Superstition is one of the greatest traditions woven into the history of gambling. Even famous World Series of Poker winners do it. Among many others, poker legend, Doyle Brunson famously carries a rock named Casper with him for luck.
In reality, there is no correlation between success and superstition. Where it happens, it’s pure coincidence. For every superstitious winner, there are thousands of losers. This is as true for baccarat as it is for poker or any other casino game.
Then there are the less obviously bogus ideas that relate to strategy. These can be tricky to avoid because one first has to separate the wheat from the chaff. There are certainly perfectly logical and legitimate strategies out there. These include edge sorting, the pairs bet, known-card play, and loss rebates, among others.
But there are also several dangerously nonsensical ones too. To help you separate fact from fiction, we’ve decided to debunk three of the biggest baccarat myths:
Pattern-Hunting & Trend-Spotting
One of the most common misperceptions about baccarat is that it works according to trends. Based on this assumption, players think they can predict the way the game is going to go. In fact, casinos actually count on this kind of thinking, which is why they display scoreboards and graphs indicating trends of play.
Relying on this information is a big mistake. No matter how many consecutive wins occur on the same side, there is no guarantee that the next hand will see the same result. So don’t go following dragons.
The same applies to whatever pattern you think you have identified – for example, alternating wins between players and bankers. It doesn’t matter how neat and logical a pattern appears. No one round of baccarat has any bearing on the next and there is no secret power designing patterns for savvy players to detect.
Regression to the Mean
This bogus baccarat strategy, also known as the gambler’s fallacy, is really just another misguided attempt at trend-spotting. In statistics, the term “regression to the mean” refers to the phenomenon in which extreme variable behaviour will even out with alternating extremes over time. Whatever application this may have in theoretical mathematics, there is no place for it in gambling.
The simplest form of this concept is in the assumption that, if you flip a coin enough times, it will eventually have landed on heads as many times as on tails. The trouble with this is that you’d have to keep flipping for an inconceivably long period of time and you can still never be sure what each individual flip with yield. In baccarat, this is even truer because there are so many more variables. So putting your money on your “regression to the mean theory” will inevitably blow up in your face.
The Superstition Tradition
Baccarat players can get up to some bizarre antics in their pursuit of Lady Luck.
One of the most popular baccarat traditions is to bet with the big player. In fact, it’s a tricky one to avoid because betting against the table’s leading player is considered bad form as well as bad luck. But it’s your money and luck has nothing to do with it. This is not the basis of smart decision making.
It gets even stranger when players are allowed to touch their cards. This has resulted in players thinking that they can guess card values by peeling back their edges and corners to look for clues. This is known as squeezing and is as risky as it is in poor taste. The same applies to blowing on your cards as you squeeze them.
Despite what some players and books might have you believe, it also won’t help you to turn the cards a few times before squeezing them or to speak or shout out certain words as you do so.
The bottom line: if it sounds like a shoo-in strategy, it’s not.