Baccarat Background

The Bank and Player bets are two of the best available.

Bank     1.17%
Player   1.35%
Tie        14.1%

The allure of baccarat is one of the most historic of any casino game. It dates back to the middle ages, when the game was played with parts of a Tarot deck. It originated in Italy and migrated to France, where it became the game of the aristocracy.
Eventually, baccarat evolved into European baccarat and the French game chemin de fer (French for “railroad”).
Each game gives the bank one slight rule variation that makes the game an even proposition for the casino and for the players. Chemin de fer is essentially the same game as today’s casino game of baccarat, but one of the players banks the game, rather than the casino. The role of “banker” rotates around the table. The casino takes no risk and merely charges a fee from each banker.

What is known as American baccarat actually originated in England and spread to South America. It was introduced into Las Vegas at the infamous Dunes casino in the late 1950s after Fidel Castro closed the even more infamous Havana casinos. Because it is so elegantly appointed, with marble, chandeliers, plush chairs and more, you might think that baccarat is still the game of the aristocracy. You’d be right. Many of the world’s highest gamblers make it their game of choice. Stories abound about rich men who bet millions during one session. Casino revenues on the Las Vegas Strip rise and fall precipitously according to the casinos’ fortunes at the baccarat tables.

There is a lesson to be learned by the choices made by these high gamblers. They make their millions by making shrewd business decisions, and their choice of casino game reflects their understanding of the odds. Despite baccarat’s elite reputation, the game is available to anyone who can make the minimum bet. In some cases, minimums can be as low as £2.50. At that level, a fund of £50 should be enough to experience one of the casino’s most fascinating games.

While the game is enjoyed by people of many nationalities and ethnic groups, it is the Asians that have made baccarat as popular – and profitable – as it is today. In some of the largest casinos in Las Vegas, several floors are reserved for large groups of Asians who often spend many hours and even days playing their favourite game. Table maximums are a point of negotiation, and some groups and individuals can bet up to $500,000 (approximately £300,000) a hand.

In the casinos of the Portuguese territory of Macao, near Hong Kong, baccarat is the game of choice, with dozens of customers lining up to play at a single table. These casinos allow more than one player to bet on a spot at the same time, while the dealers expertly track what each patron owes in commission on winning bank bets.

The appeal of Roulette

Casino executives, like all other businessmen, focus on the bottom line. Each game on the casino floor is expected to stand on its own. Complicated formulas tell executives how much each game is worth to the bottom line. Included in the equation are the costs for employees and equipment. In this context, slot machines are the best choice for the casino executives, with blackjack a distant second.

Other table games, such as roulette and craps, barely register. A casino can generally make more money from three slot machines than from one roulette table. If promoted and managed properly, roulette could be a casino’s most profitable game. To attract more action per hour to a roulette table, the casino must attract more players.

But players in the US are staying away from the tables in increasing numbers. Because of the high house advantage in the US, experts have often described roulette as a “sucker’s game”. And because nobody wants to be thought of as a sucker, roulette is ignored by serious players in the US. Casino executives often disdain roulette players because they are thought to be uneducated customers who don’t understand how to play.

This is not so in Europe. Because of the reasonable house advantage and because it isn’t sneered at, roulette is often the most popular game in the casino. These players are, therefore, valued customers who are treated with respect and deference, no matter their level of knowledge or skill at the game. Consequently, if you, as a beginner, are in the enviable position of being able to play in the US or in Europe, choose Europe every time.

The disciplined non-professional player can expect to play with only a minor disadvantage in both craps and blackjack, but there is no escaping the 5.26 per cent house advantage in “00” roulette (or even the seemingly less harsh 2.7 per cent at the “0” wheel).
But the vast majority of casino gamblers are playing for entertainment or excitement. Few are using a disciplined strategy that takes full advantage of any game. They are “hunch” bettors paying a big price.

In blackjack, the hunch bettor will fall victim to a high house advantage. Since basic strategy can cut the house advantage to a very attractive level, the opposite is also true. Players who bet with their hearts can raise the house advantage to seven per cent or more. Craps players are the same. Betting the field, the hardways, or the any seven bet may feel right at the time but, in the long run, you’re damaging the overall appeal of craps. Because both of these games are touted as “player friendly”, casino customers may not even realize they’ve dramatically increased the disadvantage they are facing by not playing intelligently. But despite that, these same players will avoid the roulette game, purely because they’ve heard of its high house advantage.
Roulette is unique in that no matter how bets are placed, the house advantage remains constant: 5.26 per cent. This is still very high for even-money bets, but is a relative bargain for long-shot play. There is no other game in the casino which can offer up to a 35-1 payout with only a 5.26 per cent “vig”.

There is also no other game which does not penalize for hunch play. If you like to be entertained by hunch betting, and/or like to play for long odds on your hunches, then roulette is actually a much better deal than you’ll find with either craps or blackjack.

As you see, the only way to reduce the house advantage is to find a game that offers either en prison or a single “0” wheel. In the US, casinos go through phases of trying to attract the roulette player by replacing the double “00” tables with some single “0” wheels. Whether it is Las Vegas or Atlantic City, those are the games you want to find. Hunt around.
In Europe, since all games are “right” games, the decision is much easier. A European would be offended to find a “00” wheel installed where their beloved “0” wheels were located. Once again, however, be aware of your bets. Since all players use the same chips, it is important that you know how much and where you bet.

Roulette Systems

As opposed to Bingo gratis beware of any roulette betting system that depends on a progression of bets; it is doomed to fail. You may experience some short-term wins with a progressive system but, eventually, the house advantage will catch up with you and you’ll experience a disastrous loss that may wipe out any previous successful sessions.

Over the long run, any progressive betting system has to find a way to beat the hefty 5.26 per cent house advantage and, in the long history of roulette, no one has been able to develop a system that would beat even the low French disadvantage of 2.7 per cent.

It becomes more important, therefore, to be able to rely on human or mechanical error to become a consistent winner at roulette. There are several “systems” that may help you discern where and when the ball is going to land in a particular number or group of numbers. By reading this next section, you will understand why many roulette players seem to be studying the wheel with such great concentration.

In most cases, you cannot predict where the ball is going to land, but many roulette players believe that recording where the ball has landed in the past will allow them to estimate when it will land there again.
To accomplish this, roulette players sit for hours, recording the list of numbers that hit. They note when a number hits more frequently than should be statistically probable, and then bet on that number, hoping the trend will continue.
They will also try to determine whether the ball is landing in any one “section” more than another section. If you look at the roulette wheel and use the “0” as the 12 o’clock point, the wheel can be divided into four quadrants. The roulette wheel is masterfully laid out, even when the “00” is added. On the American wheel, directly across the wheel from any even number is the next odd number, and vice versa. Pairs of even numbers alternate with pairs of odd numbers, except when split by the “0” and “00”.

Clocking the wheel can be very laborious, but some casinos have added an electronic device to help. These “scoreboards” record the last 20 numbers and colours that have hit. For those who don’t want to go back hundreds of spins, this scoreboard can be of great assistance.

One system is to note whether one or more numbers have hit twice or more within the last 20 spins. If so, the player places a straight-up bet on that number for the next five spins. If it hits, he pockets the profits. This continues until the number doesn’t hit in five spins, and he gets up in search of another table hitting the “big” numbers.
Another method is to record the number of times the ball falls into a section of the wheel. By tracking the 20 spins, the ball must fall into one of the quadrants more than 25 per cent of the time, since this should be the statistical norm. When you discover an anomaly, bet the numbers in that section for ten spins. If you win, continue to play that section until it regresses to hitting the normal amount, which should be five times for every 20 spins.

It is possible for a roulette wheel to be “biased” in such a manner that the observant player can obtain an advantage over the casino in the long run. These biases are caused by mechanical defects in the roulette wheel. But finding a wheel that is so defective as to actually overcome the built-in house advantage is extremely rare.

Most biased roulette wheels are not balanced correctly, and the spin of the wheel causes the ball to fall in one section of the wheel statistically more than in any other section. To make a valid observation, however, the player must be prepared to “clock” the wheel for an extended amount of time. The minimum amount of spins you want to observe is 500 because anything less would be considered short-term, and not statistically valid. You also must find a group of numbers that recur at least five per cent more frequently than would be considered normal in order to overcome the house advantage.

Three to two – Blackjack

To make blackjack more interesting, many casinos have developed variations or additional bets on blackjack games in an on line casino.
In most cases, these varied and imaginative games should be avoided as they may distract beginners or intermediate players from their goal, which is to beat the house using basic strategy. But they can be enjoyable, once you understand that playing strict basic strategy is the only way to win.

Some of the more widespread blackjack options, that you will find in casinos around the world are:

– Multi-Action Blackjack: This game has three betting circles, in which you place three separate bets. The dealer uses one upcard, but plays it out three times to satisfy the three bets. The player plays out his hand before the dealer makes any moves. If he busts, he loses all three bets. Basic strategy should be used for this game because the expectations are exactly the same. But the danger arises when the player doesn’t make draws that may bust his hand, which plays right into the casino’s hands. If you insist on playing this game, don’t vary your basic strategy.

– Over/Under: In this game, you make a side bet on whether the next hand you will be dealt will be either over 13 or under 13 on the first two cards. Aces count as one, and the dealer takes all 13 ties. The rule is very unfavourable to the player, and should be avoided. But you can still play basic strategy blackjack on a table with this option without any effect.

– Red or Black: In this bet, you are betting whether the first card you are dealt is red or black. This might appear to be a 50-50 proposition, but the casino throws in a kicker. If the second card is the same colour as the one you choose, the bet is a tie. Forget it.

– Face-Up or Double Exposure Blackjack: This game is not blackjack. Yes, you are trying to get closest to 21, but there’s a considerable difference. You get to see both of the dealer’s cards. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Wrong. What you give up to see the dealer’s cards simply isn’t worth what you gain. You only get paid even money on blackjack, but the big drawback is that you lose ties. There are situations, however, where the game can be played without giving the house an unreasonable advantage. But because it is rather extensive, it should be avoided until you feel comfortable with the basic strategy and can move on.

Hitting and Standing in Blackjack

The most important decisions a player has to make is whether to hit or stand on particular hard and soft hands in Blackjack at casinos.Fortunately, the choices are rather straightforward. For hard hands, if the player’s cards total 12 or higher, there are three simple rules:

– If the dealer shows a Seven or higher, hit if the player hand totals 12 to 16.

– Stand on any hand totalling 17 or above.
– Stand if the player cards total 12 to 16 and the dealer shows a Two to Six.

On soft hands, hit and stand as follows:

– If the dealer shows an Eight or less, players stand on soft 18 and more. Players always stand on soft 19 and above.

– Players always draw to soft 17 or less. Players only draw on soft 18 if the dealer shows an Eight Nine or Ten.

Blackjack – the White Flag

Another option that is offered in some casinos is surrender. This only occurs when the dealer has an Ace or a Ten-value card up. If you do not like your first two cards, and believe you cannot beat the dealer, you may announce “surrender”. It is the only play you make verbally at the blackjack table, and it can work to your advantage.

There are two types of surrender – early or late. In “late surrender”, you announce your intention, but the dealer marks your bet, either with a plastic chip or he places your chips on top of your cards. If the dealer has blackjack, he takes your entire bet. If he does not have blackjack, you get half your bet back.

If you decide to surrender, and the dealer immediately takes half your bet, you have found a casino that offers “early surrender”. This is the best type of surrender because you get half your bet back whether or not the dealer has blackjack.

Blackjack – Doubling Down

One of the attractions of blackjack is the ability to increase your bets in mid-hand if you feel you have a good opportunity to win. This is the main reason that blackjack can be played nearly even. When you have the chance to make these bets, you should take advantage of them.

One of the circumstances in which you may increase your bet is called doubling down. This means the casino will allow you to make a second bet equal in size to your first bet. In return for this right. you agree to accept only one more card for your hand. You can double down only after looking at your first two cards. You cannot take a hit and double down. Some casinos allow vou to double down for less than the amount of your original bet. This should be avoided because if the situation is worth doubling down, it is worth betting as much as you can, which is the amount of your original bet.

To tell the dealer you want to double down, you slide a second bet next to your original bet in the betting circle. Do not place the additional bet on top of the original wager because the dealer may think you are trying to cheat by increasing your bet illegally.

No hand signal is necessary. The dealer will see your double-down bet and give you one card, generally placed horizontally across the first two cards. In the hand-held game, the dealer will place the card under your chips in the betting circle. You may pick up the card to see what you’ve been given, but you’ll get more respect if you wait until the dealer settles all bets to expose your hand.

If you win your bet, you’ll be paid even money for the two bets, and receive double your original wager. If you lose, of course, both bets are taken away. In the event of a tie, you keep both stakes, but are not paid.

Casino Games you can’t win but might like to try

Some games have a hefty house advantage and the results will almost always end up favouring the casino – no surprise there! But by intelligent, disciplined use of betting strategies and your funds, you at least have the chance to win.

Craps is not very popular in the UK. Some casinos offer it, and it’s likely to increase in popularity if the Americanization of British casinos comes about. But, before writing it off, consider this: Statistically, the second-best bet in the casino is found on the craps table. The bettor is only backing a 1.4 per cent disadvantage when playing the pass or don’t pass lines. And when you add the “odds” bet, the casino advantage can be cut to less than 0.2 per cent. To get such advantages, however, you must risk plenty of money. If your funds can’t survive a loss when your big bet is on the table, craps can be a dangerous game.

The casino’s most glamorous game, the bank bet on the baccarat table is the casino’s most advantageous bet. With a house advantage of only 1.17 per cent, baccarat offers one of the best chances to win.

But because baccarat is surrounded by ritual, and frequently hosts big gamblers to the exclusion of average players, many people looking for the best bets often look elsewhere.

The complicated rules have no bearing on the way you play the game. The game is deceptively simple, and once you get used to the pampering you get in the baccarat pit, you may never return to the “masses” of blackjack or craps players.


One of the world’s most popular games, the American version of roulette is one of the worst bets in the casino. In a double “00” roulette game – the American version – you face a rather formidable 5.26 per cent. In Atlantic City, a special rule reduces the odds on even-money bets to 2.7 per cent. French, or European roulette – the single “0” wheel has that same 2.7 per cent house advantage for all bets. Roulette is an enjoyable game, but there are few opportunities to use either strategy or money management to combat those casino disadvantages.

Casinos – Knowing the Score

Let’s get something straight right from the beginning. The more money the casinos can extract from the pockets of their Players, the more money they are going to make. It’s that simple.

So the basic principle is that the more money you can keep in your pocket, or return to your pocket after playing, the more money you are going to take home.

Casinos have come up with an innovation for slot machines that seemingly makes it easier for them to get that money out of your pocket and into the machines. In America it’s called a "bill acceptor", and provides a way for you to preload the machines with cash, being a method of pumping up profits. They don’t have to hire cashiers as they handle fewer coins, and they get greater play time because you spend more time on the machine.

What casinos have ignored, or simply overlooked, is that bill acceptors – along with the, credit meters on modern machines – offer an important and previously missing element: a way to keep score.

Table game players are able to track their funds, because they have their chips in front of them at all times. They know how much they cashed in and can determine how much they have at any time, so they can determine their wins or losses.
Until recently, slot machine players haven’t been able to keep score, unless you kept track by the number of the discarded coin wrappers at your feet.
Bill acceptors can make all the difference. Decide ahead of time on your budget, whether it’s What you have allocated for the entire session, or what you’ve allowed for a particular machine. Pre-load the machine with the whole amount. Since you don’t have to use coins, there’s no reason to start with part of what you’re willing to risk then dig for more if your initial outlay is lost. The newest machines even give you a read-out of,the exact amount of your stake. In the older games, the only maths you’ll have to do to keep track is to convert the number of coins to sterling (or your local currency).
Pre-loading the machine with your total budget and keeping score on the credit meter affords you several advantages. If your strategy is to quit when you’re ahead, your built-in scorekeeper lets you know when that moment has arrived.

If your strategy is to earn a profit, then try to hit the big jackpot; but not dip back into your original stake, you can monitor your progress by watching the meter.

If you have a loss limit, pre-loading these amounts into the machines helps reinforce the discipline you need to stay the course.

Casinos- That Winning Attitude

People have varying reasons for gambling. For most, it’s the excitement of the game, the escape from day-to-day reality, and the thrill of a potential cash windfall. It’s called “casino entertainment” these days because many people are willing to accept a reasonable loss in exchange for a few hours of action at the machines or the tables.

The loss is the price for that excitement, not unlike the price you’d pay for a ticket at a sporting event. The thing that makes casino entertainment different is that you always have the chance to get that excitement, and still come out a winner. It’s a version of the “something-for-nothing” factor, which everyone dreams about.

Since luck is involved in almost every gambling decision, it’s important to go into the games with the right attitude. While some people are willing to accept a reasonable loss for a reasonable amount of gambling time, it would be a mistake to begin your playing session by writing off your funds.

Positive thinking works wonders in real life, so there’s no reason it can’t be successfully utilized in the casino. Other people travel to a casino with one goal: to win. Entertainment doesn’t enter into their thought process; their only satisfaction will come from beating the house. More often than not, these types of players go home disappointed, and often bitter, about their casino experience. While many people with this attitude have prepared for their casino challenge by studying and practising, reality very rarely mirrors the ideal conditions they anticipated during their practice sessions. Gambling near a person of this sort can sometimes be unpleasant, as they often take a hostile attitude towards casino personnel and other players.

This is not to say you shouldn’t play to win. It’s simply that the expectation to win every time is not realistic, given the hefty casino advantage in almost every game.