Ask casual casino gamblers what games they think are the most popular with players. And ask them what games they think are profitable for the house.
You might hear about blackjack and card counting, slot machines and seven-figure jackpots, and even poker rooms and gold bracelet glory. However, despite baccarat’s status as an industry staple, it may be a while before your friends start playing baccarat.
Every year, casinos in Las Vegas and beyond turn to baccarat tables as their most productive economic engine. This is because millions of players around the world consider baccarat their game of choice.
If you’re considering joining them, make sure you pass this quiz first.
1 – Which hand is the best rebet and why?
Before diving into the quiz, you should know that this is not designed for pure baccarat novices. I assume that you understand the basic rules and gameplay of Baccarat, and extend this knowledge through several related discussion lines.
Having said that, if you don’t know what I mean by banker and player cards, check out the basic baccarat tutorial before returning to the quiz.
Still, for those who know the difference, is the best bet at the table Bank or Player?
Although two hands start with two cards at random, and possibly a third card based on the relative starting point totals, the dealer hand actually enjoys a slight advantage. Overall, betting on the banker hand resulted in a 1.06% house edge, while the player hand bettor faced a 1.24% uphill run against the house.
It may seem counterintuitive given baccarat’s status as the ultimate game of chance, but bankers do enjoy tangible benefits. By always acting last, or taking the last card after the Player’s possible third draw, the Banker gets the best of both worlds.
When its total is already strong enough, the bookmaker doesn’t need to draw and improve. However, when the player has previously improved on the tie, the dealer will take the final shot to win.
This last cast advantage can also be found in blackjack, where the banker benefits from player bankruptcy before the banker takes action.
2 – Should you take a chance and bet on a tie?
Do not. Not at all. never…
Jokes aside, baccarat’s tie bet is one of the worst bets in a casino. With a staggering 14.36% house edge, tie bets are almost triple that of Double Zero Roulette (5.26%).
Unless you really have money to burn, simply sticking to the banker vs player binary is always the best bet in baccarat.
3 – What is the best baccarat strategy system available today?
When it comes to your best bets, beginners are always looking for proven baccarat strategies to master the game.
This desire stems from baccarat’s seeming association with blackjack, another two-card game that starts a table game with a standard 52-card deck. However, while blackjack can be played perfectly according to the basic strategy, baccarat does not include the player decision points that make it possible.
In short, baccarat cannot stand, draw, or otherwise improve the hand you support, so baccarat does not involve strategic thinking. You can’t play better or worse than other players, and you can’t work hard to cut the house’s precious edge.
No, as the odds explained above suggest, the only way to play baccarat correctly is to bet on the banker hand at every opportunity. Supporting players for variety makes the game fun, and a long-term hit to your odds isn’t all that meaningful, but betting on the bookmaker is technically the best strategy.
4 – Why do casinos track and post previous hands on the big board above each table?
Because as PT Barnum once wisely observed, every minute a fool is born…
This may sound like a harsh judgment for casual gamblers looking to have some fun, but hear me out. Every casino under the sun uses bright, flashy displays overhead to lure superstitious baccarat grinders.
Going back to the game’s popularity among Asian gamblers, these big boards are equipped to display various roads listing the previous results of the table. You’ll see things like Big-Eyed Boy Road, Cockroach Road, and more.
These can all get very complicated, but in essence, they show the player how the cards come with the current shoe reduction. Those who believe that past trends can predict the future fanatically follow the big names, scribbling in their notebooks to predict which bet to make next.
Apparently, the big board is nothing but a way for casinos to exploit the so-called gambler’s fallacy:
Well, six of the seven hands are now the dealer, so players are getting hit pretty quickly. Time to make a big bet and cash out!
Roulette tables also use large boards to convince less-informed players to follow past trends. When a certain type of gambler sees a long list of black pieces on the board, they just can’t help betting on red because they know they have to balance the odds.
But in reality, every baccarat hand and every roulette spin represents a completely separate event. It can come 20 times the banker in a row, but in Deal #21, both the banker and the play will still offer the exact same odds and probabilities as they always do in any given figure.
5 – Why does the House charge a 5% commission on winning banker bets?
The answer to this question has been foreshadowed above. The answer to this question is simple, now that you know that the banker bets have a low house edge and that their odds of winning are a little over half (when a tie is not considered).
Without the 5% commission, the casino’s advantage on the house bet would not be enough for the casino to justify spreading the game. Additionally, commissions help to level the well-known playing field between banker and player bets.
Without it, smart gamblers would just bet every trade on the banker to get the most bang for their buck.
6 – Do you really need to be a high roller to play and enjoy baccarat?
No, not at all. While you need to carry thousands of dollars to get into a large baccarat high-limit room, casinos realize that recreational gamblers are critical to the industry. To bring baccarat to the masses, an alternative called mini or midi baccarat was born.
Rituals like passing shoes and squeezing (more on that in the next entry) are removed to speed things up, and on top of that, minimum stakes are usually set at $5 or $10.
7 – Can I really bend, squeeze and tear cards at a Las Vegas baccarat table?
Well, it all depends on whether you are willing to pay for the privilege.
In general, misuse of playing cards in any form, shape or form is a huge no-no in any casino. New decks cost money in the first place, and manipulating and flagging them is a clear sign that cheating is in progress.
Only in the luxurious high-stakes baccarat rooms (with large tables for 14 players and a dealer) will you see cards destroyed without any intervention. Because the game of big baccarat is a continuation of the glory days of gambling, wealthy players who pay $500 per hand in a pure guessing game are considered royalty.
The big casinos don’t blame or punish big-name baccarat players when they bend their cards, but invite them to enjoy the squeeze in whatever way they see fit. You see, while the average player’s mini baccarat table doesn’t allow players to touch the cards, grand baccarat is a different beast.
In those specially corded rooms, players ceremoniously wrap their cards-laden shoes around the table as they take turns dealing cards. After the designated dealer has placed the decisive final card face down on the felt, they are free to slowly squeeze each corner and side to spark anticipation of discovering its value.
Ultimately, the cards in the big game of baccarat look like discarded paper airplanes that can’t fly.
But note that while this tradition is still respected in high-stakes rooms, the same is not true of regular mini baccarat games. Attempting to bend the card in there will give you a swift warning, followed by a property ban for the second violation.
8 – What are the only three casinos in Las Vegas that currently offer video baccarat machines?
Video baccarat is gaining popularity among operators as casinos look to cut costs.
9 – Which Las Vegas casino has the most baccarat tables?
In the long run, that will be Caesars Palace. In the palace, baccarat players can always find 50 live dealer baccarat tables. That’s 30 more than the second largest (20 on the Gold Coast).
our last thoughts
Baccarat has been one of the most popular gambling games on the planet for centuries, and the number keeps increasing. And for good reason, as this classic casino card game offers players real gambling. No need to study strategy charts, no need to make tough math decisions – just two random hands to choose from.
Great if you’re just getting started with baccarat! You made a great decision. The low house edge and back-and-forth nature of the game means the house won’t beat you too hard. More importantly, however, you’ll have an exciting rollercoaster ride as dealer and player continue their age-old battles.
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