If you’ve played Baccarat at Bodog Casino, you probably know about the game’s three basic bets: the Player, the Banker, and the Tie. The Player (1.24%, with an eight-deck shoe) and Banker (1.06%) bets have some of the lowest house edges in the casino, so these get wagered most of the time. But what about the Tie? If the casino pays out at 9:1 like Bodog does, the house edge is 4.85%. Go to a venue that pays 8:1, and that edge goes all the way up to 14.4%. Yikes.

People still bet the Tie, though. Baccarat is for entertainment, and the larger payout makes the Tie more exciting. However, there are some rare circumstances that come up in live Baccarat where the Tie could make sense from an odds perspective.

 

Deuces Never Loses

The situations in question fall under what would be considered “advantage play.” In theory, you can count cards in Baccarat much the same way as you might in Blackjack, although there are mixed opinions (most of them negative) on how useful counting is when playing punto banco. Nevertheless, John May crunched the numbers and found that you could get a small edge betting on the Tie when the shoe is rich with even-value cards. That’s because two even cards always add up to an even number, and you’re more likely to end up in a tie when there are fewer odd results available.

There’s just one problem with this strategy: According to May, this opportunity will come up about once every 10,000 hands. That makes it not worth the effort of counting cards into an eight-deck shoe, and possibly incurring the wrath of the casino in the process. You might be able to make a few plus-EV bets on the Tie using other advantage play tricks, but again, they don’t come up too often. If you know the fifth card dealt is going to be a Deuce, for example.

Having said all that, there are some high rollers in Baccarat who are able to use edge sorting techniques to gain an advantage on the casino, but that’s because they’re high rollers, and they can negotiate with the casino to change the rules – like having the cards dealt before the bet is placed. If you’ve got the dough, you could do this, too, but look where that got Phil Ivey.