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Four Baccarat Myths Debunked

By MikeE on Tuesday, 16th February 2010 9:34am
  » filed under Jackpots  comments: 3


I've read countless books on blackjack, its strategy, and proper etiquette. They were all indispensable sources with enough info to make me look and play like a pro (even if I quickly realized that playing "pro" wasn't any fun}. I read plenty online about pai gow poker and the potential of banking advantageously for profit. Hell, I even read an encyclopedia's worth on pai gow tiles only to realize that the tension and speed of game play was simply too much for anyone who hasn't played short of a lifetime. That came as no surprise as the sources I read had warned me of this. In the end, all my research on these games was true and accurate when it came time for the cash to hit the felt.

Baccarat was a different story. I read highly romanticized tales of tuxedos, fur coats, and martinis, but the more I played, the more I realize how inexperienced the vast majority of writers were. What they say might be true for Monaco and London, but just as they inappropriately pass off superstitions as "mindless," so they're just as quick in helping further misinform the masses on baccarat. Let's set the record straight on Vegas and Macau.

Myth No. 1: High limit/baccarat salons are intimidating places.

The truth: No they're not. If you're really looking to play, you'll probably get the warmest reception you've ever experience. Here's a tip: if you're only perusing the minimums, walk around with wallet in hand. You'll get pit bosses all over you no matter what you look like, which brings me to...

Myth No. 2: Baccarat players are always dressed to the nines.

The truth: Far from it. They might love their brands, but it's usually a polo or dress shirt with khakis by some ubiquitous designer label that wouldn't pass for more than Gap to the untrained eye. Hell, Encore's got robes and slippers hanging in the private salons of its Sky Casino. What does that tell you?

Myth No. 3: Martini's are the drink of choice. If not, scotch.

The truth: Tea is the drink of choice. At a distant second is red wine. This isn't to say you shouldn't be having whatever you're craving at the moment, but don't feel obligated to order anything "shaken, not stirred." It is, however, fun to push the boundaries of just how top shelf you can get comped while playing.

Myth No. 4: The big table is the only game worth playing.

This is perhaps the most common, most inaccurate myth, and the one everyone is most adamant about shoving down your throat. You might read that a $100 big table is a better game to play than a $25 mini table because of mini's speed, but you'll also find the big tables harder and harder to locate. As a result, mini and midi tables (blackjack-sized tables, one dealer, touching and tearing cards permitted) are often packed with serious players. It's not uncommon for a shoe to last two hours on a packed mini table. That's only about 37 hands per hour on average and you've still got the option of sitting hands out. On the contrary, playing a big table alone just plain sucks. With three croupiers watching, the pressure to bet every hand is overwhelming. A packed big table is an incredibly fun and slow game, but is a rarity short of holiday weekends and baccarat tournaments. Translation: hundred dollar minimums are damn near impossible to find.

So which is the best game to play? The answer is the one with the most people playing at minimums you're comfortable with. Bonus if it's a game that lets you touch and tear the cards.

Despite debunking these myths, is baccarat still the most regal and prestigious of all games in the casino? Absolutely. But you don't need to look like a million or bankroll just as much to play it.



Comments & Discussion:

The full size tables are definitely getting hard to find. I prefer them because the chairs are much more comfortable.

Nice! While I like to stick to VP myself, I always appreciate a good debunking.

Mini and midi is no fun when you are alone at the table either. Like pulling teeth to get a burn hand. Although my last trip out sat with one of the weirdest tables I've ever experienced at the Monte Carlo. Group was slow, not eager to bet (at all) and rather unpleasant. Very weird vibe from that group.

Definitely good points though on debunking the myths.

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