Why baccarat is making a comeback in casinos

It’s no big secret that casino gaming has seen a surge in popularity over the past decade. Much of the responsibility for that lies at the door of the online platforms that have brought the casino to us, in our homes and on our phones. This in turn has led to something of a renaissance for land-based casinos, too. Those who might not otherwise have stepped through their doors are now giving the experience a try, having honed their skills at the virtual gaming tables.

All that is logical enough, but there is one trend in the games themselves that is harder to explain. Back in the 1950s and 60s, baccarat was one of the most popular casino games. By the turn of the millennium, it was practically unheard of, and the only card games people wanted to play in casinos were blackjack and poker. Now, however, the tide has turned once again. In Macau, the “Vegas of the East,” baccarat accounts for almost 90 percent of casino revenue. Its popularity on the Vegas strip is also on the rise and there are, of course, a variety of baccarat games to choose from on the internet sites. The reason for the renaissance comes down to the following factors.

It’s easy to learn

Everyone knows how to play blackjack. Well in essence, baccarat can be considered as blackjack lite. That’s not meant in a derogatory way, it’s simply a case of it being conceptually similar in terms of the basic rules, but with fewer decisions for the player to make. Cards score in the same way as they do in blackjack and the overall objective is to get as close to nine as possible. Only the last digit of the total counts, so for example an eight and a seven means a score of five.

But you don’t even need to understand the scoring system to play. Two hands are dealt, for what are nominally called the banker and player. Hit or stand is predetermined according to the cards dealt, so there is no decision to make. Literally all you have to do is back either the player or the banker to win the hand. You can also bet on a tie.

Choose your own strategy

Due to the underlying rules for which hand hits or stands and when, the banker has a marginally better chance of winning. The simplest strategy, therefore, is simply to back the banker all the way. However, where’s the fun in that?

Baccarat is a game that lends itself to progressions, and if you follow a strategy like Oscar’s Grind, you will be unlucky if you don’t at least make your bankroll last for a good length of time. There is lots of superstition attached to baccarat, too, and while it might not stand up to mathematical analysis, it makes for a fun game, and surely that’s what a night at the casino should be all about.

You stand a reasonable chance of winning

There’s no system that guarantees you’ll be a winner in any casino game. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is either deluded or trying to part you from your money. If a sure-fire way of beating the house existed, it would be common knowledge and Las Vegas would be a ghost town.

With that proviso duly noted, baccarat does, however, give you a better chance of hanging on to your money, and maybe even finishing the night better off than you started it, than many alternative games. Roulette can turn into a money pit if you don’t exercise self control, as can the slots, but if you grind it out at baccarat, a $20 stake will almost certainly keep you in the game for a couple of hours, and on a good night, it could easily turn into $30-40 over the same time period.

It’s not going to win you enough money to retire to Tierra del Fuego, but if that’s your plan, buy a Lotto ticket and hope for that billion in one chance. For a fun evening of gaming, whether it’s in cyberspace or at a real casino, baccarat is a great choice. Why not give it a try?

Image: Joachim Kirchner from Pixabay