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Best of Frank Scoblete

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Let's play baccarat

12 November 2019

There are two baccarat games played in casinos: big high-roller-room baccarat and mini-baccarat, with mini-baccarat being the dominant of the two.

Baccarat is perhaps the most accessible of all the table games because it is, when you play it correctly, betting on the equivalent of a coin flip.

The full-blown, high roller room game, where the players get to deal the cards and the game moves along at a snail’s pace, will usually be $100 minimum games. Don’t panic; that minimum does not translate into big expected losses. In fact, you will lose more in the long run at a 25-cent slot machine than at a $100 minimum baccarat game, because the game is so slow that you play maybe 40 decisions an hour – which means you put into play about $4,000 against a house edge of a little over one percent if you bet either of the two best bets. A player stands to lose on average about $50 per hour, or the equivalent of half a bet. You only need to win one more hand than you lose to be ahead. Again, it’s that close a game.

Baccarat is usually dealt from an eight-deck shoe. All tens, jacks, queens and kings equal zero. The ace equals one. All the other cards equal their face value. The highest possible hand is nine.

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. After the casino dealer shuffles, discards cards and places the yellow card in the decks, 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. A two-card hand of nine and a two-card hand of eight are considered naturals and do not take any hits. However, a two-card hand of nine beats a two-card hand of eight.

In baccarat the deal goes counterclockwise around the table from player to player. The player who is dealing continues to deal as long as the Bank hand keeps winning – even though the player dealing does not have to bet the Bank hand. However, as soon as a Player hand wins, the next player gets to deal. Thus the shoe makes its way around the table. Players can pass up their turn at dealing if they so wish.

If you want to play baccarat and you want to deal but you’re timid, don’t worry. The casino personnel assigned to the baccarat tables are always willing to take you through the deals step by step. In fact, the slower you deal, the better it is for you since you will be playing fewer hands.

As Bank (or bank-dealer), you send the first card to the casino’s dealer. This is the Player’s first card. Now you put a card under the lip of the shoe. That’s the Bank’s first card. Now the Player’s hand gets a second card, then the Bank hand gets a second card. All these cards are dealt face down. Remember even though you are dealing, you can actually place your bets on the Player hand if you wish.

The individual who has bet the most on the Player will now receive the two Player cards. Here’s where the game becomes fun for me. Most baccarat players don’t just look at the cards and flip them over to reveal what the fates have in store for the Player hand. Oh no, most baccarat players have extremely elaborate ways of checking to see what hand they have. Some squeeze the cards together and then slowly move them apart – I’m talking nano-inches at a time – in order to see what hand they have. Other players bend the sides of the cards to look at the pips. They do this slowly. If you are the type of gambler who likes speed, then these players will drive you crazy. But I love them! Playing slow in games where the house has the edge over the player is the only way to play.

Once the Player hand is put into the center of the table, you get to look at the two Bank cards. 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. They are also essentially irrelevant since the players do not get to make any decisions concerning hitting or standing. The casino’s dealer will tell you which hands need more cards. You just have to follow orders.

(Next week see the rules for hitting and standing at baccarat. This article was adapted from Frank's book Casino Conquest.)

All the best in and out of the casinos!

Visit Frank's website at www.frankscoblete.com.
Recent Articles
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:

> 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:

Casino Craps: Shoot to Win!

> More Books By Frank Scoblete