Baccarat is a pure game of chance; all things being equal, systems do not generally work with baccarat.

Baccarat is a pure game of chance; all things being equal, systems do not generally work with baccarat. The term "baccarat strategy" is oxymoronic. When systems work, there is no mathematical basis for the outcome. It's a matter of pure luck. You won't find the card counters flocking to the baccarat tables, because card counting is useless. That's the bad news.

The good news is that as a player, your odds are best at the baccarat table. The house edge is little more than 1%, except on a tie bet.

Even though it cannot be proven that any system works with baccarat, there are several systems that players frequently use.

Ride the Streak

Casinos actually provide pencils and charts for you to track winning hands. If they're going to offer you these props, do you really think they'll help? No, they're just distracting you with a well-established superstition. Winning hands do tend to come in streaks, but by the time you've established a pattern and begun to chase it, chances are it will reverse. If you hit the streak just right, you may luck out-for a session or two.

Over the long haul, odds and probabilities are mathematical certainties. If they weren't, the house wouldn't win. The probability of any outcome on any given hand is 50/50. Even if the banker won the last ten hands, the probability of the banker winning the next hand is still 50/50. Past performance is never a reliable predictor of future performance in any one session. Probabilities always work over the long haul, but if you can beat the system short-term by catching a wave, quit while you're ahead.

Some baccarat players argue that you can only lose once betting into a streak, but you can lose many times betting against a streak. What this proclamation neglects to address is the possibility of a choppy shoe-a shoe with no discernable streaks-a more likely flow of play. If you can win a session by betting into streaks, the casino gods, not the probability gods, are shining down upon you.

Lyle Stuart, author of Lyle Stuart on Baccarat (Barricade Books; Revised edition, October 25, 1997, is often quoted for his thoughts on the subject of streaks:

"The Rule of Three says you either bet on the streak, or you don't bet at all...If you bet with the streak and you're wrong, you lose only one wager. If you bet against it and are stubborn, the casino will soon own your potato farm."

1 3 2 6 Baccarat System

Some baccarat players swear by this system. The premise is to risk small units for large returns. If all goes well, you can risk 2 units for a return of 10 units after just four hands. Even if you lose, you return to betting 1 unit, so your losses are kept to a minimum with this system. Any system that keeps losses to a minimum is a good system.

Best-case Scenario:

Bet 1 unit on the first hand.
If you win, you now have 2 units. Add 1 unit to the 2 units for a total wager of 3 units on the second hand.
If you win, you now have 6 units on the table. Remove 4 units and wager the remaining 2 units on the third hand.
If you win, you have 6 units on the table. Add 2 more units for a total wager of 6 units on the fourth hand.
If you win, you have 12 units on the table. You wagered 2 units of your own money, and you have won 10 units from the house, less any commission due.

Note: Each time you lose a round, start over at step 1.

Card Counting in Baccarat

Some players attempt to count cards in baccarat as they do in blackjack. This is a totally futile exercise on land, and with online casinos dealing random cards, card counting makes even less sense when playing online. Hit/draw rules are carved in stone in American baccarat, with no player intervention or skill allowed. What's the point?

Automation vs. Player Skill

Rules are automated in baccarat. Without skill or player intervention, no system is going to allow you bea the house consistently. Instead, focus on money management and how to preserve your wins when they occur.