What Makes Mines Games Baccarat Side Bets Susceptible to Card Counting?
Considering you are reading this, we take it you probably already know the basic rules of baccarat. If this is not the case, we suggest you go back and familiarize yourself with the card values, the main betting options, and the drawing tableau.
Back to the topic, advantage play opportunities arise with baccarat side bets due to several peculiarities inherent to this card game. We cover them briefly below.
ADVANTAGE PLAY OPPORTUNITIES
1. Deeper penetration
Most baccarat games provide deeper penetration compared to blackjack. The game is typically dealt out of a shoe containing eight full decks of cards. Some dealers insert the cut card half a deck from the shoe’s end. The shoe is cut so deeply at times that only a couple of cards remain unseen before the reshuffle.
2. High limits on side wagers
Many baccarat tables impose considerably higher limits on side wagers that greatly surpass those in blackjack. Finding tables where side wagers go way over a hundred dollars is not a rare occurrence in this high-roller card game. This peculiarity, combined with the large payouts on winning side bets, could potentially enable counters to rake in handsome profits when the opportunity arises.
Baccarat players are permitted and even encouraged to use scorecards while at the table to record previous results, which might prove helpful in keeping track of the cards. This is not the case in blackjack where players can resort to using basic strategy cards only.
4. Easily track the cards
Unlike blackjack, baccarat games move at a very sluggish pace to the benefit of card counters, allowing them to easily track the cards even when using more complicated counting systems.
5. Key cards
Last but not least, nearly all side wagers in baccarat revolve around specific ‘key’ cards and this makes them vulnerable to counting. Shrewd players can exploit these optional bets when the remaining shoe is rich in key cards like sevens, for example.
Key Cards to Track When Counting Baccarat Side Bets
As we wrote earlier, baccarat side bets can potentially provide great opportunities for the advantage player because they are based on certain key cards. You stand better chances of placing a winning side bet if the remaining shoe is rich in those key cards.
The key cards differ depending on the type of side bet you are looking to place. Here are a couple of examples that come to mind.
- Some side bets require a particular final total to win that does not depend on the number of dealt cards. When this is the case, the key cards that can help advantage players have the same denomination as the winning total. For instance, the sevens are the key cards to track when you are looking to place ‘Tie on 7’ side wagers.
2. Other side bets pay for specific hand combinations that contain three cards. The key cards in such cases are usually those with denominations of 9 and 8. The same goes for any side bet that involves natural hands.