Ask casual casino gamers what they think is their most popular game. And ask them what games they think are good for the house.
You might hear about blackjack and card counting, slot machines and seven-figure jackpots, or even poker rooms and gold bracelet glory. But while baccarat is an industry staple, it may take a while for your friends to come up with baccarat.
Every year, casinos in Las Vegas and beyond turn to baccarat tables as their most efficient 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 – What is the best hand to bet 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 hands, check out the basic baccarat tutorial before going back to the quiz.
For those who know the difference, is the best bet at the gaming table Bank or Player?
The dealer hand actually enjoys a slight advantage, despite starting with two cards at random in both hands, and possibly counting a third card based on the relative starting totals. Overall, betting on the bank hand yielded a 1.06% house advantage, while the player hand bettor faced a 1.24% climb against the house.
In terms of outright winning odds on any given trade, the banker has a 45.83% chance of winning, the player has a 44.61% chance of winning, and the other 9.54% is a draw (more on that later).
When you remove the tie bet from the betting equation, the banker wins 50.68% of the deal and the player 49.32%
It may seem counterintuitive given baccarat’s status as the ultimate game of chance, but bankers do enjoy tangible benefits. The dealer gets the best of both worlds by always acting last, or by taking the last card after the player may have drawn a third.
The dealer does not need to tie and improve when its total is already strong enough. However, when the player has previously improved on the draw, the dealer will get the final blow to win.
This last actor advantage can also be found in blackjack, where the player destroys the house before the dealer does it himself, thus benefiting the dealer.
2 – Should you take your chances and bet both hands for a tie?
No. Not at all. never…
Jokes aside, the draw bet in baccarat is one of the worst bets in casinos. With a staggering 14.36% casino advantage, the draw game bet is almost triple the double zero roulette game (5.26%).
Unless you really have the money to burn, sticking with the banker-player binary in baccarat is always your best bet.
3 – What is the best baccarat strategy system today?
When it comes to your best bet, beginners are always looking for proven baccarat strategies to master the game.
This desire stems from baccarat’s 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 this possible.
In short, baccarat does not involve strategic thinking without the ability to stand, draw, or otherwise improve the hand you support. You can’t play better or worse than other players, and you can’t work hard to scrape off 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 hitting your odds long-term doesn’t make all that much sense, but betting strictly on the dealer is technically the best strategy.
4 – Why does Casino keep track and post previous cards on the big board above each table?
Because as PT Barnum once wisely observed, a fool is born every minute…
This may sound like harsh judgment on casual poker players looking to have a little fun, but hear me out. Every casino in the sun uses bright, flashy displays overhead to lure superstitious baccarat grinders.
Looking back at the game’s popularity among Asian gamers, these big boards are equipped with devices that display various roads that list the table’s previous results. You’ll see things like the Big-Eyed Boy Road, the Cockroach Road, and more.
These can all get quite complicated, but in essence they show the player how the cards appear as the current shoe shrinks. People who believe previous trends can predict the future frantically follow the broader market, scribbling in their notebooks to predict their next bet.
Apparently, the big board is just one 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 unwitting players to follow past trends. When players of a certain type of game see a long string of black pieces on the board, they can’t help betting big because they know that the odds have to be balanced.
But in reality, each hand of baccarat and each spin of a roulette game represent a completely separate event. It may come up 20 times in a row, but on the 21st deal, both the banker and the player will still offer exactly the same odds and probabilities that they always had on any given hand.
5 – Why is there a 5% commission on winning the house bet?
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 they have a little more than half the odds of winning (when a tie is not considered).
Without the 5% rake, the casino’s advantage on the house bet would not be enough for the casino to justify spreading the game. Additionally, commissions are used to level the well-known playing field between banker and player bets.
Without it, smart gamers would simply bet on the banker on every trade 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 casual poker players are critical to the industry. To bring baccarat to the masses, an alternative known as mini or medium baccarat was born.
Unlike the flashy tables with a dozen players in big baccarat, this mini game looks just like any other table game like blackjack or three card poker. That means you’ll see six player seats, as well as a single dealer who deals cards.
Rituals such as passing shoes and squeezing (detailed in the next entry) are removed to speed things up, and crucially, minimum gaming bets 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 cards in 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 room – with a large table for 14 players and a dealer – will you see cards destroyed without any intervention. Because the game of big baccarat is a relic of the gaming glory days, rich players who pay $500 per hand in a pure guessing game are considered royalty.
Instead of blaming or punishing big baccarat players when they flop, the big casinos invite them to taste the squeeze in whatever way they see fit. You see, while the average player’s mini baccarat table doesn’t allow players to touch cards, big baccarat is another beast.
In those exclusive rooms enclosed by ropes, players ceremoniously pass shoes full of cards around tables while taking 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 elicit the anticipation of discovering its value.
Ultimately, the cards in the big game of baccarat end up looking like discarded paper airplanes that aren’t fit to fly.
Note, however, that while this tradition is still respected in high-stakes rooms, this is not the case with regular mini baccarat games. Attempting to fold a card there will be quickly followed by a 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 seek to cut costs.
Players also love automatic versions of their favorite games, so head to the Palms Casino and Resort near the Las Vegas Strip to find Sin City’s best video baccarat options. Palms has five video machines for as little as $100, plus another $25 poker game.
Both Boulder Station and Palace Station offer some machines for as little as $10.
9 – Which casino in Las Vegas has the most live baccarat tables?
That must be Caesars Palace. In the palace, baccarat players will find 50 live dealer baccarat tables running at all times. That’s 30 more than the second largest (20 on the Gold Coast).
our last thoughts
Baccarat has been one of the most popular gaming games on the planet for centuries and counting. And for good reason, as this classic casino card game offers players a real game. There are no strategy charts to study, no hard math decisions to sort through – just two random hands and then choose between them.
Great if you’re just getting started with baccarat! You made a great decision. The low house edge and the back-and-forth nature of the game means the house won’t hit you too hard. More importantly, however, you’ll have an exhilarating time on a roller coaster as dealers and players continue their age-old battles.
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