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Jul

12

2012

Easy Betting with EZ Baccarat

For games with a low house edge, baccarat is about as easy as it gets. You choose whether to bet on the banker hand or the player hand. Whichever one comes closer to a total of 9 wins. The house edge of 1.06 percent on banker and 1.24 percent on player make it as close to an even deal as you’re going to get in a game that requires no strategy by the players.

Can it get easier? It turns out it can, with a variation called EZ Baccarat that’s starting to carve out a niche in casinos. The EZ part has to do with the bet on banker. In traditional baccarat, bettors must pay a 5 percent commission on winning banker wagers. If you bet $10 on banker and win, 50 cents of your $10 in winnings go to the house. Banker wins more often than it loses, and the commission is the casino’s way of getting a 1.06 percent edge.

In EZ baccarat, there is no need to pay a commission. Instead, the house gets an edge with one minor change in the rules. When banker wins with a three-card total of 7, banker bettors don’t get paid. The bet pushes.

That’s enough to give the house a 1.02 percent edge, according to ezbaccarat.com. It’s equivalent to giving the casino a 49.14-cent commission on a winning $10 bet instead of the usual 50 cents. That’s a close match, and the casino gets more hands per hour since it doesn’t have to take the time to collect commissions.

There’s an optional side bet that pays 40-1 if  banker beats the player hand with a three-card total of 7. The house edge is 7.61 percent.

I give EZ Baccarat a thumbs up, but be wary of the side bet.

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