet accordingly. This gives a skilled edge sorter a house edge of up to 6.78%. It's like having the casino play a mediocre slot machine against you!

For edge sorting to work, the player needs to know which decks have these imperfections and how they show on the cards. In addition, he needs to see the relevant edge to gauge the differences and make the decision.

Phil Ivey baccarat lawsuit

The most famous example of edge sorting is the Phil Ivey incident. This complicated case is covered in great detail in this video featuring a casino cheating consultant Bill Zender:

In short, Ivey played together with a known edge sorter Kelly Sun. As a poker superstar and high roller, Ivey was guaranteed a VIP treatment wherever he chose to play. Meanwhile, Sun had devised playing conditions that enabled her to edge sort while steering clear of cheating. These included:

In 2012, Ivey and Sun used the system at two different casinos: Borgata in Atlantic City and Crockfords in London. Both casinos accepted the special terms, but when the pair ended up winning over $22M, the casinos sued the duo for winnings.

Ultimately, in both cases the judges found in favor of the casinos, and the winnings were returned. However, neither Ivey nor Sun were found actually to be cheating, so there weren't any criminal consequences. So from a legal perspective, edge sorting lands on the grey area between cheating and advantage play.

FAQ - Baccarat systems

Betting strategies don't work in baccarat. Although you may get lucky in the short term, in the long run the strategies may actually end up costing you more than just placing the same bet every round. That's why we recommend sticking to flat betting.

There are no tips and tricks that help an average player win at baccarat. Unless you want to learn edge sorting and still risk the casino confiscating your winnings, the game is going to always have the 1.06% house edge.

However, you can limit your losses and focus on having a good time instead of chasing after magic beans. For that, we have gathered some winning tips.

The Banker bet. Even after deducting the 5% commission the Banker bet only has the house edge 1.06%. This is pretty good for a game with no skill element whatsoever.

There are well-documented ways players have tried to cheat casinos in baccarat. However, the risk of getting caught is very high and there are consequences for this.

The most famous methods include:

  • Past posting
  • Chip dumping
  • False shuffle
  • Camera up the sleeve

In addition, there's edge sorting. Although not technically cheating, casinos don't like you doing it and will confiscate your winnings if you get caught.

In baccarat, players can choose whether to bet the Player or Banker position. In addition, every player at the table can make their own decisions. For the casino to cheat, the dealer would need to draw cards that make the majority of bets placed at the table lose. We don't see how this would be possible.

In theory, yes. However, the edge you gain from this is very low. There are at least 4 cards dealt each round, and just 2 of them need to change places with one another to completely change the results. In addition, the rules for drawing the 3rd card are designed to reduce the effectiveness of card counting.

Lauri Ronkainen

Article by:

Lauri Ronkainen

Lauri is the Head of Content at Bojoko. He has worked in online gambling since 2016, reviewing hundreds of online casinos, bonuses and games. Lauri has a masters degree in history from the University of Tampere. He is a live casino aficionado who has also created his very own roulette strategy.

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