Can You Do Any Better than the "Banker" Bet in Baccarat?
Baccarat is rather simple to play compared to most table games. It only features a few main bets, including the banker, player, and tie wagers.
This game also has a few side bets. However, you really only need to know the main wagers in order to play the game.
Assuming you want to achieve the best chance of winning, then you’ll simply bet on the banker every time. This rule of thumb makes baccarat strategy extremely easy to understand.
But is there anything that can improve your chances of winning beyond just wagering on the "banker"? I’ll answer this question below by covering a few different ways to further boost your odds.
Why Is the Banker Bet Important?
You merely need to wager on the banker to achieve optimal odds. After all, the banker bet offers the best return to player (RTP) out of any baccarat wager.
Here are the payout percentages for the three main bets:
Banker hand winning = 98.94% RTP
Player hand winning = 98.76%
Both hands tying = 96.15% (9:1 payout) or 85.64% (8:1 payout)
Casinos take a 5% commission out of winning banker bets. Even still, this wager offers the highest payback available.
The player bet runs a close second with 98.6% RTP. You may consider it if you’re into alternating wagers for fun.
The tie bet delivers the highest payouts of this group. However, it also features the lowest payback of the group by far. Even the 9:1 payouts only lead to 96.15% RTP.
Does the Baccarat RTP Go Higher Than 98.94%?
In many cases, baccarat RTP doesn’t get any better than 98.94%. However, you can push the payback higher in rare circumstances. Here are the three main cases where you can enjoy higher payout percentages.
As with blackjack, the number of decks also affects baccarat RTP. I’ve mentioned multiple times how the banker bet’s payback is 98.94%.
However, this figure is rounded up. An eight-deck game features 98.936% RTP to be exact. Meanwhile, a six-deck game offers 98.938% RTP.
Not much separation exists between these figures. You won’t gain much of an advantage when going from an eight-deck table to a six-deck table.
However, you do benefit a little more by playing single-deck games. Single-deck baccarat features 98.98% RTP. Although this change isn’t a major difference, it’s at least more noticeable than the gap between six- and eight-deck tables.
Closeup of a Baccarat Table
Here are examples to show how much more you stand to win with the single-deck game when risking $10,000 total:
RTP is 98.98%
10,000 x 0.9898 = 9,898.00
You win back $9,898.00
RTP is 98.938%
10,000 x 0.98938 = 9,893.80
You win back $9,893.80
RTP is 98.936%
10,000 x 0.98936 = 9,893.60
You win back $9,893.60
EZ baccarat sounds like a dream because it doesn’t take any commission from winning banker bets. Instead, you receive the full amount of your win.
The catch, though, is that this game’s special rules make up for the lack of commissions. If the banker wins with a three-card 7, you push rather than being paid even money.
Luckily, this situation only happens in 2.25% of rounds. The net effect is that EZ baccarat offers 98.98% RTP.
Reduced Commission Baccarat
Reduced commission baccarat is the best game available. It only takes a 4% commission from winning banker wagers.
The 1% reduction may not sound like much, but it has a serious impact on the payback. You’ll enjoy 99.40% RTP through reduced commission baccarat.
The one problem with this game is that it’s not widely available. Isleta Resort and Casino is the only venue I know of that features this version.
However, some casinos offer reduced commission tables as a promotion. If you ever find this game, then you should definitely take a seat!
Drawbacks of Seeking Better Baccarat Games
The obvious benefit to playing baccarat games with high RTP is that you stand to win more money. As you’ll see below, though, such tables aren’t without their disadvantages.Group of Happy People Playing Baccarat
Land-Based Casinos Only
You won’t find the previously described opportunities in mobile casinos. Single-deck games, EZ baccarat, and reduced commission games are only available in land-based venues.
This fact might not bother you if you’re mainly interested in playing at brick and mortar casinos. But it would be nice if the same opportunities were also available at mobile gaming sites.
Of course, you can still look forward to 98.94% RTP at any online casino. You just won’t get an opportunity with the absolute best baccarat games.
Even when you do scour land-based casinos for payback better than 98.94%, you’ll have difficulty finding what you’re looking for.
Some casinos in major gambling destinations like Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Biloxi, and Detroit offer better games. By and large, though, casinos don’t like featuring single deck or reduced commission games.
The latter are especially rare in the gaming world. Casinos only offer reduced commission baccarat as a promotion.
You’ll have better luck finding EZ baccarat tables. Of course, this game only provides slightly better RTP at 98.96%.
Higher Minimum Bets Required
The fact that the top baccarat games are only available in land-based casinos means that you’ll need to place higher minimum wagers.
The minimum bet at brick and mortar casinos ranges from $5 to $10. On the other hand, you only need to risk $1 per hand with online baccarat.
Maybe you’re not the type of person who enjoys playing for micro stakes. If you do like placing the lowest minimum bets possible, though, then you’ll have to play mobile baccarat.
Should You Bother Searching for Higher Baccarat RTP?
You can see that there are pros and cons to playing the special games covered here. The obvious pro is that EZ, single-deck, and reduced commission baccarat all boast higher payout percentages.
If you’ve ever wanted better odds than what’s normally available through baccarat, then these games provide that chance.
Downtown Grand Baccarat Table
On the downside, though, you’ll need to spend time searching for these opportunities. Many brick and mortar casinos don’t offer single-deck or reduced commission tables.
You’ll also need to bet more when you do find the best-paying baccarat games. Land-based casinos require at least $5 dollar minimum bets. Some of the fancier establishments on the Las Vegas Strip require $10 per hand.
In short, you need to weigh the pros and cons of whether it’s worthwhile to search for the highest baccarat RTP. If you’re just a casual low-stakes player, then you might not find the effort to be worth your time.
The direct return to player percentage for each wager option and game isn’t the only thing you need to consider. Two other factors can influence your return. Online bonuses and casino rewards programs are both useful.
Most online baccarat bonuses don’t improve your returns, but a few can. The important thing to look at is what you have to do to clear the bonus. If the clearing requirements aren’t too high, you can clear the bonus and increase your return.
Casino rewards programs are available in some the best real money online casinos and in most land-based casinos. When you join a casino rewards program, you earn comps, which help make up for some of your losses.
While this isn’t exactly the same as making more money, it’s still better than spending money on the things you earn as rewards.
Baccarat already offers a fine chance to win thanks to its 98.94% payback. But you can do even better than this RTP in a few cases.
EZ baccarat is the most prevalent game that features a higher payout percentage. It offers 98.98% RTP thanks to special rules.