Betting Ties in Baccarat

Baccarat offers players two of the best percentage bets among casino games, with house edges of 1.06 percent on banker and 1.24 percent on player. It also offers one of the worst bets in the house. If you chase the 8-1 payoff and bet on ties, you spot the casino a whopping 14.4 percent. The house keeps $1.06 per $100 wagered on banker and $1.24 on player. Then the house take soars to just over $14.35 on ties.

Baccarat players are far better off sticking to the banker vs. player guessing game than taking even the occasional flyer on tie bets.

But a reader wrote to me not long ago to say that he’d come across a 9-1 payoff on ties. I haven’t seen such a thing in many years, but it is the kind of thing a casino could do if it wanted to generate extra action on the tie bet.

In an eight-deck game—standard for baccarat—a 9-1 payoff reduces the house edge on ties to 4.8 percent. That’s much better than 14.4 percent, but it’s still not my idea of a good bet.

Banker hands win more often than they lose, and win about 45.9 percent of all hands, so the house makes money by charging a 5 percent commission on winning bets. There’s no need to charge a commission on player bets, which win about 44.6 percent of all hands. If you’re betting banker or player, ties are a push.

That leaves about 9.5 percent of baccarat hands ending in ties. For ties to be a break-even wager, the payoff would have to be 9.526. At an 8-1 payoff, it’s a bet to avoid. At 9-1, it’s between you and your bankroll, but I’d still leave it alone.

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