Part of baccarat’s allure is the way it resists strategy. Players have no say in how the cards are dealt. Betting is the only variable, and there are only three options. The preferable bet is obviously banker because it wins most frequently and has the lowest house edge. This is especially true if the vig is only four percent.

Bets on player don’t win as often, but the no-vig payoff brings the house edge for player nearly even to banker. The difference between player and banker in all cases is less than one percent.

Tie is the only wager that offers a clear choice, and that choice should be no. The 14.4 percent house edge qualifies it as a sucker bet. Combining a tie bet with a simultaneous bet on player or banker drops the overall house edge to about 12 percent. That’s still an edge for suckers. There is simply no way to improve tie. You’ll get better odds betting craps propositions.

Following trends and counting cards

Some people think it’s possible to predict future baccarat results by analyzing previous wins and losses. That’s why you’ll often see players studiously scribbling notes. Casinos offer paper and writing instruments to assist them. This is an obvious indication that such systems don’t work.

Counting cards is also not effective. Repeated analysis has shown that baccarat’s rules make the game impossible to accurately predict until the very end of the shoe. A millionaire could earn about $10 an hour with perfect counting. So baccarat remains an unbeatable game and an elegant mystery.…