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Never been to a casino before? Three reasons to head straight to the baccarat tables


27 Nov 2017

Most people have mates who are certainly not frequent gamblers, but will have the odd flutter from time to time.

They’ll do the lottery, bet on the Grand National every year and maybe place a small wager if going to a live sporting event.

However, few will have ever walked into a casino for a night out. Their exposure to casino games is likely to be through a free App on their phone that they open occasionally to pass some time.

Take them into a casino for the first time and expect them to head to either the blackjack tables or roulette wheels first.

Yet, with blackjack, they will play the game as if the main aim is to get as close to 21 as possible, rather than beat the dealer. Standing on 12 at any time is certainly something that won’t happen.

Meanwhile, with roulette, they will be oblivious to the fact they are playing a game where the casino’s house edge is especially high. If playing on an American roulette wheel with both a 0 and a 00, this is 5.26%.

Hardly any such friends will head to play baccarat, with many unlikely to have even heard of the game and the majority of those that have, sure to have no idea of the rules.

This is despite baccarat arguably being the best game for such an unknowledgeable casino visitor to play. Here are three reasons why:


Although there are some more complicated bets that can be placed, there are only two main bets that most players make – betting on the Banker or betting on the Player.

Despite these names, all players can bet on either side, while there is also the option of a tie.

Baccarat is a game completely based on luck. A player keeping it simple picks from these three options, puts down their chips and that is their job done until the dealer pays them out as a winner or clears their chips as a loser.

House edge

For anyone planning to have a single casino bet, their best hope of wagering on a winner is through the Banker bet in baccarat, which carries a house edge of just 1.06%. This is compared to an edge of 1.24% on Player bets.

So if staking £100 on Banker bets in an hour, you should expect to lose £1.06. Playing roulette for an hour and placing £100 on bets on black, you would expect to lose £5.26 because of the greater house edge.

On many slot machines, the house edge is even worse and can be as much as 12%.

With all hands considered, Banker bets in baccarat win 45.86% of the time, but because ties push, this increases to 50.68% when there is a decision. This makes it a rare casino bet in the sense that it wins more than it loses.

However, because of this, casinos get an edge by charging 5% commission on winning Banker bets.


If flipping a coin, the probability of it landing on a head is 50% and the same for a tail. Flip a head the first time and the probabilities do not change for the second.

Flip a coin for a long enough period and it isn’t unreasonable to expect sequences of five consecutive heads or seven tails in succession at some point.

Although not quite a 50/50 split, the Banker bet against the Player bet is a similar scenario. And once a little streak begins on one or the other, it isn’t uncommon for numerous players to want to get on board.

With baccarat being a popular game among high rollers betting large amounts, it doesn’t take long for a player to quickly increase their bankroll. Multiple players enjoying the same wins can cause carnage.

In fact, earlier this year at the Wynn Palace in Macau, a £3.17 billion resort that opened in August last year, the streaky nature of baccarat was shown in full force.

Over £7 million in winnings was secured, with casino magnate Steve Wynn stating on a conference call at the time: “We had probably the most unique statistical anomaly in my 50 years of doing this.

“And that is with enormous volume, one of our leading outlets lost money for the entire month. The bottom fell out and all of the players won millions.”

The likelihood of 10 winning Banker or Player hands in a row is one in 512, meaning that it is easily a scenario that could occur once every session.