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Last Updated: October 5, 2010

Baccarat Gold

Introduction

Baccarat Gold is a baccarat variant found in some poker-based casinos in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas. I know that as of September, 2010, it was offered at the San Pablo Lytton Casino. The purpose of the game was to simplify baccarat's drawing rules and make the house edge on the Player and Banker as close as possible.

Rules

To avoid confussion, when referring to the Player or Banker bet, I will capitalize. When referring to those playing the game, I will use lower case. Baccarat Gold has the same rules as conventional baccarat, with the following three exceptions.

  1. As in Chemin de Fer, if the player bets on the Player, then he may choose to hit or stand on a total of 5.
  2. If the player draws a third card, the banker’s drawing rules are as follow:
    • Banker total of 0 to 3: Always draw.
    • Banker total of 4 to 5: Draw only if player’s third card is a 3 to 7.
    • Banker total of 6 to 7: Never draw.
  3. Tie bets pay 9 to 1.

Eight decks of cards are used.

Odds

The following three tables show the return of the Player, Banker, and Tie bets, if the player chooses to HIT on a Player hand of 5. They show a house edge of 1.147% on the Player, 1.144% on the Banker, and 4.908% on the Tie.

Player Return Table — Player Hits on 5

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Win 1 2,232,878,486,302,976 0.446719 0.446719
Lose -1 2,290,212,297,375,744 0.458189 -0.458189
Tie 0 475,307,491,824,640 0.095092 0.000000
Total 0 4,998,398,275,503,360 1.000000 -0.011470

Banker Return Table — Player Hits on 5

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Win 0.95 2,290,212,297,375,744 0.458189 0.435280
Lose -1 2,232,878,486,302,976 0.446719 -0.446719
Tie 475,307,491,824,640 0.095092 0.000000
Total 4,998,398,275,503,360 1.000000 -0.011439

Tie Return Table — Player Hits on 5

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Win 9 475,307,491,824,640 0.095092 0.855828
Lose -1 4,523,090,783,678,720 0.904908 -0.904908
Total 4,998,398,275,503,360 1.000000 -0.049080

The following three tables show the return of the Player, Banker, and Tie bets, if the player chooses to STAND on a Player hand of 5. They show a house edge of 1.386% on the Player, 0.918% on the Banker, and 7.555% on the Tie.

Player Return Table — Player Stands on 5

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Win 1 2,233,533,079,191,808 0.446850 0.446850
Lose -1 2,302,786,421,833,728 0.460705 -0.460705
Tie 0 462,078,774,477,824 0.092445 0.000000
Total 4,998,398,275,503,360 1.000000 -0.013855

Banker Return Table — Player Stands on 5

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Win 0.95 2,302,786,421,833,728 0.460705 0.437670
Lose -1 2,233,533,079,191,808 0.446850 -0.446850
Tie 0 462,078,774,477,824 0.092445 0.000000
Total 4,998,398,275,503,360 1.000000 -0.009180

Tie Return Table — Player Stands on 5

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Win 9 462,078,774,477,824 0.092445 0.832008
Lose -1 4,536,319,501,025,536 0.907555 -0.907555
Total 4,998,398,275,503,360 1.000000 -0.075546

Strategy

There is only one decision in the game: whether to hit or stand on the Player hand with a total of 5. The tables above show the house edge on the Player bet is 1.15% if the player hits in this situation and 1.39% if he stands. So, the player should hit a Player hand of 5.

Assuming the player does that, the house edge is almost the same on the Player and Banker bets. To be specific, the house edge is 0.003% less on the Banker bet. Another reason to bet on the Banker is that the player acting for the Player hand might incorrectly stand on a 5. If he did that, then the house edge on the Banker bet would drop from 1.14% to 0.92%.

Comparison to Regular Baccarat

The following table compares Baccarat Gold to conventional baccarat. It shows the expected value of each bet in both games. For Baccarat Gold, the expected values assume the player with the Player hand hits on 5. The "average" column is an average of the Player and Banker hands.

The bottom line is that for the player who likes to go back and forth between the Player and Banker bets, the average house edge is almost the same as conventional baccarat. However, the house edge on the Tie bet is significantly lower.

Baccarat Gold to Baccarat Comparison

Game Player Banker Average Tie
Baccarat -0.012351 -0.010579 -0.011465 -0.143596
Baccarat Gold -0.011470 -0.011439 -0.011455 -0.049080


Written by: Michael Shackleford

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