Although Baccarat used to be known as the preferred game of the super rich, baccarat is known today to be a game that anyone can play—it’s become more and more popular over the past 20 years and can be found in virtually every casino in the country.
While poker is far and away the most well-known game in the gambling world and is what everyone thinks of when they think of professional gamblers, the truth is that many of the most serious pro gamblers in the world aren’t playing poker—they’re playing baccarat.
Here are 4 reasons why so many pro gamblers prefer to play baccarat over any other game.
1- The House Edge Is Extremely Low in Baccarat
Now before we jump into this, I do want to note that one of the potential bets in baccarat actually has a horrible house edge—the tie. Just like in many other casino games, it’s usually the case that the house edge varies from one type of potential bet to another.
For example, if you bet on a single number in roulette, the house has a pretty high edge, but there are several bets that have a decent house edge.
In baccarat—if you’re not familiar with the rules—you and the dealer each make a hand out of 2 or 3 cards, and the player with the hand closest to the number 9 wins. You have to bet on whether the dealer will win, you will win, or whether there will be a tie.
If you bet on a tie, the house has an edge of almost 15%! To put that in perspective, the house edge on blackjack is about 5%, and the house edge on some of the bets in craps are about 1.5%.
So 15% is bad—really bad. It means that for every $100 that you bet you lose about $15.
Essentially you should never bet on a tie, but what about the other two bets? That’s where baccarat really shines—the other two bets have a house edge of about 1–1.5%.
That’s darn good. You’re going to be hard-pressed to find better odds than that outside of a few types of video poker games (and those only get a lower house edge if you have a good strategy and know what you’re doing).
If you’re going into a casino with the goal of having a good time and you don’t mind throwing your money away, then don’t worry about house edges at all. Just play whatever game you want to play and try to have a good time.
But if you’re serious about walking away with money in your pocket, then you need to be playing games that are going to do you favors, that are going to be worth your time and effort, that are going to put money in your pocket at the best rates possible.
That’s baccarat hands down.
2- Baccarat Is Very Simple to Play
Now this might sound like it doesn’t make much sense, especially when we’re talking about pro gamblers, but the truth is that professional gamblers aren’t trying to work hard when they walk into the casino—they’re trying to work smart, and they’re trying to win.
What’s smarter than playing a game that’s simple and doesn’t rely on complicated methods of card counting like blackjack or psychological warfare with your opponents like poker?
When you play the other games in a casino, you have to really be on your game. You have to pay close attention and know what you’re doing.
With baccarat, all of that nonsense goes out the window. When you really think about it, baccarat is essentially a guessing game. During each hand, you’re guessing on whether you or the dealer is going to win. That’s it.
What makes it even simpler is that you don’t even get to decide if you or the dealer draws another card or not! Each baccarat table in each casino has a set of rules for both the player and the dealer on how each hand has to be played no matter what.
You never have to make a decision beyond your initial bet with baccarat. You could sit and play on your phone for the entirety of your time in the casino and still make money as long as you’re not betting on a tie game.
3- You Can Play Baccarat Much Faster Than Other Games
One of the big advantages to baccarat from the standpoint of the professional gambler is that you can play it much more quickly than pretty much any other game.
Now don’t get me wrong—the pace of craps can be high for sure—but because of how craps works and how few bets at the craps table are actually worth making, you might have to sit at the craps table for a really long time in order to make money.
Now blackjack can definitely go quickly, which is one of the reasons it’s so popular among pro gamblers, but remember, blackjack requires you to really know what you’re doing and to have a strategy in place.
Plus, to really excel at blackjack, you have to know how to count cards, and if you start counting cards and the dealer or pitboss catches on, you’re in for a bad time.
Poker can be very slow, and there’s no way to predict your opponents, so it’s not at all the kind of game you can make a lot of money at quickly.
And even though blackjack is fast, it can wear you out—you’re having to pay really close attention to the game at all times, and you have to think pretty hard to implement a strategy perfectly. If you stop paying attention for even a moment, it won’t matter that you’re playing quickly if the mistake costs you your winnings.
Baccarat has none of these problems. You don’t have to think. The only strategy you have to worry about is a betting strategy. But you could throw the betting strategy out the window and still do a decent job as long.
And you can play it fast. Because of the simplicity of the game and the lack of decisions that have to be made, you can move from one hand to the next very quickly. This means that the pro gambler who has a good betting strategy in place and knows how they want to play is going to be able to sit at the table and make a lot of money very quickly.
And who doesn’t want to make money fast?
4- You Can’t Mess It Up Unless You Bet on a Tie
I know we’ve discussed this a little bit up to this point, but I want to go into this in depth and really stress it—you literally cannot mess up when playing baccarat unless you bet on a tie.
Which means all you have to do is not bet on a tie and you’re going to do well.
I recommend baccarat all the time to new players for precisely this reason—there’s no way for them to screw up if they follow that simple rule. This is the same reason that you see new players gravitate to slot machines—they’re worried about messing up. When you take that element out of the game, it makes the game more inviting.
For the pro gambler who is intent on making their living gambling, you have got to be playing a game that has as little room for error as possible because you can’t afford a mistake.
If you make a small mistake at work, you can usually correct it and move on, right? Not so with the pro gambler. A small mistake could cause a pro gambler to lose all their earnings for the evening, becoming no longer a pro but just another schmuck who can’t make a buck.
In the first hour or two of gambling at a blackjack table, sure, your concentration is probably going to be high and you’re probably going to have no problem at all paying attention and making all the right decisions.
But how many people can make their living for the week off an hour or two of gambling? Not many. You’re probably going to need to be in the casino for hours at a time.
What happens when you start to get tired, when your brain isn’t working as quickly or as accurately as it was when you walked in the door?
You start making mistakes.
If you’re a pro gambler, even if your game of choice is poker or blackjack, baccarat is still a great game to fill in the gaps with because of the fact that you can’t mess it up. You can still make your hourly wage by continuing to play, but you can give your brain a rest and not overwork it with tons of decisions.
If baccarat is your game of choice, I’d love to know what you love about it. Let me know why you play baccarat in the comments!