Baccarat has charged into the lead as the most popular table game in the world. In some places, real money blackjack still holds on as the top game.
However, Asia is the leading reason for all of the baccarat success. Casinos in Macau are packed full of baccarat tables.
The baccarat players in Macau vastly outnumber the most common of all games, the slot machines. That trend has begun to make its way to casinos in the US and around the globe.
Don’t be in any hurry to abandon your favorite game. Here’s why you shouldn’t hop on the baccarat bandwagon.
You Won’t Ever Find a Consistent Strategy
Many players enjoy playing casino games because of the element of strategy. In a game like blackjack, using the best possible strategy can slice the house edge by half.
For poker players, every move you make needs to be calculated. Top players consider their strategy before taking a sip of water.
You’ll find no stimulating intellectual strategies in baccarat, none that will do you any good, anyway.
I’ll give you everything you need to know about baccarat strategy in three words—bet the banker. That’s the extent of the baccarat strategy. The banker bet holds a house edge of only 1.06%. So, you’ll be able to extend your time on the table by flat-betting the banker.
Some players will start trend betting based on previous results and altering their bet size. This strategy will diminish your odds and burn through your cash much faster.
Baccarat is simple, which appeals to a large swath of gamblers. However, it is this simplicity that makes the game a complete bore for many.
You’re Going to Pay the Casino a Commission
I’ve already told you that the banker bet is the way to go when betting on baccarat. I failed to mention that you’ll be paying the casino a commission for the pleasure.
Every winning bet on the banker is charged a 5% commission. That means if you play for $100 per hand, you’re paying $5 on each win.
So, you’re betting $100 to win $95. If you’re playing for $1,000, you pay a $50 commission on each win. Of course, you’ll still lose $1,000 for a loss.
The commission is how the casino gains its house edge. Otherwise, a player could bet the banker for their entire session and leave with a profit.
The casino is essentially offering a bad bet for the house and must slide the edge back in their favor.
Imagine playing poker against an opponent of equal ability heads-up and having to pay a 5% commission to the player each time you win a pot. You’d likely find yourself another game that offered you better odds.
Baccarat continues to boast one of the lowest house edges in the casino. Still, there’s something about paying the casino a commission for winning that doesn’t sit well with me.
You Have Limited Choices
Variety is what keeps the world spinning. Most casino games keep players engaged with several different betting options or a series of important decisions.
Baccarat has three choices beyond how much to wager. These are the banker bet, the player bet, and the tie bet.
I’ve already covered the banker bet in detail. This is your best option when it comes to winning at baccarat.
The player bet holds a better house edge than blackjack or just about any game in the casino. Then, there’s the tie bet. I’ll get to this shortly but stay away from the tie bet.
It’s funny that you find a game with such complex rules yet so few options. That should send up a red flag when it comes to casino games.
Beyond making your initial bet, the game is entirely out of your hands. The dealer takes care of all of the work.
In most games, you’re not even allowed to touch the cards. You just sit there and watch—at least slot machines allow you to press the spin button.
The Tie Is for Suckers
The casinos cleverly disguise total sucker bets throughout the games. Blackjack, roulette, craps, keno, Mississippi Stud, and many others all have elements of sucker bets hidden within them.
In blackjack, this sucker bet is insurance. For roulette, it’s really any bet in the middle of the table. Craps offers a ton of prop bets that are absolutely for the birds.
Baccarat has the tie bet. On the banker or player bet, baccarat players enjoy a house edge below 1.3%.
The sucker bet launches the house edge to over 14%. That’s about 3x worse than you get on a below-average slot machine.
Most players never look at things like house edge before they sit down at the tables. Hence, when they see the tie bet paying 8:1, and four of the last 10 hands were a tie, they bite.
There are several ways to throw your money out the window that offers much more entertainment than merely blowing it on baccarat.
The overwhelming odds of the tie bet basically leave baccarat players with two choices. When you break it down to this stage, baccarat becomes nothing more than a coin flip.
Other Games Offer Greater Potential Winnings
One of the most critical factors for a large section of casino gamblers is the potential to make a profit. Advantage gamblers often stay away from baccarat unless they find an edge.
For the rest of the players, many are happily playing a game that merely allows them to win a large chunk of cash before heading home.
The game isn’t designed to entice this type of player. Games like slot machines and real money keno draw in a specific crowd of players chasing that five-figure or higher win.
That’s not what you’ll get in baccarat. The game will provide a small, steady stream of wins and losses.
So, if you’re looking to play for as long as possible, stick to a game that offers the best bets for players. You can find a better edge in blackjack, video poker, and craps. All you need to do is find a game with the best rules and play the best strategy.
You’ll soon find that there are games that offer more significant potential for winning and are more entertaining for the player.
Simple Game With Complicated Scoring
Baccarat may be among the most straightforward games in the casino to play, but understanding how the scoring works out is another matter.
Baccarat uses very complicated rules on how the hand progresses from there. It gets more cloudy when you learn that the hands are played differently for the banker and the player.
The main goal isn’t to have the higher hand but rather to get closest to a total of 9. Aces are worth one point, face cards zero, and all other cards carry their face value.
In order to get closest to nine, the first number is dropped if the hand totals double digits. So, 7-9 would be scored 6. I’ve played hundreds of hours of casino baccarat, and I cannot tell you with any certainty when the banker will or will not draw a card; without referring to the chart.
For such a simple game, there are a lot of moving parts.
The Game Flies
Most casinos in the US are set up with mini-baccarat tables. These tables accommodate only six to seven players as opposed to the 14 players on standard baccarat tables.
Having fewer players at the tables means the game progresses much faster. Some players enjoy this fast-paced action because they never stop to consider the bankroll implications.
However, the same $20 per hand wager in blackjack played with basic strategy will net only $7.50 in losses per hour. This total is an average, and you may see swings or dips that can influence either number.
Still, your average expected hourly loss will be nearly 5x higher in baccarat. Suddenly, that incredible house edge isn’t sounding so good.
Keep These in Mind the Next Time You Play Baccarat
I’m not trying to convince you that baccarat is the worst game in the casino. It’s not a terrible game, especially if this is how you prefer to gamble.
These reasons why you shouldn’t hop on the baccarat bandwagon are meant as more of a yield sign than a stop sign.