Baccarat (correctly pronounced “BAH-kah-rah”) has long been a favorite card game of high rollers, but even many more budgeted players as well! The rules are incredibly simple and can be mastered in a few minutes. The object of baccarat is to correctly predict whether the banker’s hand will win, the player’s hand will win, or the game will result in a tie.
The value of a hand is determined by adding the values of its individual cards. Tens and face cards count as zero, while all other cards count as their numerical value. After summing the total, only the last digit is used. Therefore, baccarat hands all have values from 0 to 9. The hand with the higher value wins. If the hands have the same value, the game results in a tie. Initially, both the banker and the player are dealt two cards. If the two initial cards total 8 or 9, the hand is called a “natural”, and the game will end at that point. Otherwise, standard Baccarat “third card rules” (that Gold Club players need not remember) determine if a hand should receive a third and final card.
Winning bets on the player’s hand are paid at 1:1 odds. A 5% commission is charged on winnings as a result of a bet on the banker, making the net odds on banker bets 0.95 to 1. A winning wager on a tie bet is paid at 8:1odds. If the game does result in a tie, bets on the banker or player are returned.
If you have an abundance of pure luck, then Baccarat is your game. Baccarat is played using a fixed set of rules for the player and the dealer. Calculations have been made that show the odds of the player winning are 44.62%, losing 45.85%, and tying 9.53%. Thus it would seem advantageous to bet on the house winning virtually every hand.
To even out the odds, the house charges a commission (usually 5%) on winning bets placed on the house. How should this change the way a player wagers?
Factoring in the commission, you are still slightly better off betting that the house will win. This assumes the commission is the usual 5%. However, should the commission change then you have to adapt your strategy. If the commission is less than 5% then it is always advantageous to bet on the house, while if the commission is more than 5% it pays to bet on the player winning.
Removing the tie hands in the event there is no payoff, the odds of the player winning are 49.32% and for losing 50.68%. For various commissions we can calculate the following average payoffs then, assuming 100 wagers of $1 were made.