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Baccarat card counting - Effects of removing a card
In either blackjack or baccarat a good first step in developing a card counting strategy is to determine the effect of removing any given card from the game. The following table shows the number of banker, player, and tie wins resulting from the removing of one card in an 8-deck shoe. The card removed is indicated in the image--leftolumn.
|Banker Win||Player Win||Tie Win|
The next table puts these number is some perspective by indicating the probability of a banker, player, and tie win according to the card removed.
|Banker Win||Player Win||Tie Win|
The next table shows the house edge of each bet by card removed.
The next table shows the effect on the house edge of each bet according to the card removed. A negative number indicates removal is bad for the player, positive indicates removal is good.
The next table multiplies the above numbers by ten million.
To adapt this information to a card counting strategy, the player should start with three running counts of zero. As each card is seen as it leaves the shoe the player should add the point values of that card to each running count. For example if the first card to be played is an 8 then the three running counts would be: banker=-502, player=533, tie=6543. Of course the player does not have to keep a running track of all three counts. In fact the point values for the banker and player are nearly opposite of each other. A high running count for the banker would mean a corresponding low count for the player, and vise versa.
In order for any given bet to become advantageous the player should divide the running count by the ratio of cards left in the deck to get the true count. A bet hits zero house edge at the following true counts:
- Banker: 105791
- Player: 123508
- Tie: 1435963
Assuming you were able to actually play this strategy perfectly you would notice that the true counts seldom passed the point of zero house edge. The next table shows the ratio of hands played, based on a sample of 100 million, in which the true count passes the break even points above. The image--leftolumn indicates the ratio of cards dealt before the cards are shuffled.
The final table indicates the expected revenue per 100 bets and a $1000 wager every time a positive expected value occured. Please remember that this table assumes the player is able to keep a perfect count and the casino is not going to mind the player only making a bet once every 475 hands of less.
I hope this section shows that for all practical purposes baccarat is not a countable game. For more information on a similar experiment I would recomment The Theory of Blackjack by Peter A. Griffin. Although the book is mainly devoted to blackjack he has part of a chapter titled 'Can Baccarat Be Beaten?' on pages 216 to 223. Griffin concludes by saying that even in Atlantic City, with a more liberal shuffle point than Las Vegas, the player betting $1000 in positive expectation hands can expect to profit 70 cents an hour.
For your further consideration I would recommend this baccarat odds calculator. You can put in any deck composition and it will give the house edge on all three bets.
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Written by: Michael Shackleford