Learn to master Baccarat, Craps and Roulette

Baccarat is one of the oldest and most well-known games played in casinos globally. Some of you may remember Baccarat as James Bond’s preferred casino game. It was featured in the Ian Fleming’s 1953 novel debut of Casino Royale, and later in various Bond movies like Dr. No and Golden Eye. Baccarat’s association with James Bond has made the game sexy and attractive to a lot of people. However, do not be fooled by its sexy appeal or James Bond’s high-IQ character. Baccarat is very much a game of chance with no skill or strategy involved.

How to Play Baccarat

As a player, you have the option to wager on three choices: the Banker’s hand, the Player’s hand or the Tie. Think of the Banker and the Player simply as names for the two hands dealt out in each game; these are two outcomes on which you can wager. The “Player” hand has no particular association with the player, and the “Banker” hand is not necessarily associated with the casino or house.

In many ways, Baccarat is similar to Blackjack. In Baccarat, the winning hand has a value closer to 9, whereas in Blackjack you are trying to get close to but not over 21. Just as in Blackjack, in Baccarat, each card has a specific value. The cards 2 to 9 are worth face value. 10s, Jacks, Queens and Kings have a value of 0. An ace is worth 1 point.

Let us say, the Player hand has two cards, “3” and “4.” The value of the hand is the sum of the two cards, i.e. 3 + 4 = 7. Let us take another example, where the two cards are “7” and “8”. The sum of the card values is 7 + 8 = 15. Since 15 is a 2-digit number, you have to drop the left-most digit. The value of this hand in Baccarat is 5. Once you have placed your bets on one of the options, Player, Banker or Tie, the dealer delivers two cards each for the Player and Banker hands. Depending on the value of the Player hand, a third card may be given to the Player per the rules below. As a Baccarat player, you do not need to know all the rules. The dealers will direct the next steps based on the rules of the game. If you want to know when a third card is drawn for Player or Banker bet, see here.

Baccarat Strategy to Improve Your Odds of Winning

In Baccarat, you cannot influence the cards with strategy. It is a game of chance, and that is why it is very popular among high rollers. You cannot predict the hand, so feel free to go with your instinct, and appreciate the game. The casinos often provide scorecards to track wins each round (Banker, Player or Tie). Based on the patterns you see, and your intuition, you can place your bets to go with or against the trends. Some experts argue that the score-carding strategy is useless, since the outcome of every game is unrelated to the previous games.

One thing that experts agree is to bet on the Banker when in doubt. Betting on the Banker is usually the safest bet considering the house odds and a slight numbers advantage that works in the Banker’s favor.

Craps

Craps will seem complicated to a beginner at first. The table has a ton of different betting options; the pace is fast, and terms used in the game will seem alien. There is good news, though. Craps offers great odds of winning if you stick to a few fundamental plays.

How to Play Craps

Players wager on the outcome of the roll of a pair of dice thrown on the Craps table. One of the players rolls the dice and is called the shooter. Multiple players line up around the table and make their bets on the outcome of the shooter’s dice rolls. The first roll is called the “come-out.” You can bet on the “come-out” by placing your chips on the “PASS” or “DON’T PASS” bar. A winning “come-out” roll equals a total of 7 or 11. If you betted on the PASS line, and the outcome is 7 or 11, you win. If the shooter gets a 2, 3 or 12, this is “craps,” and the PASS line bettors lose. If you are betting on the DON’T PASS line, you will win if the shooter throws a 2 or a 3, while 7 or 11 means you lose since the PASS line bettors just won. If the shooter rolls 12, neither the PASS nor the DON’T PASS line bettors win.

So, what are the outcomes remaining? 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 or 10. If the shooter rolls any of these, that number becomes the “point,” and the dealer marks this number on the table with a puck. On the shooter’s next roll, if he or she rolls the “point,” that’s a “pass,” and the PASS line bets win. The DON’T PASS bets lose, and the game is over. If the shooter rolls a 7 before rolling the “point,” DON’T PASS bets win. DON’T PASS bettors are allowed to remove their bets at any time. All wins pay even money. The “Odds” is a side bet in Craps you can make after a point is thrown. It pays if the “point” is thrown before 7. Depending on the bet, and the rules at a casino, Craps offers 3, 4 and 5 times the odds offered. Four and 10 mean a 3X flat bet. Five and 9 mean a 4X flat bet. A 6 and 8 offers a 5X flat bet.

Craps Strategy to Improve Your Odds of Winning

If Craps rules seem complicated, start one step at a time. The PASS bet is the most fundamental that almost all players make, and it is easy to understand. Start with a PASS or DON’T PASS bet, and with more experience, engage in more bets. The optimal strategy in Craps is to bet on the DON’T PASS line and back it up by laying the odds. This is contrary to how most players bet in Craps, but it gives you the most edge in the long run. If you want to go with the crowd, even with a PASS strategy, you have a great chance of winning.

About the roulette wheelRoulette

Roulette is another game that is very easy to play in a casino. It is easy to understand, and a lot of people love the slow pace of roulette compared to other games.

How to Play Roulette

In the game of roulette, you are betting on whether a steel ball spinning over a wheel will land on a certain number or a certain colour (i.e. red or black, odd or even numbers or a group of numbers). The American roulette wheel has 38 number slots consisting of numbers 1 through 36 along with numbers 0 and 00. The European roulette wheel has only one 0 slot. As a player, you can choose to bet on a particular number or several individual numbers. You can also bet if the ball will land on a black- or a red-coloured number slot, or an odd or even number. You can also choose number groupings, for example, 1 to 18 and 19 to 36, and so on. There is a place on the table to bet for each of these situations, and you can place multiple bets during each play. The dealer spins the ball in the direction opposite to that of the turning wheel. The play is only valid when the ball completes three revolutions around the spinning wheel. Players can place bets until the dealer announces “no more bets.”

Once the ball comes to a stop on one of the slots, the dealer makes payments to the winners. If you betted on a red number, and the ball landed on a red slot, you win the amount you betted, 1 to 1. If the ball lands on a particular number you betted on, you win 35 to 1. That is a staggering amount and makes roulette an attractive game to play. Some people strategize to keep betting on the same number to win the big payoff. The payout for each situation is described in more details here.

Give Yourself a Fair Shot at Winning

With some learning, you should be on your way to having a great time with table games the next time you visit a casino. Don’t hesitate to learn from a dealer, and feel free to watch others play before you decide to dive in. A big part of your winning will depend on your luck — what cards you get dealt in Blackjack; whether you bet on the Player or the Banker in Baccarat; if you choose to PASS or DON’T PASS in Craps, or if you choose red or black in a Roulette game. Basic strategy and a bit of practice will position you for success. Now that you know what games offer you the best odds, you will ensure you are trying your luck with the right games.

The house edge is defined as the ratio of the average loss a player makes to the initial bet amount. For example, if you play Blackjack with basic strategy, over the long run, the house edge is 0.5%. This means for every $10 you bet, you will lose 5 cents over the long run. With Baccarat or Craps, you will lose less than 10 cents for every $10 you bet. With roulette, depending on the game design, you could lose 27 to 53 cents for every $10 you bet.

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