When is the last time you played a hand of baccarat? How long has it been since you played the slots?
For most gamblers, the answer shows that they’ve played slots more recently than baccarat. Slot machines are the most popular games in the casino, and baccarat is one of the least popular games. This is exactly how the casino likes it, because they make more money from a player sitting at the slot machine than they make from a baccarat player.
Gamblers like slots for many reasons, but some of the benefits you get from playing slots you can get playing baccarat. When you look at many of the same benefits, and add in that baccarat helps your bankroll last longer, it’s a wonder that more people don’t give up slots and play baccarat instead.
My guess is that most slots players don’t know enough about baccarat to try it out. This is true for gamblers who play other games as well. On this page I’m going to explain why baccarat might be a better option than your current favorite gambling game.
1 – Baccarat Is Easy to Play
The easiest game to play in most casinos is a slot machine. You find a machine, sit down, put some money in the slot, and push a button or pull a lever. The reels spin and the machine either keeps your money or adds money to your balance when you win. You can’t use strategy or skill to influence slot machines.
The casinos take advantage of this by using slot machines with a lower pay back percentage than most other games. I discuss the house edge more in the next section, but did you know that there’s another game that’s just as easy to play that offers a lower house edge?
Baccarat shares many of the same benefits as slot machines when it comes to ease of play. In baccarat, you find a table, sit down, and place a bet. The dealer takes care of everything else. While you can and should use strategy when you play baccarat, the strategy is simple and you only have to do one thing.
Always bet on the banker hand.
That’s the entire strategy in one sentence. You don’t even have to push a button or pull a lever when you play in a land based casino. When you play online, playing baccarat is just as simple as playing a slot machine. Open the game, place a bet, and push a button, and then see if you win or lose.
Some players feel the need to understand how to score baccarat hands, but you don’t even need to know how to do that. When you play online the casino software takes care of everything, and when you play in a casino the dealer takes care of everything.
This is technically only true when you play mini or midi baccarat. This is the version that most people play in a land based casino. It’s played on a table that looks like a blackjack table. The actual game of baccarat is played on a bigger table, usually for high stakes, and the players take turns being the bank.
If you see one of these tables, look for a mini baccarat table. If you don’t see one, ask one of the casino personnel. When you play online, every baccarat game is the mini baccarat version, even when it’s just called baccarat.
If you want to know how the hands are scored in baccarat, here’s a quick tutorial.
The point value for each card is added together, and if the total is over nine, the first number is dropped. In other words, when a value goes over 10 you subtract 10 from it. If the value is over 20, you subtract 20 from it, leaving just the single digit number.
Here’s an example:
The player hand receives a king and a four. The banker hand receives a five and a three. The player hand totals 14, so you drop the first number, resulting in a total of four. The banker hand has a total of eight, so it doesn’t draw another card. The player hand gets another card and receives three. This is added to the original total of four, for a total of seven. The banker hand wins.
This is basically how to score baccarat hands. Each casino has specific rules about when each hand stands and when each hand draws another card, but you don’t have to worry about them. You can ask for a copy of the rules if they aren’t posted on the table in a land based casino, or you can read the rules when you play online by clicking on the rules, how to play, or help section when you load the baccarat table.
You won’t find an easier game to play than baccarat in the casino. You can find games that offer a lower house edge, but you trade the ease of play for more work. To get a lower house edge, you have to use strategy and more brain power. If you’re looking for a way to play for hours and forget the world, baccarat is your best bet.
2 – The Low House Edge
Casino games are profitable for the casinos. They all have something called a house edge. The house edge is a percentage of every bet that the casino keeps as a profit. Different games have different house edges, and some games are designed so you can use strategy to lower the edge.
Blackjack is a good example of a game that allows players to use strategy to change the house edge. The rules of the blackjack game also change the house edge from game to game. A blackjack game might have rules that allow a player to keep the house edge as low as .5% or lower, but only if they use perfect strategy.
If you don’t use perfect strategy, the house edge for the same game can be 1% to 2% or higher. It’s not particularly difficult to use good strategy especially if you use a strategy card, but you have to think about what you’re doing on every hand.
Video poker is another example of a game that sometimes offers a low house edge, but just like blackjack, you have to use perfect strategy and make mental decisions on every hand.
The casino is also filled with games that have a much higher house edge. Slot machines have an edge of 2 to 9 or 10% in most casinos, and many table games range from 2 to over 5%. The house edge is directly responsible for draining your bankroll, so it’s important to look for games that have a low house edge.
Casino games with a low house edge give you the best chance to win and help your bankroll last longer. When you play a game with a house edge long enough, the casino eventually takes all of your money. Every game in the casino has a house edge, so gambling is usually a long term losing proposition.
The good news about baccarat, in addition to being so easy to play, is that the house edge on the banker bet is only 1.06%. This makes much lower than slot machines, and also makes it lower than most other games, even when you use strategy to lay them.
If you want to play games with the lowest possible house edge and are willing to work at it, blackjack, some video poker games, and traditional poker like Texas holdem offer better opportunities. But when it comes to casino games that are easy to play that offer a low house edge, baccarat is the king.
The house edge on the player bet at the baccarat table is 1.24%. This is still better than most of your other options, but there’s never a reason to make this bet when the banker bet offers a lower edge. The tie bet is always the worst bet on the table, with the edge as high as 14.36% depending on the pay out.
The bottom line is, the only strategy you need to use when playing baccarat is to make the banker bet.
The casino takes a commission of 5% on all winning banker bets. This is already figured into the 1.06% house edge for the bet, so it’s still the right wager. The only downside to this is the dealer has to make change on every hand where the banker bet wins unless you bet a certain amount.
This isn’t really a downside though, because it can slow the game down. The fewer hands per hour you play, the longer your bankroll lasts.
The house edge is useful to know for other reasons than simply knowing that you should play games with a low edge. If you know how much you bet per hand and how many hands you play per hour you can use the house edge to predict how much you lose per hour and how long you can play with your current bankroll.
Here’s an example:
You play baccarat and always bet on the banker. You make $20 bets on each hand, and where you play the average number of hands per hour is 100. To determine how much you can expect to lose you multiply $20 per hand times 100 hands per hour. This gives you a total wagered of $2,000 per hour.
Now, multiply this amount by the house edge of 1.06% and you get the amount you can expect to lose, on average, per hour. This is $21.20 in expected hourly losses.
If you have a $500 bankroll, you can divide it by the expected hourly loss rate of $21.20 to figure out how many hours you should be able to play before running out of money. This comes out to 23.5 hours of play.
Your results will vary from hour to hour. Some hours you’re going to lose more than $21.20, and some hours you’re going to lose less, or even win. But over a long period of time, the expected loss per hour, or average loss per hour, is going to be $21.20 using the numbers above.
When you play baccarat in a land based casino, the tables have a minimum bet. Many tables have a minimum bet of $10 or $20, so you’re forced to put quite a bit of money at risk every hour you play. But when you play online baccarat you can find tables that have a minimum bet of $5 or less. I’ve even seen tables with a $1 minimum bet online.
By lowering your bet size, you can play much longer on the same bankroll. The downside to playing baccarat online is that you can play many more hands per hour than when you play live. The baccarat software runs each hand as fast as you can push the play button, so it’s possible to play 400 or more hands per hour.
The more baccarat hands you play per hour, the more you lose on average. If you want to play for as long as possible on your bankroll, you should play online at a low minimum bet table, but you should try not to ply faster than you play at a land based casino.
Here’s an example of how much longer you can play with a lower bet size.
In the last example you had a bankroll of $500 and could expect to play 23.5 hours making 100 $20 bets per hour. If you play online and make 100 $5 bets per hour you can play four times as long.
$500 X 1.06% = $5.30 expected loss per hour
$500 bankroll divided by $5.30 = 94.3 hours
Even if you play 200 hands per hour instead of 100, you can play twice as long with the same bankroll making bets of $5 instead of $20.
$1,000 X 1.06% = $10.60 expected loss per hour
$500 bankroll divided by $10.60 = 47.2 hours
You can run the numbers yourself using this simple formula with different bet sizes, bankroll amounts, and number of hands per hour.
3 – Online Baccarat Bonuses and Comps
So far you’ve learned about how easy it is to play baccarat and how the house edge makes it one of your best choices at the casino. You’ve also learned how to figure out how long you can play based on the house edge, your bet size, and the number of hands per hour you play.
The news about baccarat gets even better. When you play baccarat online you can find casinos that are willing to give you a bonus when you make a deposit. This can often double the time you can play on your bankroll. Sometimes you can find a bonus that triples your bankroll.
Before you continue reading you need to know a couple important things about online baccarat bonuses. Not all casino sign up bonuses can be used to play baccarat. Some of them are only for slots play, so make sure you read about the restrictions before you make your deposit. If you can’t see if baccarat play is allowed with the bonus, send a message to the support department and ask.
I mentioned play through requirements in the last paragraph. Online bonuses have rules about clearing the bonus. You can learn more about these when you read the terms to find out if baccarat can be played with the bonus.
When you play in a land based casino you can’t get a bonus to play baccarat, but you can sign up for a player’s club card and earn comps for your play. You can earn free food and even free hotel stays or flights if you’re a big player.
Some online casinos also have comp programs, so if you can find one offering a nice baccarat bonus in addition to a comps program you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
Bonuses are the best way to play more on the same bankroll. You learned how to figure out how long you can play on a $500 bankroll in the last section, so let’s run a few scenarios using a bonus to see how much longer it lets you play. Here are the numbers for four different scenarios.
Scenario one: You get a 100% deposit bonus, bet $5 per hand, and play 200 hands per hour.
Scenario two: You get a 100% deposit bonus, bet $5 per hand, and play 100 hands per hour.
Scenario three: You get a 200% deposit bonus, bet $1 per hand, and play 200 hands per hour.
Scenario four: You get a 200% deposit bonus, bet $1 per hand, and play 100 hands per hour.
Here are the results:
Scenario one: A 100% deposit bonus gives you an extra $500, for a total bankroll of $1,000. Betting $5 per hand and 200 hands per hour is $1,000 in total wagers per hour. This is an expected loss rate of $10.60 per hour, which means you can play 94.3 hours.
Scenario two: You start with a bankroll of $1,000, but your expected loss rate is only $5.30 per hour because you bet 100 hands instead of 200. This means you can play 188.7 hours.
Scenario three: Now you get an extra $1,000 to play with, for a total of $1,500. You’re only risking $200 per hour, so your expected hourly loss rate is just $2.12. This means you can play 707.5 hours.
Scenario four: With the same $1,500 bankroll as the last scenario, you’re only risking $100 per hour. Your expected hourly loss rate is only $1.06 and this means you can play 1,415 hours before you should run out of money.
The numbers clearly show if you want to maximize your playing time you should play online using a bonus and make the minimum bet on every hand.
One thing to consider if you want to play baccarat for as long as possible is that you can play it for free online. You can sign up for a free account at any of the casinos listed on this site and they’ll let you play free baccarat for as long as you want.
Baccarat isn’t the most popular game in the casino, but it combines a low house edge with simple game play. When you add a bonus, you can play for hours on a small bankroll and have a chance to come out ahead from time to time.
If you’re looking for an easy game to play and extended playing time, baccarat is the best option in the casino.