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Betfair zero-margin baccarat


• How basic baccarat works
• Procedure of play
• Reduced commission for an almost hundred percent return
• Calculating the house edge
• Recommended casinos
• Game location
• Final word: bet on "banker" only!



Betfair baccarat



A part of the Betfair "Zero Lounge" suite, this is a unique baccarat game with an extremely low house edge on the "banker" bet. As with the roulette game, I do not know of any other online baccarat game with such generous rules.


How basic baccarat works


The cards are valued according to their pip value, except that all court cards, and the ten, are valued at zero:

• Ten/ace = 1
• Ten/7 = 7

No score can exceed nine, so any scores that do have ten subtracted:

•  9/9 = 8
•  8/5 = 3
•  6/8/7 = 1

Baccarat has three bet option, "player", "banker" or "tie". The actual play of the hands follows strict rules and no input from the customer is required.

From the table below, we see that although the "banker" bet pays only at 0.95 to 1, it's the bet with the lowest house edge:


Baccarat hands, house edge and frequencies



The 0.95 to one payout is achieved by deducting a five percent commission from all winning banker bets.

Since banker wins with slightly greater frequency than player...


Baccarat hands, house edge and frequencies


...the commission payment is required to ensure the house margin on banker bets.


Procedure of play


After bets have been placed, four cards are dealt, alternately, two to player and two to banker.

If either player or banker scores 8 or 9 (known as a "natural"), no further cards are drawn for either hand and that hand wins, unless the other hand has either eight or nine also.

If player has 6 or 7, that hand receives no more cards. If banker has a 6 or 7 it stands also. On all other totals, 0 through to 5, banker receives another card in an attempt to improve against the player 6 or 7.

If player has 0 through to 5, the hand must receive another card. Banker's response then depends on its initial two-card total and the value of the card player received. These rules are quite complex - see table below:


Baccarat banker drawing rules



Whichever total is higher after all cards have been drawn wins the hand.


Reduced commission for an almost hundred percent return


As mentioned above, the casino edge on the banker bet is created by exacting a 5% commission on winning banker bets; without this, the banker bet would have an advantage of 1.3% and the casino would lose money.

The Betfair game charges substantially reduced commission, ranging from 2.76% to 2.8%.

The highest margin is charged on the minimum bet, 」5 - in the graphic below, you can see that 」0.14 was deducted from the winning 」5 wager, or 2.8%:


Wagered 」5, commission 」0.14


On the 」50 wager, 」1.38 is deducted, or 2.76%:


Wagered 」50, commission 」1.38


Calculating the house edge


In the mathematical expectation of a bet article, we see that we need the following information to establish the return on any wager:

•  Payoff on a win
•  Probability of win
•  Size of loss
•  Probability of loss

These figures, respectively, are:

•  0.9724 to 0.972
•  0.50685
•  1
•  0.49315

From this we calculate the return on the banker bet thus:


(0.9724 × 0.50685) + (−1 × 0.49315)


This gives us a house edge of 0.029%.

Substituting the slightly higher commission of 2.8%, the same calculation gives us 0.049%.

As such, depending on your bet size, the house edge on the banker bet in the Betfair Zero Lounge baccarat game ranges between just 0.029% and 0.049%.

Recommended casinos


This game is only found at Betfair.

There were a couple of bonus confiscation issues at Betfair a while back, which I commented on in my Betfair bonus confiscation issue blog article. The matter was not resolved to my complete satisfaction. However, I have seen no evidence of any other problems in the intervening period, and I have received and cashed out Betfair bonuses myself without any problem. I am confident you can play here safely, but be aware that if you take a bonus and play it using an auto-click robot programme, this is against the Betfair rules and they may remove the bonus upon cashout.


Game location


From the homepage, click on "casino" then simply click on the bottom left of the four central game graphics, "play zero baccarat". To play in free mode, click on the "play for fun" graphic towards the bottom left corner of the screen.


Betfair lobby screen



Final word: bet on "banker" only!


The house edge on the "player" bet is the same as it is in any baccarat game: 1.23%. The change is on the banker bet. Don't make the mistake of wagering on player.

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