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BACCARAT

 

 

Introduction

Baccarat is a common casino game that is available with nearly all online softwares. Bets on both player and banker have a similar chance of winning and a low house edge of just over 1%. Unfortunately the game rarely counts towards wagering at non-Microgaming bonuses because it is possible to simultaneously bet on both player and banker, greatly reducing variance.

 

Rules and Play

At the start of each hand, you may bet on the player winning, the banker winning, or a tie result. After you have placed your bet, both the player and banker are dealt 2 cards. Hands are ranked according to the right-most digit of their card sum. For example, a hand containing a 6 and 7 is valued as a 3. The card sum is 6+7=13, and the right-most digit of this sum is 3. The player or banker may be dealt a 3rd card according to the rules listed below.

--If either the player or the banker has a total of 8 or 9, then no additional cards are drawn. Otherwise play proceeds as follows:

--If the player has a total of 0-5, the player draws a 3rd card. If the player has an initial total of 6 or 7, he stands. Note that the player must follow this strategy. He cannot choose to stand on a 4 or hit a 6.

--The banker's play varies according to the player's total and 3rd card result. If the player did not draw a 3rd card, the banker draws if he has a total of 0-5. Otherwise, the banker draws according to the table listed below.

Banker's Hand Player's 3rd Card
 0  1   2   3   4   5   6   7  8  9 
0 H H H H H H H H H H
1 H H H H H H H H H H
2 H H H H H H H H H H
3 H H H H H H H H S H
4 S S H H H H H H S S
5 S S S S H H H H S S
6 S S S S S S H H S S
7 S S S S S S S S S S
H
  Hit (Draw 3rd Card)
S
  Stand

Banker bets have a slightly greater chance of winning than player bets because of the improved banker strategy. To offset this advantage, banker bets have a 5% commission. Banker bets pay 0.95:1, while player bets pay 1:1. If you bet $100 on banker and win, you receive $195. if you bet $100 on player and win, you receive $200. Banker bets and player bets are returned, if the hand is a tie.

Tie bets pay 8:1 and have a much higher house edge than player or banker bets.

 

Strategy

With such complicated rules, optimal strategy for baccarat is surprisingly simple. There are no strategy choices among which cards to take or whether to hit/stand. Place a bet on banker or player, then wait for the dealer to flip the cards, and see if you have won or not. Banker bets have a slightly lower house edge than player bets under typical circumstances, as explained below. Optimal strategy is to simply bet on banker.

 

House Edge

Under typical rules with 6 or 8 decks the house edge of the banker bet is 1.06%; the house edge of the player bet is 1.24%; and the house edge of the tie bet is over 14%. These standard rules are used by Playtech, Cryptologic, RTG (most), Chartwell, Boss, Rival, and most other softwares.

Microgaming, Wagerworks, Grand Virtual, and Party Gaming offer single-deck baccarat, with a reduced house edge of 1.01% on the banker bet. 5Dimes Bonus Casino and Galewind Software offer games with a 4% commission on banker, resulting in a house edge of 0.60%. Betfair's Zero Lounge offers baccarat with a 2.75% commission on banker, reducing the house edge to 0.03%. House Edge values are listed in the table below. For checking other rule sets, see the baccarat house edge calc.


Bet
Betfair Zero Lounge
(2.75% comm.)
5Dimes Bonus Casino
Galewind
Microgaming / Wagerworks / Grand Virtual / Party (1 Deck)
World Gaming
(4 Decks)
Standard Payout
(6+ Decks)
Banker Bet
0.03%
0.60%
0.60%
1.01%
1.05%
1.06%
1.06%
Player Bet
1.24%
0.79%
1.24%
1.29%
1.24%
1.24%
1.24%
Tie Bet
14.36%
14.36%
4.93%
15.75%
14.59%
14.44%
14.36%


RealTime Gaming casinos
allow dealers to configure decks and rules, so some casinos use a modified payout from above. RTG casinos round down the commission on banker bets the nearest 0.25. This rule increases the commission to beyond 5% and increases the house edge, if your banker bet is not a multiple of $5. If you are not betting a multiple of $5, then the player bet likely has a lower house edge than banker.  

 

Variations

Some Chartwell casinos offer a "No Commission" baccarat game where the banker bet pays 1:1 on non-8 wins and 1:2 on 8 wins. This change increases the house edge to 4.07% on the banker bet, making the player bet far superior (player bet is unchanged).

 

Variance and Bet Size

The standard deviation per hand of baccarat is ~0.93, lower than blackjack and slightly below roulette. The low variance relates to a maximum payout of 1:1 and a small portion of the hands being pushes.

The table below shows the chance of ending above the deposit balance with unlimited bankroll, after completing a wagering requirement with 5 bet sizes. Standard rules and a 1.06% house edge are assumed. See the return & variance calculator for more specific estimates.

Bet Size Playthrough Requirement
10xB 20xB 30xB 40xB 50xB 60xB 70xB
B/100 99.9% 97% 91% 84% 76% 69% 63%
B/50 98% 91% 87% 76% 69% 64% 59%
B/20 91% 80% 73% 67% 63% 59% 56%
B/10 83% 73% 66% 62% 59% 56% 54%
B/5 75% 66% 62% 59% 56% 54% 53%

 

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