Baccarat Odds

Among all casino table games, Baccarat offers some of the very best odds. The House edge at European Roulette is 2.70%. For Pai Gow Poker, it is 1.46%. For Pass Line bets at the Craps table, it is 1.41%. But for Baccarat, when betting on the Player or Banker hands, the House advantage is just 1.23% or 1.06%, respectively.

Depending on specific House rules, only Blackjack can claim to have a lower margin for the casino. But unlike Blackjack, where bets can be made only on the player’s hand, Baccarat allows wagers to be made on the Banker and on Ties, effectively allowing every possible outcome to be backed.

Betting on the Player Hand

The rules of Baccarat are set up to make betting on the Player hand as close to a coin flip as possible. Excluding tie hands which result in a push, the Player hand should win 49.32% of all deals, while the Banker hand should prevail 50.68% of the time.

The difference between the two, 1.36% is the gross House edge. When ties are considered as part of the equation, the net margin narrows to 1.23%. The payout for a win is 1-to-1, making this one of the best even money wagers available.

Betting on the Banker Hand

As noted above, the Banker hand can be expected to win even more often than the Player hand. In fact, the casino would be at a disadvantage if it paid 1-to-1 odds for a win, so a commission or “vigorish” has been included as part of the game. Typically, this is a deduction of 5% from any winning amount, which effectively lowers the Banker’s expectation of winning from 50.68% to 48.15%. That’s a gross House edge of 1.17% with ties not considered, or 1.06% net.

Betting on the Tie

Ties do occur, of course, so they should not be ignored. In fact, a Tie can be expected about 9.52% of the time, and the payout at many casinos for a successful wager on a Tie is 8-to-1. The higher odds offered may seem to make this an attractive wager, but it is really not a good bet at all. Because far less than true odds are offered, the net House edge is 14.36%. Some casinos offer 9-to-1 odds, which is much better, but it still an advantage of 4.84% for the House.

Betting on a Pair

Some casinos off a special Baccarat side bet called “Pair,” which pays 11-to-1 if the cards in the selected hand match. Much like the Tie wager, this is a bad bet. The real odds of a pair coming up on the first two cards are just 7.47%. That means the House edge on such a bet is 10.36%. The best advice is to ignore this option whenever it is offered as part of the game.

Other Considerations

All of the above calculations were based upon Baccarat played with eight decks—the most common version of the game. The removal of decks does not greatly affect the odds. With six decks, the net House advantage for each type of bet is almost exactly the same.

With a single deck, betting on the Player is subject to a 1.29% House edge, the margin against Ties increases to 15.75%, but for the Banker it actually drops to 1.01%, making it an even better wager. The problem, of course, is that single-deck Baccarat is rarely seen in casinos.

To summarize, betting on the Banker hand, despite the 5% commission that must be paid, is the best wager available at the Baccarat table. In versions of the game where the Bank can be bought at auction, it is very much to the participant’s advantage to be the Banker rather than be betting on the Player hand. Wagers on Ties and other side bets have poor odds and should be avoided.