This is not a definitive or comprehensive rundown of baccarat, just a quick overview of baccarat these days in the USA at Brick & Mortar Casinos.
Bac Basics: All standing and drawing rules of card presentment are the same, no matter which style it is, brand or table limits set.
Mini Table: A blackjack style table, lower to the ground such as a poker table. They were always on the main floor casino, outside of any high-limit, VIP room. The dealer deals the cards and flips the cards at Mini-Bac. The table limits are lower than the other forms of bac. Back betting in normally allowed.
Midi Table (AKA: Macau Style): A blackjack style table once again, lower to the ground than traditional blackjack tables. Most of the Midi/Macau style tables are a bit larger than the Mini-Bac tables, usually seating 7 to 12 players instead of the normal 6 or 7 that most Mini-Bac tables do. I do believe the table was imported from Asia, thus the nickname so many call it, Macau style. The players do handle the cards at most all Midi/Macau style tables, but the dealer does deal them face down to the highest wagering player or the person that highest wagering player designates.
Big Table (AKA: Original): The original big table that was in most all casinos prior to 2000 or so. 14 seated players, 7 on each side. There were 2 sides to make one table. There were always 2 seated banker dealers and one dealer standing up calling the cards as they were turned and tossed back in by the players. Players physically took the shoe, dealt the cards and kept the shoe until a Player side hand won. The players were able to wager on the Player or the Banker side, however most wagered Banker most of the time and the casino feared the runs where dealer racks of chips were continually emptied. IMO, this is the sole reason the casino industry sought change and widely accepted Midi/Macau style tables so rapidly and aggressively. A few big, original tables are still in active use in some of the larger casinos within their high limit rooms. Big tables usually have their original plain layouts that are Non-Branded. Player, Banker and Tie wagers with commission. In the few big table bac games I have played during the past several years, they also allow the players to choose between original big table bac with the 3 dealers or Midi/Macau style bac with the one dealer sitting and dealing the cars the same way as they would in the Midi/Macau style game.
What is Branded, What are Non-Branded Tables? Branded Bac tables are the brands such as EZ Bac, Bad Beat Bac, etc. There are several. It is a patented proprietary game and the casino pays a royalty for the right to have the game on their casino floor. Non-Branded tables are the regular baccarat with a few side bets, some still have commission but the majority do not these days.
Most Popular Brands & Styles in the USA:
EZ Bac Table: No commission. Panda 8 3-card player side wager 25:1 payout. Player side wagers also are paid 1:1. Fortune 7, 3-card Banker side wager 40:1 payout. Banker side wagers are pushes if the Fortune 7 happens. Some casinos do not have the Panda 8 side wager and only the Fortune 7 on their layouts. Regular tie wager paying 8:1 or 9 for 1. Not much else along the way with side bets at most casinos except for the Dragon Bonus wager. This Dragon Bonus is available on either side (Bankers or Players), same payout table as follows:
3 Card 9 over a 3 card 0, pays 30:1
3 Card win by 8, pays 10:1
Win by 7, pays 6:1
Win by 6, pays 4:1
Win by 5, pays 2:1
Win by 4, pays 1:1
Win by 1-2 or 3 points, lose the wager
Natural ties, push the wager
Tie, non-natural, lose the wager
Bad Beat Bac Table: No commission. A Midi/Macau style table. Usually 7 to 11 or 12 seated players. Players are dealt the cards, same as in Midi/Macau style. Back betting allowed in most casinos, but must be consented to by the seated player if there are not multiple and separated wagering placement circles on the layout for each seat.
The greatest amount of side bets in bac are at the Bad Beat Table and are as follows:
3-Card 9 over a 3-Card 8, pays 200:1
Natural 9 and a Natural 8, pays 50:1
Any 8 beats any 7, pays 25:1
Panda 8 Player, pays 25:1
Fortune 7 Banker, pays 40:1
Any 6/6 Tie, pays 40:1
Any 7/7 Tie, pays 40:1
Any 6/6 or 7/7 Tie, pays 20:1
Tie, pays 8:1 or 9 for 1
Bad Beat Wager. Any side winning according to the following: By 1, pays 1:1; Any 7 over any 6, pays 4:1; Any 8 over any 7, pays 6:1, Natural 9 and a Natural 8, pays 10:1, 3-Card 9 over a 3-Card 8, pays 40:1.
NOTE: In Bad Beat Bac it is possible to win 2 or 3 wagers at the same time. Say you had $500.00 on the Bankers side, $25.00 on the Fortune 7 and $25.00 on Bad Beat. And, if the Players side had 6 and the Bankers side had a 3-Card 7, you would win the Bad Beat wager and the Fortune 7 wager as well, winning $1,025.00. Say the Players side had a 3-Card 9 and the Bankers side had a 3-Card 8 and if you wagered on the Players side, the 3-Card 9/3-Card 9 wager and the Bad Beat wager, you would win all 3 wagers. If you wagered $20.00 on the 3-Card 8/9 any side wager, $500 on the Players side and $25.00 on the Beat Beat wager, you would have won a total of, $5,500.00.
Golden Frog Bac Table: No commission. 3-card 0 beats a 3-card 7, pays 200:1. 3-cards each side 9/1, pays 150:1. Natural 9 over a 2-card 7, pays 50:1. Any 8/6, pays 25:1. Panda 8 for the Players side, pays 25:1. Fortune 7 For the Bankers side, pays 40:1. All else at this style table would be the same as Mini bac style.
NOTE: In the past couple of years, pairs, triplets, quadruples and 6 of a kind has been incorporated into side bets at some casinos. These side bets are of varying payouts.
Private Corporation versus Indian Tribal Gaming: Most Indian casinos follow the same rules as the private corporations (Non-Indian casinos) do with their state casino rules and regulations. In some states such as California, there are noticeable different rules, such as in the house banking where as non-Indian casino are allowed to bank and non-Indian casinos (Card Rooms) are not allowed to bank and most employ a licensed Corporation Banker and also, allow each player the ability to bank or cover a portion of the other players wagers. Most of the games are the same for each casino type. Some Indian casino are noticeably larger and easier with their giveaways, tournaments, and comps and others are not as easy.
Racinos (Usually defunct or older & less popular horse and dog racing tracks) A high portion of them are Quasi-Governmental enterprises. Either state or county government owned and controlled, usually with a contracted management team or even turning the property over to a private casino operator/corporation and retaining a certain set percentage of the net profits, etc.
Table Limits: Mini Bac most tables: $10 Min to $300. $10 Min to $500. $10 Min to $1,000; $10/$20/$25 Min to $2,000. Midi/Macau most tables: $25 Min to $5,000 at many casinos. There are also plenty of $15/$20/$25 Min to $2,000/$3,000 tables. There are some $50 Min to $5,000/$10,000 max tables now as well. Big Table
High Limit & VIP Room Table Limits: Most of their table limits for Midi/Macau style table are: $100 Min to $10,000. There are many table limits lowered to $50 Min to $5,000 in the High Limit or VIP Rooms on off nights and non-prime time action days or nights. Other limits in larger casinos will be: $200 Min to $15,000; $300 Min to $20,000 or $300/$500 Min to $25,000. There are a couple of places offering $50,000 and $100,000 off-the-street limits, but they have varying Minimums from $200 to $1,000 a hand.
Off-the-Street: A player entering the casino with no history of play there, no credit line markers, etc. In other words, anyone desiring to play the set table limits.
Front Money Deposit: Where a player deposits his cash at the cage and an account is create for him for the exact amount of his cash deposit. The player will then sign marker slips at the table he plays at for whatever amount of chips he wants that will be debited against his deposit account. Front Money Deposit are widely used to establish greater table limits by a player desiring a higher limit than what is posted. As a general guideline, a player will receive an increase in the set table max limit for a 10 times greater deposit than what he desires.
Casino Markers (AKA: Credit Line): Evolved from years ago from being a true credit line to what it is today, a postdated check in so aspects of it. In many states, Las Vegas had developed this style of casino marker (AKA: Credit Line) into todays standard. Which is the casino you desire it at, will verify your checking account with your bank. Each casino has their own guidelines and protocols. But every one of them will personally call your bank and find out when your account was established and what your average balances are and everything else about your account. Generally they are looking for minimum standards and will then issue you a credit line marker for a portion of your account. The rules in most jurisdictions are, if you do not repay any loss to the casino upon leaving their property, you will have up to 30 days to repay it by the casino using a previously written check from you or your written authorizing and permission for them to draft the money from your account. If you fail to complete that transaction, it will be a criminal offense under their state law.
Rated Vs. Non-Rated: Rated means that a player had given his ID to the casino, they input it into their computer system and issued him a players card. It makes keeping track of his play easier and automated. A non-rated player will be known as NR or Refused ID. As long as he stays under the CTR and STA-SAR amounts he has nothing to worry about. He will not be issued any comps, free food, or anything else of the likes even if his play well deserves it, etc.
CTR: Cash Transaction Reporting. A law within the USA and casino have to abide by it without exception. If a player exceeds $10,000.00 in any 24 hour period, he has to produce ID and have a report filled out by the casino staff that will go to the Government, which you have to sign. If you refuse, then an STA/SAR will be sent, your cash returned and you will be refused to continue play. There is no way around this. Also, that $10,000.00 is totaled up by the amount of the cash the player handles. If the play bought in for $6,000.00 and cashed out $9,000.00, he would be $5,000.00 over the CTR rule. Once you are CTRd at a casino property, they generally will not ask you for another one for at least a year, sometimes longer.
STA/SAR: Suspicious Transaction Report/Suspicious Activity Report. Both came about after the CTR rules and regulations were written. The limits of a STA/SAR from being written also vary from casino to casino, but generally those are between $3,000.00 to $5,000.00 if the casino suspects anything or anything is pointed out to them by anyone concerning your buy-in amount. Also how you cash out. If you won say $15,000.00 and only cash out $9,000.00, they will mostly likely complete an STA/SAR on you before paying you. There are almost no ways around any of this any longer.
Comps: Comps are what is given to a player for his rated play according to a schedule of inputted figures. Comps can be a written slip of paper given to the player by a casino host or floor person. A comp can also be inputted into their computer and the player will then swipe his rating card wherever he is redeeming the comp on the casino property.
Points: Points are what is awarded to a players rating account for the player to receive whatever it is he is entitled to or earned by his play. Contrary to what so many believe, a players account does not receive points of a greater amount if he losses and a lesser amount if he wins. The points put onto a players account has nothing to do with win/loss. The only consideration a player will receive for money lost, is from a casino host if he is a regular player and a player of better than average table minimum wagers.
Promotion Chips: Are given to a rated player for his continuing loyalty and play to the casino. They are issued in varying amounts from casino to casino. They could be as low as $25.00 or so or as high as multiple thousands. There are two kinds of promotion chips. The first, is a chip that will be used one time and one time only, if it wins it is replaced with live chips for the player. If the wager loses with the promotion chips, the promo chips are taken away. Second, there are play until you lose promo chips. Those promo chips will remain for your play until he wager loses. Each time they win a wager, you are paid live chips and you keep the promo chips. The latter are far less popular today than they were a few years ago.
Tournaments: There are numerous varying styles of tournaments,, from free to paid buy-in tournaments. They have varying schedule of prize money and also vary from being paid in cash to promotion chips. You must be rated to receive an invite to a tournament.
Player Cards & Tier Levels: Each casino has 4 or 5 or 6 different levels of players rating cards. Each higher one has a greater amount of benefits and rewards within the casino property for the rated players.
Main Floor: The main table games area of a casino. A non-private room, not a High-Limit or Bac-Room.
VIP Rooms: A High-Limit room with bac and usually blackjack and a few other games. Table minimums are higher than the Main Floor tables as well as the table maximums.
Bac Rooms: A separate room for the casinos bac tables. Which many of them will include the lower table min and max tables as well.
California Card Rooms & California Indian Tribal Casinos: California has a lot of different rules than the rest of the USA. California Card Rooms cannot bank their own games, see above under, Private Corporation versus Indian Tribal Gaming. They also have some other rules for their other games, but bac is still under the same rules for presentments of the cards and the cards values, etc. California Indian casinos are allowed to bank their own games.
Shuffling: There are three ways to shuffle the cards. 1) Manuel way with a cut by a player and the proper amount of cards burned; 2) Remove from automatic shuffler, a player cuts the deck and burn the necessary amount; 3) A combination of the first two.
Auto Shuffler: A machine that is leased from a company outside the casino. The machine automatically shuffles the cards and holds 2 sets of cards. The one that is in play and the one that is waiting to be removed for the next shoe. Different casinos have different procedures for the set-up of the sets of cards that are removed and being placed into action. They do one of two things. 1) They remove the cards, hand the cut card to a player and move the front portion to the rear of the set of cards. They place the cut card back into the shoe around 14 hands or so from the end. Then they expose the first card and burn, face down, the total value number of the exposed card; 2) They basically follow the above but they will do a quick shuffle as well if one is requested. A quick-shuffle is the following. When the set of cards is removed from the machine, the dealer will split them up into about 4 sets of stacks and quickly shuffle them. A considerable shortened time shuffling then the original manual method. NOTE: There is an absolute and ludicrous believe among many forum authors that the automatic shufflers have the ability to set up the cards a chosen and nonrandom way the casino management designates. This claim is utterly impossible, physically impossible and it would also be against the laws of every single state gaming regulatory agency in the USA.
Side Bets: Most casino properties allow the players to wager on any side bet as long as they have a Banker or Player wager of the minimum amount placed. Most do not care is you are wagering for say a Dragon Bonus on the Players side and you are wagering Banker, or you are wagering the Players side and a Fortune 7 Banker side bet. But some do. Those that normally do, say that you also have to bet the other side. Meaning, if you wanted to wager Players side for $500.00 and the Fortune 7 for $25.00, you would also have to put the table minimum wager on the Banker side. Some casinos will allow the players only to wager the side wagers and not place a Banker or a Players side wager, as long as the table minimum is meet with that players side wagers totaled up.
Side Bets (Min?s and Max?s): Varies from casino to casino. Most side bets are maxed at the table limit for a win or a little bit below. However, there are some properties that allow even a greater amount on the side wagers that a win would far surpass the table max. For instance there is one casino in the Midwest that has a $5,000.00 table max on Banker and Player hands. Their side bets are maxed at $1,000.00.
Free Hands: Used to be, almost all casino would give free hands. Some had 5 or 10 hands allowed for Free-Hands. Others had unlimited amount of Free-Hands. During the past couple of years, numerous properties cut way down on this or not allowed their previous policies to continue. Property specific.
Same Bet Both Sides: Most casino will allow this, however different casinos have different rules. Some players do this just to stay in the game or be able to wager a side bet when they casino has a rule in order to wager side bets, you must have a wager in either the Banker or the Player side. Other players will wager a larger amount on one side and a small amount on the other side, equaling the minimum amount posted, if that is allowed.
Waiting X Amount of Hands Without Wagering: Most casinos will not say anything. Some will. Also depends on if you are a known and a rated player, rather than a new face, etc. Usually once seated with chips in front of you, the casino personnel will not say anything to you, unless you are not wagering a large portion of each and every shoe.
Dealers: The casino personnel that deal the cards at the table. They exchange the players cash for chips. They shuffle the cards or perform whatever protocol the casino has set for using the decks from the automatic shufflers. They color up whatever denominations of chips a player might have for larger and less amounts to leave the table with. That is it. Any other function is supposed to be addressed and attended to by the Floor Person overseeing the table.
Floor Person: The Floor Person is the casino personnel that oversees the table game. He might oversee one or more, depending on the casinos rules. He makes all the decisions overseeing the dealer and the running of the game. If anything comes about that is questionable, the Floor Person will contact either the Pit Boss, Security or other casino personnel.
Pit Boss: The Pit Boss runs the pit of tables on the casino floor. The Pit Boss is actively involved in most all activity during the live games. The Pit Boss is directly above the Floor Person and coordinates all dealer chip rack refills, immediate problems and the running of the game. He is constantly involved in the shuffling as well and oversees most all transactions for the higher limit tables and players.
Floor Supervisor/Table Games Supervisor: The Floor Supervisor or Table Game Supervisor is usually outside of the table game pits and roams the floor or is back office a good portion of the time. Before an Assistant Casino Manager or the Casino Manager is called, the Supervisor would be there and attempting to handle whatever problem occurred. As well, the Supervisor is responsible for the opening times and the closing times of the games, additional table openings and table limits.
Assistant Casino Manager: The casino personnel that would interact with the Floor Supervisor and the Pit Boss for their instant problems with any players or dealers.
Casino Manager: The Casino Manager is in charge of the entire casino on each shift. He seldom gets involved with the players unless there is a major problem of some type with a high-limit player.
Floor Host: A casino person that authorizes complimentary food, hotel rooms, gift shop items, etc., for the players based upon their play and rating. The players rating is derived from different formulas of the following: 1) Average Wager; 2) Time of actual play; 3) Amount of house advantage of the game(s) he played); and 4) Any consideration for larger amounts of money lost in an extremely short period of time.
Casino Host: A Casino Host is a continuation of the Floor Host with a considerable amount of additional capabilities that a Floor Host does not have. Larger amounts of comp, larger offers, travel expenses fronted or reimburses, additional points deposited into the players account, loss rebates, show tickets, etc.