How to Play 2 to 1 Baccarat

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As baccarat has increased in popularity worldwide, more and more casinos have tested out variations of the game to cater to growing demand. Such has been the case in Australia, where a version called “2 to 1 Baccarat” has recently been put into play at the Crown gaming properties in Pert and Melbourne. This game was designed to have special appeal for low rollers, featuring a smaller minimum wager than traditional baccarat.

Rules of the Game

Most of the rules of 2 to 1 Baccarat are similar to those of the standard game. One of the most important differences is has to do with the commission that is typically charged on successful Banker bets. Instead of retaining 5% of the winnings and paying 19 to 20, there is no commission. That means winners receive even money regardless of whether they back the layer or the Banker.

Another big change is the way winning three-card totals of 8 or 9 are treated. No matter whether the successful bet is made on the Banker or Player, winners receive payouts of 2-to-1 instead of even money. Note that this bonus does not apply to two-card total of 8 or 9, nor does it apply to ties. In fact, ties are where the House regains the edge lost in offering the above rule changes. Rather than being declared a push with bets returned to everyone who wagered, all ties result in a win for House and all bets are lost other than wagers made directly on “Tie” rather than Banker or Player.

Under these rules, the House edge on Player bets comes out to 3.62%, while the advantage to the House on Banker bets is 2.20%. The odds of catching a tie are between 6.08% (Banker bet) and 7.12% (Player bet), while the probability of winning is 37.5% on the Player and 39.8% on the Banker. That makes the likelihood of losing on any given hand between 54.1% and 55.4%.

Playing Strategy

Because of the way the rules of baccarat are structured, there really is no hand play strategy that can be used to improve the odds of winning on a given hand. The draw of the cards must adhere to the “Table of Play” published by the casino. For example, “after the initial four cards have been dealt, if the point count of the Player hand or the Banker hand is 8 or 9, no more cards will be dealt to either hand.” There can be no variation. Otherwise, the Player hand will stand or draw depending on the two-card total, as directed by the rules.

On the other hand, the elimination of the commission has a significant impact on the best way to play the game compared to standard baccarat from a wagering point of view. As the House edge figures indicate, betting on the Banker hand is a far better choice than betting on the Player hand. Although the chances of getting the 2 to 1 payout for a Tie are lower, the Banker is considerably less likely to lose overall.

However, another comparison is even more revealing. In regular baccarat, the House has a 1.06% margin on Banker bets, as opposed to 1.24% on Player bets. That means the worst selection in the standard game, Player, is still better than the best choice, Banker, when playing 2 to 1 Baccarat. The obvious conclusion is to avoid this derivative and stick the “real deal” whenever possible.

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