With a low house edge Baccarat is an easy game to play. In this article I’m going to give you a brief overview of the different baccarat variants and some valuable tips.
Baccarat is normally played in roped-off areas in land-casinos. Bets can vary from as little as $100 to $1,000. Players with smaller bankrolls can play ‘mini baccarat‘. Normally it’s found on the main casino floor among other tables. Although the rules remain the same, there are some minor differences.
In normal baccarat the cards are dealt by the players and in mini-baccarat the cards are dealt by the dealer. This game is based purely on luck. There are only three bets in both normal baccarat and mini-baccarat: the banker, the tie and the player. Wherever baccarat is played it’s governed by a set of rules. Based on the amount of decks used the house edge varies.
In big baccarat 8 decks of cards are used and six decks in mini-baccarat. For many years, Binion’s Horsehoe casino in downtown Las Vegas only charged a commission of 4%. This resulted in a house edge of 0.60%. In 1989, the Las Vegas Sahara offered commission-free banker bets up to $100, the player edge was 1.24%. Pay on tie bets can fluctuate, some casinos can offer tie bets of 1 to 9. However, pit bosses soon realized that the bets at the payoff were susceptible to card counting.
Gamblers wager on whether the Player’s or the Banker’s hand will win. The casino normally deals the cards from a long shoe, each shoe holds eight deck of cards. The Player’s cards are dealt first and then the Banker’s. Each player received 2 cards. An ace counts 1 point, low cards 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 are all worth the value of the card itself.
Cards like tens, jacks, queens and kings are worth zero. Whichever hand get the closest to 9 wins. If the total of the two cards are more than 9, knock of the value of the 1 or the 2 and take only the second digit as your total. Here’s an example:
- Two eight cards total 16. Knock of the 1, your hand value is now 6.
- A queen and a 5 equals 5.
- 7 and 3 equals 10. Remove the first digit, you now have a hand total of zero or baccarat.
*The Player or the Banker is allowed on certain occasions to take a third card to improve their hand.
A baccarat side bet is offered by some casinos that the bank’s or the player’s first two cards will be a pair. Side bets in table games normally carry a hefty bet. Lucky pair is no exception.
The Best Odds
It’s not easy to find land-casinos or online casinos that offer the best odds. A few years ago online casinos only took a 4 percent commission (it reduces the house edge to 0.5 percent). Some even offered high rollers a 3 percent commission which reduced the house edge to 0.15 percent. If you can find an operator that offers these odds, it makes the game so much more appealing to play.
There’s no specific betting strategy in baccarat. What I can tell you, never place a bet on a Tie (Egalite). The house edge is 14 percent and by far the worst bet on the table. If you plan on playing for a short period of time, it doesn’t matter whether your bet on the bank’s hand or the player’s hand.
Managing Your Money
When it comes to your bankroll, an even money game can fluctuate a lot. If you intend on playing a full session, wager a minimum of 40 times your stake. In layman’s terms it means if $25 is the minimum bet at the table, your bankroll must be $1,000. If you made a profit of 50 percent, pocket your original stake plus half of that profit. When you decide to leave the table you’ll have a profit of 25 percent.
- Always bet on the banker hand.
- Don’t take notes or track every hand from the shoe since it’s a waste of time.
- Make occasional bets on the player.
- Avoid the tie bets at all times.
- The dealer will guide you whether a third card should be drawn to the Bank’s or Player’s hands.
- Look for online casinos that offer a reduced rate of commission paid on winning Bank bets.
The best strategy in baccarat is to bet on the banker at all times. Don’t let the non-commission games fool you, regular baccarat offers a bet return.