There are not many games out there with only two betting options, but there is only one such
game which has a tax on the smartest bet. The game of baccarat stands right on the seam
between player favor and the infamous house edge. In other words, the game of baccarat is so
painstakingly close to giving the player the upper hand, the only way the casino could make a
profit was to introduce a small five cent tax on every dollar bet.
Take a look at the betting scales for any other gambling game. Most bets pay 2 for 1, 7 for 1, 3
for 2, or another such bet with logical whole numbers. A bet on the dealer’s hand in baccarat,
however, has the suspicious little tax tagged onto it.
Why the tax on baccarat? Unlike a coin flip, unlike black vs. red or odd vs. even in roulette,
unlike every other bet like it, one choice is actually more probable than the other. The banker’s
hand is actually more likely to win, and this means casinos were forced to either place a tax on
betting banker, or take the game out of casinos entirely.
The reason for the banker having the upper hand, pun intended, lies within the details of baccarat
play. The rules on when the player and banker must draw more cards are highly complicated and
difficult to memorize, but thankfully they are totally unnecessary for casual players to know.
Here is the gist: The player and the banker each draw two cards and add them up, paying
attention to just the last digit of the result. If someone ends up with an 8 or a 9, they are the
winner. Otherwise, they start drawing more cards. If one has a 5 or less, they draw automatically.
If the player draws, the banker has the opportunity to either draw or not draw based on what the
player draws. There is an entire layer to the game devoted to giving the banker the upper hand.
It is a good thing that the gambler is allowed to place bets on either the player’s or banker’s
hand, or else there would be no point to betting on this game. The game is leaned toward banker,
and even the five cent tax is worth the surer bet on banker.
The way to win at baccarat is to pick banker, and bet expecting to win sooner or later. The odds
are finally in the customer’s favor, so it is time to escalate, placing higher and higher bets to
make up losses until the inevitable victory comes. Then repeat.