Decades ago, baccarat was strictly a high-roller affair. You couldn’t walk up to a baccarat table with a couple hundred dollars, dressed in normal clothes, and expect to play.
Instead, you had to throw on eveningwear and bet up to $100 per hand or more. But everything regarding baccarat has changed greatly today.
Now, you can find plenty of $10 tables. Furthermore, you don’t have to dress up and gain access to roped-off areas.
Baccarat is now more popular among the masses than ever before. You can read about the multiple reasons why it’s such a hit today.
Asian Gamblers Love Baccarat
No region loves baccarat more than Asia, particularly with Chinese gamblers. Casinos in Macau, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, and other local gambling destinations feature countless baccarat tables.
High-stakes gamblers aren’t the only target here either. Asian players of all economic classes play this game.
That said, casino havens across the world have seen a big uptick and baccarat due to Asian tourists alone. Any local play with this game is an added bonus.
Mini Baccarat Makes the Game More Accessible
Casinos can’t just roll out a bunch of $100 baccarat tables and expect to draw more players. Instead, they’ve reduced the stakes on most tables over the years.
$5, $10, and $25 tables are now available in many land-based casinos. Many gamblers can afford to play in the $5 to $10 range.
These low-stakes games are referred to as mini baccarat. The latter features a smaller, less-intimidating table that seats seven players. Contrast is this to big baccarat (a.k.a. the high-stakes version), which features 12 to 14 players.
Most gamblers aren’t too intimidated by the seven-seat Caribbean stud, blackjack and, or three-card poker tables. The same holds true for the smaller mini baccarat games.
Going back to the influx of Asian baccarat players, many of these gamblers are quite superstitious. They feel that they can influence the odds by bringing good fortune on their side.
As a result, Asian players commonly perform unique rituals on the table. They’re only allowed to do these rituals through baccarat—not other casino games.
Some of the interesting things that these players do include:
- Slowly bending back card corners to reveal the number.
- Tearing apart losing cards to get them out of the shoe.
- Blowing on cards to blow away bad numbers.
If you so much as touch cards on a blackjack table, you’ll be sternly warned by the dealer. You’ll receive a security escort out the door if you dare rip cards in half.
However, casino management lightens up when it comes to baccarat. They realize that allowing such superstitions is a great way to keep players interested.
Great Odds of Winning
Asian gamblers may be extremely superstitious, but they also have a good sense of the math and odds involved with gaming. They like baccarat because this game provides an excellent chance of winning.
Here are the available baccarat wagers:
- Banker hand winning – 1.06% house edge
- Player hand winning – 1.24%
- Both hands tie – 4.84% (w/ 9:1 payout) or 14.36% (w/ 8:1 payout)
The banker bet and its 1.06% house edge are extremely favorable. You won’t find many house advantages lower than this throughout the casino.
The player bet also gives you a fair chance to win. Its 1.24% house advantage may be a little higher than the banker bet, but it’s still one of the best casino wagers available.
The tie bet is the only one that you need to stay clear of. It carries a 4.84% or 14.36% house edge — both of which are unfavorable.
Little Strategy Required
Baccarat features a complex scoring system that makes it seem confusing at first. However, you’ll find both the gameplay and strategy for Baccarat to be relatively simple.
Regarding the latter, you merely need to wager on the banker hand every time. Provided you do this, you’ll be facing the aforementioned 1.06% house edge.
Some gamblers adopt a pattern-based system, where they switch bets depending upon which side experiences a winning or losing streak. Here’s an example on how this strategy works:
- The banker wins three times in a row.
- You think that the player is due for a win.
- You bet on the player hand winning next.
The theory here is that if one side wins too often, then the other side is bound to win eventually. After all, the banker and player bets are relatively even in terms of odds.
In reality, though, pattern-based strategies don’t do anything to overcome the house advantage. But you might find them worthwhile if you’re looking for something different.
The High Roller Scene Is Still Active
High-roller baccarat isn’t just some relic of gambling’s past. Instead, the high-stakes scene is alive and well.
Casinos in Las Vegas, Macau, Melbourne, and Singapore regularly draw big baccarat gamblers. Some of these players are willing to risk anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 per hand.
Of course, you don’t have to bet the price of a new car just to enjoy high-stakes play. Even $100 and $200 wagers will earn you high-roller status in many casinos.
As you may know, baccarat high rollers are privy to special rewards, such as top-shelf liquor, lavish hotel rooms, fine dining, and VIP nightclub tables.
Even $100 bets can get you hosted and on the path to extravagant rewards. For example, you may be comped a room for a couple of nights, a few meals, and multiple liquor bottles.
You don’t have to visit land-based casinos just to enjoy baccarat action. Almost every internet casino offers this game.
One great thing about online baccarat is that you don’t need to bet much to play. Instead, the minimum wagers are typically just $1 per hand.
Finally, you can look forward to online baccarat bonuses too. These deals are worth a match percentage of your deposit amount (e.g. 100% up to $200).
Deposit bonuses are more lucrative than VIP rewards alone. Therefore, you should definitely take advantage of these deals when they’re available.
Live Dealer Baccarat
The big knock against online baccarat used to be that it doesn’t provide any social element. Live-dealer casinos helps solve this problem.
Live baccarat is streamed directly from a casino studio. Therefore, you get to bet through your smartphone and watch real baccarat action unfold.
More importantly, you also have an opportunity to interact with a human dealer. You can send them messages through the chat box, which they’ll respond to verbally.
Again, live baccarat helps inject a social aspect into internet gaming. It has increased the game’s popularity even more—especially among the crowd that doesn’t usually visit land-based casinos.
The average gambler used to ignore baccarat. After all, this game was reserved for high-stakes players in roped-off areas.
But the past two decades have seen immense changes in the baccarat scene. It’s now accessible to far more players.
Asian gamblers are largely attributed with increasing baccarat’s popularity. They love this game, and, in turn, casinos have responded by putting more mini tables on their floors.
Online (virtual) and live-dealer baccarat have also boosted baccarat’s fame. They make the game more accessible to those who don’t typically play in brick-and-mortar casinos.