- Baccarat Analysis
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Baccarat is a game steeped in superstition. The vast majority of players keep careful track of the shoe history, either on paper or with the aid of screens that show every hand since the shoe began. There are various ways of recording this information. The companies that market the screens that display the shoe history present it in various ways, according to the most popular methods of trying to define patterns.
Before going further, let me give my usual comment on notation. When referring to an actual bet, I use capital letters. When referring to the player playing the game, I use lower case. I invite the rest of the world to follow this convention, to help avoid confusion.
For those who don't know me, let me take a moment to say that all this effort at trying to predict the next hand is a waste of time. For all practical purposes, the odds are the same for every hand, and the past history does not matter. Now before the perfectionists out there write to me, yes, I know if you had the use of a computer, a card counter could make computer-perfect decisions according to the composition of the remaining cards, which would very rarely result in an advantage on some bets. However, that is not what I'm talking about it. I'm saying that trying to find a pattern in past Player and Banker wins is as useless as predicting the next color in roulette (on a fair wheel) according to past reds and blacks.
Although I personally don't play baccarat, I have wondered for years about some of the tables in those displays of the shoe history. The staff at the Venetian has been very helpful in helping me understand, so that I may enlighten the rest of the world. So, with the introductions out of the way, let's get started. Here is a picture of a typical sign, seen at the Venetian. There are various components of display, which I will address individually.
How to Read Them
This section above is called the 'bead plate.' It used to be that players could buy a tray with cubes with sides noting Player, Banker, and Tie wins. Wins are recorded as follows:
- Blue = Player win
- Red = Banker win
- Green = Tie win
The player starts in the upper left hand corner and makes his way down. When he reaches the bottom row, he moves over one column to the right and back to the top row.
Big RoadThe next section, pictured above, is called the 'Big Road.' This primarily keeps track of Player and Banker wins. Tie and pair wins are also noted with slashes and dots. To be specific, a tie is noted with a green line through the previous Player or Banker win. A Player pair is noted with a blue dot in the lower right corner of the hand it occurred in. A Banker pair with a red dot in upper left. In the interest of simplicity, in this example there were only Player and Banker wins.
Much like in the Bead Plate, the player starts in the upper left, as well as marking Player wins in blue, and Banker wins in red. However, instead of a solid circle, with a Chinese character in the middle, the Big Road has only the blue and red outlines of circles.
Unlike the Bead Plate, in the Big Road the player starts at the top of a new column with each change in Player and Banker winning. Note the grid is six rows deep. In the event there are seven or more consecutive Player or Banker wins, the results will move to the right, creating what is known as a dragon tail. In this example that never happens, as there was never more than four consecutive wins on the same side.
Big Eye Boy
With the next table, it is no longer so obvious what is going on, and it is here where I started to need help. As mentioned before, baccarat players are a very superstitious bunch. While the strategies they use to find patterns can be a complicated topic, one basic truth is they like predictability and repeating patterns. For example, if the last 12 hands were BBBPPPBBBPPP, I would bet that everybody at the table would bet on the Banker the next hand. Note how wins happen in groups of three. The Big Eye Boy table is useful in gauging how repetitive the shoe is. Red entries are a sign of repetition, and blue entries are a sign of a chaotic, 'choppy' shoe. It is important to note that in the Big Eye Boy table, blue and red are not associated with Player and Banker wins, as they are on the previous two tables.
The first entry in the Big Eye Boy table is the hand after the first entry in the second column of the Big Road, so that there is enough information to judge if a pattern is developing or not. Here is where the air starts to get thin, so pay attention. Every entry in the Big Eye Boy table, as well as the next two tables, will refer to a specific entry in the Big Road. Each entry in the Big Eye Boy is recorded as follows:
- If the hand in question causes a new column in the Big Road, then compare the previous two columns in the Big Road. If they are the same in depth, then record a red circle in the Big Eye Boy. If they are not, then record a blue circle.
- If the hand in question is the same outcome as the previous hand (skipping ties), then compare the cell to the left of the newly created entry in the Big Road with the cell directly above that one. If these two cells are the same, whether both Player, both Banker, or both blank; then mark a red in the Big Eye Boy. Otherwise, mark a blue.
In other words, consider the latest entry in the Big Road. Then, move one cell to the left. Then, move up. If the move up does not result in a change, mark red, if it does, mark blue.
In the event the Big Road forms a dragon tail, for purposes of the Big Eye Boy as well as the Small Road and Cockroach Pig, assume that the Big Road is infinitely deep, and ask yourself what would have happened under that assumption.
Note that if the Big Road consisted entirely of an alternating pattern of x Player wins with x Banker wins, then the Big Eye Boy would be entirely red.
To help with this part, I explain below every entry in the Big Eye Boy table that follows. I put the results in Excel so you could refer to the exact points in the grid I'm referring to.
For example, the first entry shows cell A1 on the Big Eye Boy table. This corresponds to the same hand represented in cell C1 of the Big Road table. Since cell C1 is the beginning of a new column, we check if the previous two columns are equal in length. They are, so we color the Big Eye Boy red for cell A1.
Big Eye Boy
Big Eye Boy — Play by Play
|Big Eye Boy Cell||Big Road Cell||Color||Reason|
|A1||C1||Red||Columns A and B equal in length|
|B1||C2||Blue||B1 and B2 don't match|
|B2||D1||Blue||Columns B and C unequal in length|
|B3||E1||Blue||Columns C and D unequal in length|
|B4||E2||Blue||D1 and D2 don't match|
|C1||E3||Red||D2 and D3 match|
|C2||E4||Red||D3 and D4 match|
|D1||F1||Blue||Columns D and E unequal in length|
|D2||G1||Blue||Columns E and F unequal in length|
|E1||HI||Red||Columns F and G equal in length|
|E2||I1||Red||Columns G and H equal in length|
|F1||I2||Blue||H1 and H2 don't match|
|F2||J1||Blue||Columns H and I unequal in length|
|G1||J2||Red||I1 and I2 match|
|H1||J3||Blue||I2 and I3 don't match|
|H2||K1||Blue||Columns I and J unequal in length|
|I1||K2||Red||J1 and J2 match|
|I2||K3||Red||J2 and J3 match|
|I3||L1||Red||Columns J and K equal in length|
|I4||L2||Red||K1 and K2 match|
|J1||M1||Blue||Columns K and L unequal in length|
|J2||N1||Blue||Columns L and M unequal in length|
|J3||N2||Blue||M1 and M2 don't match|
|K1||N3||Red||M2 and M3 match|
|L1||O1||Blue||Columns M and N unequal in length|
|M1||O2||Red||N1 and N2 match|
|N1||P1||Blue||Columns N and O unequal in length|
|O1||P2||Red||O1 and O2 equal|
|O2||Q1||Red||Columns O and P equal in length|
|P1||R1||Blue||Columns P and Q unequal in length|
|Q1||S1||Red||Columns Q and R equal in length|
|R1||S2||Blue||R1 and R2 don't match|
|S1||S3||Red||R2 and R3 match|
|T1||T1||Blue||Columns R and S unequal in length|
|U1||T2||Red||S1 and S2 match|
|U2||T3||Red||S2 and S3 match|
|U3||U1||Red||Columns S and T equal in length|
|U4||U2||Red||T1 and T2 match|
|V1||V1||Red||Columns T and U equal in length|
|W1||V2||Red||U1 and U2 match|
|W2||W1||Blue||Columns U and V unequal in length|
|X1||X1||Blue||Columns V and W unequal in length|
|Y1||Y1||Red||Columns W and X equal in length|
|Z1||Y2||Blue||X1 and X2 don't match|
|AA1||Y3||Red||X2 and X3 match|
|AB1||Z1||Blue||Columns X and Y unequal in length|
|AB2||AA1||Blue||Columns Y and Z unequal in length|
|AB3||AA2||Blue||AA1 and AA2 don't match|
|AB4||AB1||Blue||Columns Z and AA unequal in length|
|AB5||AC1||Blue||Columns AA and AB unequal in length|
|AB6||AC2||Blue||AB1 and AB2 don't match|
|AC1||AC3||Red||AB2 and AB3 match|
|AD1||AD1||Blue||Columns AB and AC unequal in length|
|AD2||AE1||Blue||Columns AC and AD unequal in length|
|AD3||AE2||Blue||AD1 and AD2 don't match|
|AE1||AE3||Red||AD2 and AD3 match|
|AE2||AE4||Red||AD3 and AD4 match|
|AF1||AF1||Blue||Columns AD and AE unequal in length|
|AF2||AG1||Blue||Columns AE and AF unequal in length|
|AG1||AH1||Red||Columns AF and AG equal in length|
|AG2||AI1||Red||Columns AG and AH equal in length|
|AG3||AJ1||Red||Columns AH and AI equal in length|
|AH1||AJ2||Blue||AI1 and AI2 don't match|
|AI1||AJ3||Red||AI2 and AI3 match|
|AJ1||AK1||Blue||Columns AI and AJ unequal in length|
|AJ2||AL1||Blue||Columns AJ and AK unequal in length|
The next table, in the bottom left of the display, is the 'Small Road.' The Small Road works exactly like the Big Eye Boy, except it skips the column to the left of the current column in the Big Road. To have enough information to go on, the Small Road must wait until the entry after the first entry in the third column of the Big Road. Here is exactly how the Small Road is recorded.
- If the hand in question causes a new column in the Big Road, then compare the first and third columns to the left of the new column in the Big Road. If they are the same in depth, then record a red circle in the Small Road. If they are not, then record a blue circle.
- If the hand in question is the same outcome as the previous hand (skipping ties), then compare the cell two cells to the left of the newly created entry in the Big Road with the cell directly above that one. If these two cells are the same, whether both Player, both Banker, or both blank; then mark a red in the Small Road. Otherwise, mark a blue.
In other words, consider the latest entry in the Big Road. Then, move two cells to the left. Then, move up. If the move up does not result in a change, mark red, if it does, mark blue.
The Small Road in the sign pictured was too big to fit in the grid, so the first four columns dropped off. They would have been BBRRBR.
Baccarat Result Tracking Analysis Sheet
The next table, in the bottom right of the display, is 'Cockroach Pig.' The Cockroach works exactly like the Small Road, except it skips two columns to the left of the current column in the Big Road. To have enough information to go on, the Cockroach Pig must wait until the entry after the first entry in the fourth column of the Big Road. Here is exactly how the Cockroach Pig is recorded.
- If the hand in question causes a new column in the Big Road then compare the first and fourth columns to the left of the new column in the Big Road. If they are the same in depth, then record a red circle in the Cockroach Pig. If they are not, then record a blue circle.
- If the hand in question is the same outcome as the previous hand (skipping ties), then compare the cell three cells to the left of the newly created entry in the Big Road with the cell directly above that one. If these two cells are the same, whether both Player, both Banker, or both blank; then mark a red in the Cockroach Pig. Otherwise, mark a blue.
In other words, consider the latest entry in the Big Road. Then, move three cells to the left. Then, move up. If the move up does not result in a change, mark red, if it does, mark blue.
Finally, the above picture shows the upper right part of the display. The left part shows overall shoe statistics for how often each bet won. This is not a very realistic example, as I put in Player and Banker wins only, for purposes of example. The right part shows what will happen on the Big Eye Boy, Small Road, and Cockroach Pig according to whether the next hand is a Player or Banker win.
Fate in the cards: understanding baccarat trends (part 1) and (part 2) by Andrew W Scott
Thanks to the friendly and helpful staff at the Venetian for suffering my many questions about this topic and letting me take pictures of their sign.
Written by: Michael Shackleford
Many Baccarat players have been trying to find an efficient way to beat the house in this popular card game. In this text, we will try to find out whether all these various tactics work. However, you should not give up on Baccarat that easily because it is an exciting and prestigious casino card game.
Is There an Efficient Way to Predict a Round of Baccarat?
My friend who is a devoted Baccarat player, and has been playing this intriguing casino game for years, once told me that Baccarat players are the most superstitious humans on Earth. They would use any Baccarat strategy to try and guess the outcome of the game and gain some edge over the house. I found all this futile as Baccarat game outcome depends solely on chance, and there is no way to predict the winner. Although I don’t believe in the strategies, I decided to dedicate the following text to various systems and strategies players use to get a step ahead of the game and beat the house. After all, it can only make gambling more exciting.
What Bets to Choose and What to Avoid in Baccarat
Before I plunge into explaining the complex methods and strategies players use to try to anticipate the card combination that will appear on the Baccarat table, let’s go back to the betting options you can choose from at Baccarat. Perhaps one of them might be the most profitable for you in the long run.
The Tie Bet
This option is for absolute beginners at the Baccarat game. You may be easily lured into choosing a tie bet because of the generous payout of 8:1 it offers. You shouldn’t rush it though, because before you put your chips to the field, you should think of the house edge that is around 15% for this bet. In addition, tie bet is rarely hitting the table, so you could end up sitting for hours waiting for this bet to pay off.
The Banker Bet
This is a bet many players shy away from because numerous casinos take their 5% cut off the winnings. Considering how this bet has the lowest house edge of approximately 1%, consider this a ripoff. Additionally, the casinos may use this commission to deter you from betting on the banker. The banker usually wins most of the hands in Baccarat, so the gameplay may not be that exciting, and some would say that you’re playing safe. Don’t let their words get to you though, because this is the way to go if you want to win this game.
Now that we straightened out the issue on betting, we can go on to various strategies people use when they are playing the game of Baccarat to try and foresee the outcome.
Does Card Counting Help?
Many gamblers think that they can apply the card counting method in this game and be successful. This is only because this strategy works well in Blackjack too, and these two games are somewhat similar. However, card counting isn’t helpful in Baccarat for several reasons.
Baccarat Result Tracking Analysis Sheet
- Players don’t have any power of changing the course of this game. The gameplay and the outcome are determined by a set of rules, and the dealer is in charge of the entire game.
- There are no distinctive cards that would be helpful either to the player or the banker as it is the case with a Blackjack game.
Overall you can gain some edge by card-counting in the long run, but this advantage would be insignificant and not worth the effort.
Predicting the Outcome by Following the History of the Game
There are so-called scorecards you can find at every Baccarat table in a casino. Casinos also have scoreboards where players can keep track of the winning hands in a Baccarat game. There are several different ways in which you can keep track of the game’s outcomes. In this text, I will mention the most common ones — the Big Road and the Big Eye Boy.
In this method, you will mark the Banker wins and the player wins with different colours. You will use red circles for the Banker, and blue ones for the player. Each score card consists of 6 rows. You start from the upper left corner, and you go vertically. You should start a fresh column every time the winner changes. For example, let’s say you first had banker wins four times in a row, and then the streak was interrupted by two consecutive player wins. You should have a column of four red circles first, followed by two blue ones on your scorecard.
If a winning streak is longer than six, then you continue in the next column — This way, you’re forming the so-called dragon tail.
Big Eye Boy
This is another pattern you can follow in keeping notes about the winning hands in Baccarat.
Here, the focus is on how many times one of the betting options won in a row. You will mark repetitive wins with red while the hand that broke the winning streak will be in blue. You will start a new column each time this happens.
There are also the Small Road table and the Cockroach pig, and these methods are both related to the Big Road method of recording the game history. Even though many Baccarat players believe that this meticulous and complex method will help them work out who the winner will be in the next round, it is in my opinion, totally useless and based on the old superstition that winning streaks have to end eventually. Let’s say that the banker won 5 times in a row. I’m sure that this would be a “sign” for most of the players at the table to place their bets on the player in the next round.
Baccarat Predictor System
This system is closely related to what you’ve written down on your scorecards. Simply put, the predictor system tries to help players guess the next winning hand by analyzing your scorecard.
There are several basic terms you need to know before you embark on an adventure of fully understanding and applying this system in your gameplay.
- Vertical and single refer directly on your scorecard. If you have three or four circles in a column, they are “vertical,” while “single” obviously means a single circle in a column.
- The “Same bet” means that you bet on the same outcome as in the previous round, based on the records from the first line in your scoreboard. You should place this bet when the singles prevail.
- “Jump bet” is when you bet the opposite of the previous outcome. For example, the banker won the last hand, and you bet on the player to win the next one. You should make a jump bet when you have many verticals in your scorecard.
This is the simplest introduction to this complicated system for which you will need a lot of time and effort to understand. You better start studying so you can apply this to your game.
In the End, It’s All About Luck
I don’t want to sound discouraging, but I would not rely on the scorecard or predictor system if I were you. Baccarat is a game of chance, and you can not foresee the combination of cards that will end up on the table in any way. So if you are a Baccarat lover. Take a seat at the Baccarat table and simply trust your gut as you bet.