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Articles in this Series
Best of Frank Scoblete

Gaming Guru

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Learn your table-game lessons: Part one, roulette, baccarat and mini-baccarat

22 February 2007

The two most popular table games in the casinos are blackjack and craps. About 11 percent of all players play these games. Yet, the total of the entire table game genre is greater than the combined blackjack/craps segment. The "other-games" segment makes up about 15 percent of all casino players. About 74 percent of casino gamblers play the machines. [These numbers were obtained from Harrah's "A Day in the Life of a Casino Gambler."]

You are about to learn strategies for these "other" games that will keep the house edge at bay and give you a good chance to come home with the money tonight!

Roulette

There are two types of roulette wheels: the American double-zero wheel (you'll notice a 0 and 00 opposite each other) and the European single-zero wheel (just one 0). The casino has an edge of 5.26 percent on the double-zero wheel and an edge of 2.70 on the single-zero wheel. It achieves its edge by not paying back the true odds of the bet, which are 37 to 1 or 36 to 1. Instead the casino pays back 35 to 1.

The layout closest to the wheel has zero(es) at the peek, and then proceeds in three columns, with the numbers running across the columns. Thus, 1-2-3 are at the top under the green zero(es); then under them is 4-5-6, and so on. Players can place bets directly on a number or group of numbers; or they can place bets on certain "propositions" on the outside of the layout. The dealer will then spin the ball, announce: "No more bets." As the ball finishes its spin and descends into the pockets where it ultimately stops in one pocket, the dealer will announce the winning number and its color. He will put a special marker on the winning number. The dealer will collect all the losing bets and then pay off all the winning bets. He will then remove the marker and the procedure begins all over again.

It's that simple. Roulette has a multitude of bets, most coming in with a high house edge of 5.26 or 2.70 percent (depending on the wheel you play). You can bet directly on one or more numbers, or you can bet propositions such as odd-even, red-black, high-low, first, second and third dozens.

Some casinos will only take half your losing bet on the outside "even-money" bets of red/black, odd/even, high/low if the 0 or 00 is the winner. This effectively reduces the house edge to 2.63 on the American double-zero wheel and 1.35 on the European single-zero wheel.

You cannot beat roulette with any betting systems but you can keep the house edge down by playing in single-zero games where the casino offers surrender or en prison. In these casinos only play the outside "proposition" bets of red/black, odd/even, high/low.

Baccarat and Mini-Baccarat

The objective of baccarat is for the players to correctly guess which of three possible propositions will win on the next round: Bank, Player, or Tie. Two cards are dealt to the Bank hand and two cards are dealt to the Player hand. Sometimes a third card is dealt to either or both hands. Whichever hand is closest to nine is the winner. The game is dealt from a six- or eight-deck shoe. All tens, jacks, queens and kings equal zero. The ace equals one. All the other cards equal their face value. Thus a nine equals nine, a two equals two and so forth.

After the Bank and Player hands have received two cards it is possible that either or both might need to draw an extra card. The rules for drawing cards are predetermined and irrelevant since the players do not get to make any decisions. Regardless of whether a card is drawn, at the end of the deal, the hand that totals nine or closest to nine wins.

A winning Player hand is paid off at one to one. Thus, if you bet ten dollars, you win ten dollars. A winning Bank hand is paid off at 0.95 to one. This means that if you bet ten dollars, you win $9.50. Another way to look at the Bank wager is to consider it a one-to-one payout minus a five percent commission on winning bets. This commission is collected after the shoe is finished. The Tie hand is paid at eight to one. Thus a winning tie bet of $10 will return $80. If you bet on either Bank or Player and the Tie wins, you do not lose your bet. It is a push.

The Tie bet has a 14 percent edge in favor of the casino. The house has a 1.36 percent edge on the Player bet and a 1.17 percent edge on the Bank bet when the bank charges a five percent commission.

The difference between baccarat and mini-baccarat is simple: Baccarat is played on the large table in the high roller rooms of casinos for table minimums of $25, $50, $100 or more. The game is slow moving and ritualistic, and the players get to actually deal the cards. Mini-baccarat, on the other hand, is played at a blackjack-style table with the house dealer dealing the cards. It is played for minimums of $5, $10 and $25 but rarely more. Mini-baccarat is an extremely fast game.

If you can afford it and it is available, always play the traditional game of baccarat in the high roller room. Because of its slow speed, the small casino edges are manageable. Always bet Bank, the lowest house-edge bet. If you can afford it, try to bet $25 or $75 and ask the casino if you can pay the commission on winning Bank bets "as I go." Often casinos will not take the full commission out of $25 and $75 winning Bank bets since this entails giving out quarters. [Five percent of $25 is $1.25, so the casino drops the 25 cents and pays you $24 instead of $23.75. Five percent of $75 is $3.75, so the casino drops the 75 cents and pays you $72.] By not paying the full commission on winning Bank bets, you get to reduce the casino edge to almost a half percent on the Bank. Never bet Tie.

Articles in this Series
Best of Frank Scoblete
Frank Scoblete

Frank Scoblete is the #1 best selling gaming author in America. His newest books are Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines; Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker!; Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge; Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!; Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players; Casino Conquest: Beat the Casinos at Their Own Games! and The Virgin Kiss.

Frank and Casino City Times columnist Jerry "Stickman" teach private lessons in dice control. Frank's books are available at Amazon.com, in bookstores or by mail order. Call 1-800-944-0406 or write to Frank Scoblete Enterprises, PO Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank can also be reached by email at fscobe@optonline.net.

Frank Scoblete Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com

Books by Frank Scoblete:

Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!

> More Books By Frank Scoblete

Frank Scoblete
Frank Scoblete is the #1 best selling gaming author in America. His newest books are Slots Conquest: How to Beat the Slot Machines; Everything Casino Poker: Get the Edge at Video Poker, Texas Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo and Pai Gow Poker!; Beat Blackjack Now: The Easiest Way to Get the Edge; Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!; Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players; Casino Conquest: Beat the Casinos at Their Own Games! and The Virgin Kiss.

Frank and Casino City Times columnist Jerry "Stickman" teach private lessons in dice control. Frank's books are available at Amazon.com, in bookstores or by mail order. Call 1-800-944-0406 or write to Frank Scoblete Enterprises, PO Box 446, Malverne, NY 11565. Frank can also be reached by email at fscobe@optonline.net.

Frank Scoblete Websites:

www.goldentouchcraps.com
www.goldentouchblackjack.com

Books by Frank Scoblete:

> More Books By Frank Scoblete