Baccarat Made Easy!
I’m often asked about Casino games, and a common question is “What’s the Easiest Casino Game to Play?”
Of course, that’s a difficult question to answer, and yet an easy one to answer as well.
Let me explain….
First, “easy” is a relative term. What’s easy for one person may be very difficult for another person. Although I’ve written a book on how to make Craps extremely easy for the beginner as well as for the Professional Gambler, I will usually answer this question by emphatically stating – “Baccarat is the Easiest Game to Play in the whole Casino”.
“But”, they protest, “It looks like the hardest game to play”, or “it looks so intimidating”, or, “isn’t that James Bond’s favorite game?”.
Yes, It’s all of the above…. Unless you “just do it”.
So, let’s take a closer look.
On its simplest level, it’s ONLY a matter of making ONE decision: Bank or Player!
That’s it… there is no more…. You can play Baccarat by ONLY deciding whether to bet on the Bank or on the Player.
That’s it – you place your chip(s) in the little box or circle on the table marked “Bank” and you’ve bet that the Bank will win the next hand. If you place your bet in the space marked “Player”, you are betting that the “Player” will win the next hand.
You REALLY don’t need to know (or do) anything else… and you’re playing Baccarat!
There are other things to do if you want. I always insist that my students keep a running score (or record) of the outcomes of each hand in order to use my favorite betting strategies for Baccarat.
But, for those who want more… let’s look at the game’s other nuances and options.
There are two different tables dealing Baccarat: The Pit, and the Mini Tables. The Pit is cordoned off with velvet ropes, manned by tuxedoed dealers, served by specially assigned cocktail waitresses, pit bosses, and Casino Hosts. All of who are there to provide “extra” goodies to the Baccarat players. Usually, there is also a buffet spread there for the Baccarat players in the Pit. Talk about intimidating! What’s more, there’s a $100 MINIMUM bet enforced (except at one Casino on the Las Vegas Strip) on the weekends, and $50 on the weekdays and nights. Are you scared off yet? Don’t be, this can be a “bargain”.
The other way to play Baccarat is at the “Mini Tables”. The game is played the same way, but it’s in the main casino area, a sit-down, half-circle table (it looks like a “Blackjack” table) and there’s only one dealer.
These Mini Tables have similar betting ranges (low minimums) to the Blackjack Tables, depending upon the Casino, the day of the week, the time of the day etc.
The main difference is that the dealer handles all the cards here, whereas the players handle the cards in the pit.
But THAT is a crucial difference…. NOT in the way the game is played (they’re identical) but in the TIME it takes to play a hand. The single dealer at the Mini Tables blasts through the hands, and you must play many, many hands an hour.
But, in the Pit, the players handle the cards, and believe me, it’s an art form, and very interesting to watch how they handle the cards. Nearly ALL of them will bend (and I mean BEND) each of their two cards up to reveal – SLOWLY – the marks, or spots on the side of their card, and then do the same on the end of their card – then do the same ritual to their other card… and then they THROW them down on the table, face up for all to see, OR they rip them into two pieces (Yep, the cards are only used one time in the pit and then discarded by the Casino)… OR they have some similar superstitious ritual they do every time. Because of these rituals that are played out EVERY hand, it can take a long, long time to complete the hand, therefore, your number of hands per hour are way low.
The result of this is amazing: You could spend much more of your betting bankroll on a $5 Mini table per hour than on a $50 Pit Table!
For the purposes of this article, I don’t want to get into how the game is played. For one reason, you DON’T NEED TO KNOW because EVERYTHING is done for you in this game either by the dealer (at the Mini Tables), or you are TOLD what to do by the Dealers in the Pit. For another reason, it is complicated – so, don’t worry about it – Just play the game!
I must tell you however, that there are five bets that you can make during any given hand in Baccarat.
1) Bank (you’re betting that the Bank will win)
2) Player (you’re betting that the Player will win)
3) Tie (you’re betting that the two will tie or push – NO winner)
4) Bank AND Tie (You’re betting that the Bank will win, but hedging your bet with a tie bet in case of a tie)
5) Player AND Tie (You’re betting that the Player will win, but hedging your bet with a tie bet in case of a tie)
Those are the five betting opportunities in Baccarat. That’s ALL you can do – that’s EVERY betting proposition available… there is NO more – that’s it – NADA!
And without going into my strategies…. Let me tell you this:
NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER (got it yet?) NEVER bet on a tie! Completely eliminate bets 3, 4, and 5 above, and you are left with ONLY bets 1 and 2…. Bank OR Player.
One thing to note: When you win a “Bank” bet, you must pay a 5% commission. There is NO commission on a winning “Player” bet. That’s just to even the odds because there is a “slight” advantage to the “Bank” bet over the “Player” bet.
See? I told you it was easy…. That’s all you need to know to play Baccarat!