How do baccarat score boards work?

What separates baccarat from other casino card games is its unique scoring system, which can be a little confusing at first. Once you understand how hands totals are calculated, however, it is one of the simplest games on the casino floor. Furthermore, there are a number of ways the more superstitious gamblers out there may keep track of past scores and outcomes in the hope of predicting a winner. Whether these are worth anybody’s time is a matter for debate, but we’ll show you how they work anyhow.

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Hand totals in baccarat punto banco

The object of baccarat is to predict which hand will draw the higher score: the Player or the Banker. There is also the option to play the Tie bet, which wins when both hands finish with the same points value.

To new players, the scoring system for baccarat may seem little baffling at first. Why, for instance, does a King and a Four make four points, when standard card rankings suggest the total should be 14?

The answer is in the name. The word “baccarat” translates as “zero” in old French and Italian dialects, and the game is so called because the cards that normally score 10 points (10, Jack, Queen and King) are all worth none. Aces count as one point and everything else (Two through Nine) is scored at face value.

Baccarat score cards in online punto bancoAce = one point
Two = two points
Three = three points
Four = four points
Five = five points
Six = six points
Seven = seven points
Eight = eight points
Nine = nine points
10 = zero points
Jack = zero points
Queen = zero points
King = zero points

There is one more trick to baccarat scores: only the second digit of a hand total is counted, so the highest possible value is nine points. An Eight and a Seven, for example, would count as five instead of 15. All you have to do is drop the first digit whenever a hand score reaches or exceeds 10 points.

How to read baccarat score boards

As with roulette, real money baccarat games often feature a number of displays which show the results for past hands. This is for the gratification of the superstitious gambler who believes it possible to improve one’s chances of winning a future bet by studying previous trends and patterns.

Those who aren’t familiar with these score boards, or ‘road maps’, may find it hard to make heads or tails of them. There are often several different charts, each with a slightly different format, and it isn’t always obvious how they work.

Here are a few of the most common baccarat score cards found at land-based venues and real money casinos online.

Bead plate

Most land-based baccarat tables feature the standard bead plate layout, as do many games at online casinos. It is nothing more than a simple grid filled with different coloured ‘beads’ or dots to mark the result of each hand. Banker wins are red, Player wins are blue and Tie wins are green.

In games where Perfect Pairs side bets are offered, a baccarat bead plate may also document whether the Player or the Banker drew a pair on the initial deal. A Player pair is marked with a small blue dot in the lower right corner of the box for that hand, while a red dot in the upper left corner signifies a Banker pair.

Most bead plates feature six rows and more than a dozen columns. To read each hand in order, start in the top left corner and move down each column one bead at a time. When you reach the bottom, move to the next column on the right and start again at the top.

Big Road

Play live dealer baccarat with score cardsWhile a bead plate lists the result of each hand in isolation, the Big Road scoreboard shows trends by shifting the emphasis to consecutive wins for the two main bets. It looks like an upside-down bar graph with alternating columns featuring blue dots (Player) and red dots (Banker). Each new column marks a change in whether Player or Banker won the previous hand, while each back-to-back win is noted by adding a mark to the most recent column.

For example, let’s say Player wins the first hand of a new shoe. A blue mark would appear at the top of the first column. If Player wins the next hand, a second blue mark would be added to that same column. If Banker then wins the third hand, we would start a new column with a red mark.

Tie bets are marked in a slightly different way. Rather than starting a new column, the red or blue circle denoting the previous Banker or Player win is struck through with a green line. This is because the Tie wins far less frequently than either of the main wagers, making consecutive hits unlikely by comparison.

As with the bead plate, each Big Road column is six rows deep on a standard baccarat board. When a bet wins more than six times in a row, it carries over to the next column to form what is known as a ‘dragon tail’.

Big Eye Boy

Big Eye Boy is one of several methods that aim to chart the behaviour of the shoe. By noting the data collected on other, outcome-oriented boards and interpreting it in a certain way, players can see whether the deck is producing choppy, inconsistent results or streaky, repetitive patterns.

The Big Eye Boy chart is marked whenever a new column begins on the Big Road. The layout of the two graphs is very similar, and both typically use the same colours. But red and blue don’t correspond to Banker and Player; rather, red corresponds to consistent repetition and blue signals the opposite.

The idea is to consider the Big Road and Big Eye Boy charts in conjunction to decide which bet to play next. If the latest entries on Big Eye show a lot of red, players will tend to follow whatever pattern is occurring on the Big Road. For example, if the last six hands have gone Banker, Banker, Player, Player, Banker, Banker, the Big Eye will reflect that and most punters will then bet on Player in the hope the pattern will continue.

There are a few other variations available on most online baccarat games:

Small Road
Much like the Big Eye Boy, except it skips the previous column on the Big Road and doesn’t start until one hand after the first mark in the third column on the BR.

Cockroach Pig
Similar to the Small Road, except it skips the two previous columns on the Big Road and doesn’t kick in until one hand after the first mark in the fourth column on the BR. It is distinctive for using diagonal dashes rather than dots or beads.

Why baccarat roadmaps are a waste of time

The vast majority of gambling gurus will tell you there is no point tracking hands in baccarat in an attempt to gain an advantage. This stems from the core truth of chance games: that every outcome is random and no previous result can alter the odds going forward.

Die-hard baccarat players may dispute this. But this isn’t blackjack; players have no control over how each hand is played, so counting cards and following streaks has no effect unless you have a specially designed computer program to make all the decisions for you.

Most of all, these punto banco roadmaps aren’t easy to follow. The beauty of real money baccarat is its simplicity, but the score boards make things unnecessarily complicated. The only way to guarantee the best chance of winning is to bet Banker every time, as it has the lowest house edge (1.01%), and ignore all side bets.

To learn how to increase your chance of winning in baccarat, read our baccarat strategy guide.

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