Is Baccarat a Game of Skill or Is it All About Chance?

Is Baccarat a Game of Skill or Is it All About Chance?


As a sophisticated and elegant card game, baccarat has been popular in casinos for centuries. However, as baccarat card decks were not available to everyone, for many years it was considered a game for a small circle of individuals and the elite. With the development of the online gambling industry, many of the classic casino games have been made available to just about every Arabic gambler, and baccarat is no exception. For example, by choosing VipArabClub Casino as your gambling destination, you can try many different versions of online baccarat including live dealer games. 

However, before playing a few rounds of baccarat, you need to learn the rules of the game. And if you're not familiar with the classic card game, you might be wondering: is baccarat a game of skill, or is it all about chance? We've researched this awesome casino game and highlighted a few important aspects including both elements of luck and skill. So, keep reading to find out if baccarat is pure chance or if there is a strategy element involved.

Basics of Baccarat

Before we discuss the various aspects of the action in baccarat, let's find out what the game is all about in general. The game involves two primary hands: the Player and the Banker. While baccarat might look visually similar to blackjack, the two games are in fact very different. 

Famous for its simplicity, baccarat does not require you to make any complicated calculations while playing. All you need to know is how baccarat cards are valued. Unlike blackjack, here face cards - as well as 10s - are worth zero points. Numbered cards are worth as much as their face value (except for the 10, which is worth zero points as mentioned above). As for the Ace, it is worth 1 point. 

Before each game round starts, you can choose between three betting options: on the banker, on the player or on tie, with the latter being the riskiest and most lucrative option. The dealer then deals two cards each to form starting hands. Notably, in baccarat, a third card can be dealt to complete the hand. However, you as a player have no control over this process, as it is automated and executed by the baccarat rules. 

When all cards are dealt, the hands are opened. A winning hand is a one that has scored as close to 9 as possible. So, for example, if you bet on the banker and the banker hand wins, you will get a payout of 1 in 0.95. It is also possible that the player's hand and the banker's hand are valued at the same number of points. In that case, the tie is a winning bet and pays 8 to 1. 

So, at first glance, baccarat may seem to be a game of chance, as you have no control over the outcome. However, there are a few things in favor of baccarat that have some element of strategy, and we will discuss them below.

The Role of Skill in Baccarat

So, even though baccarat seems like a very simple game where luck takes precedence, there are still some skill elements to be aware of. That means, playing baccarat means you can use some betting strategies to theoretically improve your chances of winning. Here are three basic things that make baccarat a strategic online casino game.

Bankroll Management

Although it may sound trivial, bankroll management is one of the most important parts of this game. By managing your gambling budget wisely, you minimize your online gambling expenses. So, bankroll management is a strategy that allows you to minimize the risk of big losses, rather than increasing your chances of getting big wins. So, here are some sensible bankroll management tips every baccarat player should follow:

  • Set a limit on the length of the playing session and stick to it. Even if luck is on your side and you win big, learn to quit in time, so you always have time for more important things than gambling. 
  • Spend as much as you can afford to wager without breaking your family budget. Keep in mind that your online gambling expenditures should be such that it does not affect your quality of life. Some online casinos such as VipArabClub offer their users advanced responsible gambling tools. These include deposit limits, game session limits, reality check, and even a self-exclusion option. Don't neglect these tools, especially if you notice that your gambling behavior has started to change. 
  • Don't gamble on borrowed funds. We advise you to build your gambling budget from funds you can easily part with, in case your luck runs out.

So, adhering to the rules of sound bankroll management, you will essentially always have a strategy to reduce the risk of major financial losses from online gambling games like baccarat.

Card Counting 

Although the card-counting technique is a strategy primarily used in blackjack, there are baccarat players who also use it. According to some experienced gamblers, the card-counting technique can increase your chances of winning. However, keep in mind that card counting in baccarat is a more complex task. Furthermore, the effect of card counting on game results in baccarat is not as pronounced as in blackjack. 

You can divide all the cards into three groups: 2-6, 7-9 and 10-Ace. Assign a value of -1, 0 and 1 to cards from each of these groups respectively. Then, as you turn in cards from the deck, keep a total score. For example, if your total count is a negative number, then the deck is dominated by high cards. Note, however, that the card-counting technique only makes sense when you are playing the live dealer version of baccarat.

Betting Systems

As with some chance games such as online slots or roulette, baccarat can be a good option for using betting systems. There are a lot of betting strategies based on numerical sequences, with the Martingale System being probably the most popular. If you want to play baccarat using this betting strategy, here is a step-by-step guide on what you need to do:

  • Start with the lowest possible bet. The higher your initial bet, the more likely you are to fall outside the betting range before you win. 
  • Double your stake every time you lose.
  • If your bet wins, go back to your original bet. 

By following this simple algorithm, you can cover the cost of losing bets and even stay in profit. However, Martingale is a risky strategy which can also lead to big losses. When using this betting system, bet on either the player or the banker, as the probability of winning on a tie is much lower.

Elements of Luck

So, it appears that the argument that baccarat is a game of skill is not strong enough. Furthermore, baccarat has several distinctive elements that are typical of games of chance. So, below are a few things that characterize baccarat as a card game where the element of luck prevails.

Cards Dealt at Random

Baccarat is a card game played with several decks, usually eight. Before the start of each game round, the cards are carefully shuffled to ensure random distribution. Thus, it is not easy to predict what each new dealt card will be. Although elaborate baccarat card-counting techniques have been developed, you'll need to put in a lot of time and effort to master them. So, since the cards are dealt at random, your skill is unlikely to give you any significant advantage in baccarat. 

Predefined Drawing Rules

Baccarat is a game of strict drawing rules, and hence you can't influence the gaming process directly. That being said, baccarat virtually eliminates any betting strategy based on skill. These fixed rules of play ensure equal chances for every player sitting at the baccarat table, whether virtual or physical. Thus, baccarat is a card game that is highly dependent on chance.

Closing Thoughts

So, while you've heard that in baccarat, skill and chance are intertwined to create a thrilling gambling experience, in fact, the element of luck plays a predominant role. However, by managing your bankroll skillfully, you can greatly reduce the risk of big losses. On the other hand, by using betting systems, you increase baccarat's volatility and winning potential accordingly. But considering that betting strategies like Martingale are mainly used in games of chance, they can hardly be called strategies based on skill. 

The game's random card dealing and fixed drawing rules make baccarat a gambling option that depends heavily on chance. Although you can learn card-counting techniques, you will need to put in a lot of time and effort to do so. Furthermore, baccarat card-counting technique has a less pronounced influence compared to blackjack. Notwithstanding the above, baccarat remains a fascinating and timeless casino game, which continues to fascinate players with its elegance and mystique.

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