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Best of Frank Scoblete

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The numbers behind Baccarat

19 November 2019

Following up on my last article on baccarat, let’s take a look at the rules for how the casino handles the hands. I say casino handling the hands as these hit and stand decisions are set in stone and players have no rights to change how the hands are handled.

Rules for Player Hands:

If first two cards total: Action

1-2-3-4-5-0 Player draws a card
6-7 Player stands
8-9 Player and Bank must stand

Rules for Bank Hands:

If Bank’s first two cards total: Draw when Player’s third card is: Do not draw when Player’s third card is:
3 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 8
4 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 1, 8, 9, 10
5 4, 5, 6, 7 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10
6 6, 7 1,2,3,4,5,8,9,10
7 stands stands
8 Natural stands Natural stands
9 Natural stands Natural stands

A winning Player hand is paid off at one to one. Thus, if you bet $100, you win $100. A winning Bank hand is paid off at even money with a commission, usually five percent, extracted on each win. This means that if you bet $100, you win $95. This commission is collected after the shoe is finished but you can request to “pay as you go.” The Tie hand is paid at eight to one. Thus, a winning tie wager 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 is one of the worst bets in the casino – with more than a 14 percent edge which means your expectation is to lose $14 for every $100 you wager on the Tie, so let’s not even consider making it. Since the Tie bet does not affect the other two bets, Player and Bank, we’ll concentrate on how we arrive at the house edge for these bets.

  • The Player bet wins 49.32 percent of the time.
  • The Player bet loses 50.68 percent of the time.

Translate that into money and for every $100 wagered on the Player bet, you will lose $1.36. ($50.68 minus $49.32 equals $1.36.) The casino edge is therefore 1.36 percent.

  • The Bank bet wins 50.68 percent of the time.
  • The Bank bet loses 49.32 percent of the time.

Without any interference, the Bank bet would have a 1.36 percent edge in its favor. If the casinos allowed this to stand, no one would bet Player and everyone would bet Bank until the casinos went bankrupt. To avoid this, the casinos charge that five percent commission on all winning Bank bets. In actuality, you only win 95 cents on the dollar on a winning Bank wager as stated. This reverses the situation and gives the casino a smallish 1.17 percent edge.

How does a five percent commission reduce the edge to 1.17 percent? When you lose the Bank bet, you lose $49.32 for every $100 wagered. But when you win the bet, you win $50.68 X .95, which comes out to $48.15. Therefore, $49.32 minus $48.15 equals $1.17 lost per $100 dollars wagered – in short, a 1.17 percent edge for the casinos.

Now purists would dispute the above figures because they want to count the Tie bet in the equations. I prefer not to since making the Tie bet does not, I repeat, does not exist in my baccarat world. When Tie bets appear, I just think of it as more time between hands and not as a part of the game. The bet does not exist. The Tie bet appears approximately 10 percent of the time and pays off at 8 to 1. Still to be comprehensive, here are the house edges if we count the Tie bet.

  • Player = 1.24 percent
  • Bank = 1.06 percent
  • Tie = 14.36 percent (ugh!)

Some casinos will pay the Tie bet off at 9 to 1 and this cuts the house edge to about 5 percent, still not a good bet. Bottom line is never bet the Tie bet even if you see someone hooting and hollering when he hits it. Over time, the bet sinks all players; it is the Tie-tanic of baccarat!

All the best in and out of the casinos!

(Next week discover the dangerous speed of mini-baccarat. This article was adapted from Frank's book Casino Conquest.)

Visit Frank's web site 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:

Cutting Edge Craps: Advanced Strategies for Serious Players

> More Books By Frank Scoblete