Nobody knows

Baccarat is a game of chance. Nobody knows what the cards coming out of a shoe are, not even the casino. Since the next hand is always an unknown, the best the gambler can hope for is using either Avant Dernier or Last Bet as their betting strategy if they’re going to try and win more bets than losses. Any other approach is disconnected from the shoe.

Avant Dernier / Last Bet hybrid

I’ve been wondering about some kind of Avant Dernier / Last Bet hybrid system for Baccarat. Since both systems have specific weaknesses (Avant Dernier loses on doubles, Last Bet loses on jumps), perhaps what’s needed to get more wins than losses (that’s the best one can hope for folks — you’re never, EVER going to win every bet!) is a hybrid of the two? A ‘two-speed’ system if you will, with a loss of two bets in a row triggering the shifts. Since both Avant Dernier and Last Bet follow the shoe, neither ever bet the opposite (for example, betting Player after Banker – it’s always Banker Banker). This runs contrary to gut instincts, which in a 50/50 game, knows it’s just a matter of time before the hands jump. To play either system, you have to be content to lose the jumps and hope that you’ll wind up with more wins than losses by the time you leave the table.

Banker vs Player

In baccarat there are two primary bets, Banker and Player. The variation that I see most is EZ Baccarat which has side bets called Dragon (pays 40:1) and Panda (pays 25:1). The question is, which is the better primary bet?

Conventional wisdom says to always bet Banker because statistically Banker enjoys a slight edge over Player (roughly 1%, or 1 hand out of 100). In EZ Baccarat this edge is offset when a Dragon occurs and the Banker bet pushes. There is no push on Panda.

Lately I’ve seen a lot of shoes go Player as the dominant hand and I’ve lost against them by betting Banker at the wrong time. I’ve also been burned by Dragons.

Four years ago, my pet bet was when the board showed two Bankers, I’d bet Player. I don’t recall how I came up with this choice except perhaps by observing the horizontal DNA string of the hands going BBP at times. Perhaps I also felt that in a 50/50 game, if I let two Bankers go by, then the likelihood of a Player was somehow better (regardless of the math…). Overall, I did well with this bet. Perhaps it’s time to revisit it?

BBP runs contrary to Avant Dernier and Last Bet, neither of which produce the BBP pattern as an outcome. So it’s going against the grain, both as a bet choice and also socially against the hopes of the other gamblers wanting Banker streaks. Nonetheless, if the overall strategy is to bet as few hands as possible to reach your target goal, then BBP is as viable a choice as cherry picking the Banker bets out of Avant Dernier and without the risk of pushing on the Dragon hands.

So the question is, when is the best time to do BBP? I suspect it’s after seeing BBB several times. In an eight-deck shoe, BBB and BBP appear on average eight times each. BBP is easier to count on the board, whereas BBB is disguised in a Banker run because it overlaps. For example, BBBB actually contains two BBB patterns, BBBBB contains three and so on:

In other words, if we’ve already seen an above average amount of BBB, then statistically it’s more likely that we’ll see BBP next.

Banker streak to 13

Yesterday I witnessed a Banker streak of 13 at the Baccarat tables.  What’s notable about this streak was it had no ties, not one. This is a good example of the difference between ‘real world’ Baccarat and ‘computer modeling’ and how in spite of the best shuffling machines, cards are harder to randomize than numbers. A streak of 12, with no ties, is as high as it goes for the ‘Wizard of Odds’ 1000 eight-deck shoes yet there it was, 13 Bankers in a row at the tables.

eBooks are the future.

In spite of those that contend otherwise, the eBook is the way print publishing is going. The advantages of eBooks far outweigh their printed predecessors in a number of ways. For example, cost. Printing books is already expensive and is only going to go up and up. Such are the costs to print a book on paper and then ship it. No such costs for eBooks.

Search. You can’t search a printed book, but you can an eBook. From a scholar’s point of view, the eBook is the obvious choice.

Group participation. Again, the eBook has it all over print. The ability to engage an infinite amount of participants in dialog over a particular passage or sentence is already being used by teachers.

Baccarat thoughts

Coming back to playing Baccarat after a four year hiatus overall has been fun and entertaining. Unfortunately, the same conclusions I have about casino gambling have remained largely unchanged, as they have since I was sixteen and that is, the math sucks.

I know for a fact, simply because I spent a lot of time studying the subject, that each time going in to the casino the odds are against me. This makes it difficult for me ever to get too enthusiastic or optimistic about my chances. Especially at Baccarat, which in spite of its appearances, is just a glorified coin toss. So most of the time, I just watch other people play, fascinated by the spectacle.

When I do play, I hope that I can hit my target number in one bet and then cash out. Playing as little as possible I’m convinced is the best way to survive the casino without a system. As for systems, Avant Dernier and Last Bet are the only two that make any sense because they hook into the shoe. When they hit it’s magic. When they don’t, it’s disaster. So unless you’re willing to stick it out and hope you’re going to get a good shoe, playing a system can really be dangerous to your wallet.