Monday, July 07, 2008

Baccarat isn't just a game for secret agents

(From Destination Cache Creek Magazine)

Baccarat is a game of mystery to a lot of gamblers despite the fact that it can be found in many American casinos. “There’s a mystique or an aura about it,” says Bill Harland, VP of Table Games for Cache Creek Casino Resort in Brooks, CA. Known by many as a game played by tuxedoed players on the French Riviera in James Bond movies, in reality it’s an easy game to learn. “It’s a popular game because the decisions are already made for the player, making it simple to play. You just sit down, place your bet, get a feel for the table, and play your instincts.”

The table
Each player has three betting areas associated with his/her position at the table. They are: "Banker", "Player" or "Tie.” An electronic board keeps track of which hands win on our Mini-Baccarat tables, similar to a Roulette board, so players can see trends and determine their bets. Some gamblers choose to track the results of each hand by writing them on a pad.

Cache Creek has 14 Mini-Baccarat and two full-sized Baccarat tables. “One difference between Mini-Bac and Baccarat is that in Baccarat you allow the players to handle the cards,” says Harland. “In Mini-Bac the dealer handles the cards. Handling of the cards by players is also sometimes referred to as “sweating the cards.”

There are seven positions each with two betting spots on a Mini-Baccarat table for a total of 14 possible players. The larger tables accommodate 12 players. “The game is popular, especially among Asians, because it’s a community game,” says Harland. “The game is played in groups, adding a social aspect, since the tables can accommodate such a large number of players. It spurs a social interaction along with the gambling.”

The object is to bet either the Player or Banker hoping that the cards accumulate a point total closest to 9 on two or three cards. Aces count as 1, cards 2 through 9 count at face value, 10s and face cards count as 0. If you're dealt a 9 and a 7, for example, the combined total is counted as 6 rather than 16. If you receive a 3 and an 8, the total is not 11, but is instead counted as 1.

It’s not possible to have a combination of cards with a combined total greater than 9. The perfect hand is one that equals 9 exactly in the first two cards. 8 is the second-best hand and, along with the 9, these two hands make up the two "natural" hands.

Betting and Payouts
Payouts are very straightforward. If you bet on a winning hand, you'll be paid at 1 to 1. If that winner is the Banker hand, a five percent commission is deducted. If the winning hand belongs to the Player, no commission is paid. If you bet on a tie, the payoff is a whopping 8 to 1. Commissions are paid after each hand on Mini-Baccarat tables, and on the large Baccarat tables commissions are tracked and settled at the end of the shoe.

You don’t have to visit the High Limit room to play, either. Cache Creek’s table limits range from $10 (Mini-Bac) to $50 minimum (Big-Bac), and have up to $1,000 and $5,000 table maximums depending on when you play.

If you’re looking for a fun and exciting table game that promotes group interaction and is simple to play, Baccarat is definitely a game you’ll want to check out next time you visit Cache Creek.