EZ a good option to traditional baccarat
john grochowski email@example.com June 6, 2012 4:12PM
Every Tuesday in June, anyone in the casino could be a winner in the Name of the Week promotion at Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City. Blue Chip will randomly select a first name and display it on the property. Guests with that name can visit the B Connected Club booth to take home Blue Chip merchandise. Visit bluechipcasino.com.
Updated: July 9, 2012 6:06AM
Baccarat always has been among the easiest casino games. It’s a guessing game. Does the banker hand or the player hand come closer to a total of 9?
You can bet either side, and you have no decisions to make after you place your wager. After the banker and player hand each receive two cards, the totals determine whether a third card is dealt on either hand. It’s all according to rule, with no options.
So when a game called EZ baccarat appears at casinos including Majestic Star in Gary, it makes one wonder just how much easier can it get?
Turns out 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 on one of the best bets in the house.
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, and bettors just keep their wagers. That’s enough to give the house a 1.02 percent edge, according to the ezbaccarat.com website. It’s equivalent to giving the casino a 49.14-cent commission on a winning $10 bet instead of the usual 50 cent. That’s a close match, and the casino gets more hands per hour in bargain since it doesn’t have to take the time to collect commissions. There is no change to the player bet, where the house edge remains 1.24 percent.
There’s an optional side bet, called an “insurance” bet on the EZ Baccarat site, but often called a “Dragon” bet in casinos. It allows you to collect on those hands that have been turned from winners into pushes under the no-commission rules. If you make the side bet and the banker hand beats player with a three-card total of 7, you collect a 40-1 payoff.
A banker’s winning three-card 7 shows up on 2.25 percent of hands, and the EZ Baccarat site shows a house edge of 7.61 percent.
With a slightly lower house edge than regular baccarat, the EZ game is a good option to have. Just stick to the base game and skip the Dragon.
John Grochowski is a local freelance writer. Look for him on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44); Twitter (@GrochowskiJ) and at casinoanswerman.com.