Part of what makes Baccarat
a great game is that it's so simple. The Player's decision is limited to deciding what
kind of bet to make. From there on it's in the dealer's hands and you collect or pay when
In Mini Baccarat, which is the only
version most of us will ever see in play, you don't even get the option of handling the
cards. In the "whale" games of European Baccarat they get to mangle the cards
whenever they like just for personal entertainment. But then they're dropping $1000 or
more a hand and you can bet that that buys a lot of replacement cards.
Bet on your own hand (Player) and you face a house edge of
1.24%. Bet on the Banker's hand and the edge is either 0.6% if there's a 4% House cut or
1.06% is their cut is 5%. Finally there's the Tie bet which at best gives the house almost
a 5% edge (Pay 8:1) and at worst 14+% (Pay 9:1). Forget the Tie bet for obvious reasons.
Unless you can find a game with 4% vig on Banker bets, betting Player or Banker is six of
one, half a dozen of the other.
The first thing a casino player asks themselves when
stepping up to a game is "how do I improve my odds?" The answer in Baccarat is
easy: you don't. Other than avoiding the Tie bet there's nothing you can do.
What about card counting you ask? After all, everyone seems
to do it on TV. Save yourself the trouble because it's a facade. Statistical analysis has
shown that card counting in Baccarat is totally ineffective until the game hits the bottom
of the shoe and even then it's a miniscule advantage. It basically boils down to paying
yourself $10 an hour for risking $1,000,000. You're better off getting a squeegee and
washing people's windows for spare change.
As to playing the game, that's it. As to knowing what's
going on, it's a matter of strict and fixed rules, and here they are: