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Sep

06

2016

With the Lowest House Edge, is Baccarat all it’s Cracked up to be?

There’s more to choosing a game to play than the house edge alone.

For one thing, there’s the fun factor. No matter how well you play any game, there are going to be frequent losing sessions. You might as well choose a game you enjoy playing even in the tough times.

Even if what you want comes down to pure dollars and cents, speed is a factor right alongside the house edge.

Take mini-baccarat. The house edges are among the lowest in the casinos at 1.06 percent if you bet on banker and 1.24 percent if you bet on player.

However, it’s also one of the fastest-moving table games around, and that presents a problem, as expressed in a recent email from a reader.

“Baccarat is supposed to have such a low house edge, but when I get in a bad streak, it just kills me,” the reader wrote. “At a $10 table, betting the minimum, I buy in for $100, and I’m reaching for the second $100 before I know it. At blackjack, it seems my money goes farther. At least, that second $100 rarely has to come out as fast as it does in baccarat.”

As played at mini-baccarat tables, where only the dealer handles the cards, baccarat is a high-speed game. Only two hands are dealt – a player hand and a banker hand – and all decisions are automatic. The dealer completes the hands rapidly.

In blackjack, the dealer has to wait for players to make strategy decisions. Decisions on whether to hit, stand, double down or split pairs can slow down the game.

The result is that a full seven-player blackjack table moves at between 50 and 60 hands per hour. Even a full mini-baccarat table can move at more than 200 hands per hour.

Consequently, a $10 bettor at a full blackjack table makes total wagers of between $500 and $600 an hour, while those $10 wagers at baccarat climb in excess of $2,000 per hour.

Baccarat house edges are low, but the speed of the game can be hazardous to your bankroll.

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