Updated Sep 29, 2023
Although gambling has been around for thousands of years, the ways in which people gamble have changed constantly. In the more recent period, we’ve seen emergence of regulated casino venues, offering those wanting to try their luck a chance to do so in a safe and protected environment. And, in the last few decades, the gambling industry has expanded to the online realm as well.
With the development of the gambling industry at large, there have been many changes with regards to games that attract most players as well. Baccarat, for example, used to be the high-rollers’ choice and almost no casinos offered low stakes baccarat tables. Regular players had other games, like roulette or blackjack, while baccarat tables were reserved for VIP customers.
However, with the rise of online casinos, baccarat slowly but surely found its way into the mainstream. Back in a day, you would struggle to find a game that let you bet less than $100 a hand. These days, though, you can play baccarat for as little as $2 per hand online and you will find many brick and mortar venues featuring tables with the minimum bet of just $10.
The Appeal of Baccarat
These days, there are dozens of different table games for players to choose from. Craps, roulette, all sorts of poker derivatives, blackjack – many of these are readily available around the clock, especially at online casinos.
So, why choose baccarat, especially seeing how most players haven’t had a chance to develop a taste for it?
Well, to start with, baccarat and its twin brother punto banco are very simple games. All that is required from the players is to place their bets. After that, the dealer takes care of the rest, making sure everyone gets more cards if required. Players can simply sit back and enjoy the action, which some people definitely find appealing.
Secondly, baccarat is a very good game in terms of the house edge. In fact, it’s one of the best table games to choose if you want your gambling money to last. The house has a very small advantage over players and if you’re lucky enough to find special tables where there is no fee on betting on the bank, the edge shrinks even more.
So as a seasoned gambler who’s spent plenty of hours at the Baccarat tables, let me spill some insider knowledge for the uninitiated. Baccarat’s allure isn’t just in its simplicity, but also in the relatively low house edge – a detail that serious players are always hunting for.
Now, if you’re leaning towards the Banker Bet, you’re already on the right track. With a house edge of just about 1.06%, it’s the smartest bet on the table. I’ve always found it a reliable ally during my games.
Should you choose to back the Player Bet, you’re taking on a slightly steeper house edge, roughly around 1.24%. Not too shabby, but from experience, I’ve felt the banker has a more consistent edge.
Then there’s the Tie Bet. Here’s where things get dicey. Those new to the game might be tempted by its attractive payout, but remember, it comes with a much steeper house edge – anywhere from 8% to 14%, contingent on the house rules and specific payouts. Most of the old hands, including yours truly, give it a wide berth for this very reason.
And a word of caution: while the banker’s bet looks golden, don’t forget that some establishments will levy a commission (often around 5%) on wins from these bets. It’s their way of balancing the scales, ensuring that the house edge isn’t completely nullified.
Yet, here’s the golden rule I live by: the percentages, while insightful, are based on extensive gameplay. On any given day, at any single session, the unexpected can and often does happen. So, always play smart and trust your instincts.
Live Baccarat Can Be Heaps of Fun
Online baccarat tables are usually much cheaper and more accessible if you’re on a limited bankroll. However, if you can find a live table with reasonable limits, playing this game in a brick and mortar casino can be heaps of fun.
Namely, this game is generally very popular with Asian players and it’s no secret these players love their superstitions. So, all sorts of superstitions and strange requests aren’t just allowed at baccarat tables but are often encouraged by other players and even dealers themselves sometimes.
As you might know, Phil Ivey, one of the best-known names in poker and a high stakes gambler used this fact to his advantage. Using the excuse of superstition, he had the dealer rotate cards, allowing him and his partner to use the technique known as “edge sorting”. It took casinos a while to catch up with what had actually transpired.
So, if you’re looking for a fun night out, heading over to baccarat tables could be a great idea. The atmosphere isn’t as crazy as what you’ll find with craps players but it’s not the stiff and silent environment of blackjack games, either.
Since there is very little strategy involved, players don’t care what you do. There is no way for you to ruin their winning chances. Of course, there is no way for you to do so playing blackjack, either, but if you’d ever played live blackjack, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Give Baccarat a Try
If you feel sick and tired of playing same games over and over at your local casino, don’t be afraid to walk over to baccarat tables and jump into the action. You can find the rules of the game online and they’re very simple to learn. Or, you could even learn as you play, as there is really no way to mess things up.
The dealer won’t ask you to make any decisions during the hand so the reason why you should learn the rules is so you can enjoy the play more. Other than that, your odds are better if you bet on the banker but even if you mix it up, you’ll be fine.