Are Baccarat Side Bets Worthless?

Baccarat is a simple and exciting game that involves a tremendous amount of luck. It's easy to learn and play off the bat, so it's become one of the go-to's for casual gamblers and beginners. Before explaining the side bets, let's understand the basic rules.

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Baccarat Rules

Baccarat RulesInstead of playing against each other, players face the dealer. Each of them is dealt 2 cards at the beginning of the game. You need to guess whose cards can get closer to the number "9" (if the number is higher than that, the dealer either drops the first digit or deduces the result by 10).

The 3 main choices during the game are "the player side," "the dealer side" and "the tie." The house edge in this game is moderate, which adds even more appeal to the game.

A third card is drawn if neither hand equals 8 or 9. The game has specific rules for the player and the banker when they open the third card for themselves or the player.

Although most of the game outcome is luck, combined with some money and time management tactics, you can use the full potential of the player's edge.

Do Baccarat Strategies Work?

Each hand of baccarat is separate and in no way related to any previous one. It's also completely random, no matter how good of a strategy you're using. Still, some gamblers and experts will recommend you to follow a specific method like the Martingale, the Fibonacci, and the Paroli.

No matter how neat these mathematically-based systems seem, they won't decrease the house edge. These are just methodologies of risk management and bankroll control.

The banker has a higher chance of winning overall (45.8%), while the player wins 44.6% of the time. Ties only have a 9.6% chance to happen. Thus, we believe that you should always bet on the banker's hand and avoid tie wagers.

What Is a Baccarat Side Bet?

Baccarat Side BetA baccarat side bet is any other outcome aside from the main choices mentioned above. These usually offer a higher house edge, which means they have a lower chance of happening than the conventional choices.

Depending on the casino and game variety you're playing, various side bets may be available. Here are a few of them:

  • All red or all black: With a house edge of 6.53% (24:1) for all-black and 14% (22:1) for all white, this side bet requires the player to wager on the fact that the player's hand will contain either of the 2.
  • Bellagio match: To win this bet, you need to make good on the promise of either the banker or the player having a three-of-a-kind. Wagering on the player's hand puts the house edge at 5.27% (75:1), and betting on the banker gives you 8.57% (68:1).
  • Dragon 7: This is an opportunity for winning 40:1 of your initial bet (house edge equals 7.61%). It happens if the sum of the banker's 3 cards is 7.
  • Lucky bonus: A similar wager to the one above, this outcome requires the dealer to win with a hand worth of 6. The payout is 18:1 (the house edge is 2.34%), but this bet is only valid if the player has a banker bet on the same round. Another variation of this is the Super 6, which pays out at 12:1.
  • Big and small: This bet type relies on the number of open cards at the end of the round and has nothing to do with the contents. If the game ends with 4 cards, the payout is 3:2, and if it finishes with a combined number of 5 or 6 cards, it's 2:1.
  • Combined value bets: This bet is much like over/under wagers in sports and has a few varieties. One type bets whether the cumulative value of player and banker hands will be over or under 9.5. Another considers if the combined outcome is odd or even.

Many more side bets exist, and what's allowed during the game depends on the casino or the table you're playing at.

Advantages of Baccarat Side Bets

As you can see, this betting concept offers a way worse player edge compared to the main game. Still, they're famous for a few reasons.

First of all, side bets provide options. Betting on the banker's hand hours on end may be safe, but it can get boring really fast. Changing up your strategy and including them might as well add some tension back into the gameplay.

Second, if you love taking risks, this is an excellent strategy to try. You can see how small the chances of any side bet winning are, but acquiring a large payout can be an excellent motivator.

It adds to the enjoyment of the game. If you're playing not to win but for entertainment, you won't be too upset to have lost some money. Gambling is entertainment, much like going to the movies and hiking, and you need to ensure it stays that way. Surrendering to the moment can be the best outcome you seek, whether you win or lose.

Disadvantages of Baccarat Side Bets

This bet type offers a significant house edge, which many players prefer to avoid. If your objective is to win as much money in as safe an environment as possible, side bets aren't something you want to have in the mix.

In addition to the small player's advantage, these bets feature a tiny chance of winning. Sure, if you're gambling, it's probably a soundcheck of your relationship with lady luck. Still, with most side bets, you're simply pushing the experiment too far.

Side bets aren't for people with a limited bankroll. If you want to play it on the riskier side, you'll definitely burn through the budget fast. It's not the wisest decision to do that, especially if you're trying to input other money management strategies over on the vanilla side of the game.

Final Thoughts

Whether you decide to include or avoid side bets in your gameplay, always keep in mind:

  • Baccarat is a game of chance
  • No strategy can remove the existing house edge

Your ultimate choice to play side bets or not boils down to whether you want a more or less risky game. Adding a few of them for excitement is counter-intuitive if you use mathematical strategies to drive down the risk. Still, if you view the game as entertainment and have enough budget, it isn't too bad to try them out.

In any case, the only valid recommendation is to limit your bankroll, keep it separate from winnings, take breaks, and refrain from chasing your losses.

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Kevin Cochran
Kevin, a seasoned marketing manager with a 20-year tenure in gambling marketing, where his expertise lies in slot reviews and trend analysis, providing invaluable insights to players and casino operators.
Slot reviewer
Université de Montréal
Université de Montréal degree, Behavioral Economics knowledge, 20-year career in gambling marketing, personally developed Random Number Generation Theory.
Expert in:
  • Slot Reviews
  • Content Marketing
  • Trend Analysis
Reviewed by Head of Content:
Dmitry Rogalchuk
Last updated on: 01.02.2024

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