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.

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