Another game in a casino that gives the player a near-to-even chance of winning is baccarat. This simple game has only three betting options, and one of them has a huge 14.4% house edge and should be avoided at all costs.
The other two bets are nearly even money, with a small house edge of less than 1.5%.
Baccarat pits the player against the bank, and before each hand you must decide on whether the player or the bank will win the hand. If you pick the right one, your bet will be paid 1:1. Betting on the player is a straight 1:1 payout, but if you bet on the bank and win you have to pay a 5% commission on your winnings.
The commission exists so that players don’t take advantage of the fact that the bank has a higher probability of winning (50.68%).
The bet to stay away from on the baccarat table is the tie bet. It pays 8 to 1 on your wager, but the probability of hitting the tie bet is only 9.5%. That gives the house a huge 14.4% edge over you because the payout is a smaller ratio than the probability of the tie occurring.
Betting on the player to win will pay 1 to 1 on your money and will occur 48.15% of the time. That’s a lot better than a tie bet, but even with the 5% commission you have to pay on a banker win, a player bet is still not as good as betting on the bank. Many players will only bet on the bank when they play baccarat. It may not be the most interesting way to play, but mathematically it provides the best odds to get ahead in the game.
Baccarat is a lot like blackjack in that deciding to get out of the game at the right time is one of the most important decisions you can make. All betting games have a win/loss variance, and if can get out of the game when you’re up, instead of down, it will make all the difference.