Baccarat has a very low house edge meaning that it’s one of the best bets in the casino for the savvy player. The most fundamental bets have a minuscule edge for the casino–a house edge of 1.06% for banker bets and 1.24% for the player.
Not every player enjoys this kind of game. The even money payouts produce a game flow similar to blackjack where there’s a lot of ‘back and forth’ trading of money. Some players enjoy a higher risk wager in exchange for the potential of a higher payout. Obviously, the casino loves ‘higher risk wagers’ and thus encourage any bet type that produces one. This is how the side bet came about in both blackjack and baccarat. In our previous installments we’ve talked about the most fundamental baccarat side bet–the tie bet as well as the very popular side bet called the ‘Dragon Bonus’. In this post, we’ll look at a relatively new bet that has been increasing in popularity over the past year or so. I’ve seen variations at casinos in Nevada and Florida and this makes it all but inevitable that it will soon appear at online casinos as well.
THREE CARD WIN
The majority of side bets in baccarat are just extensions of the two fundamental wagers: banker or player. That’s the case with the Three Card Win bet–a player can bet on the ‘banker’ or the ‘player’. If either side wins with a three card hand the Three Card Win side bet is a winner. The 3 card win for the player pays 4 to 1. The 3 card win for the banker pays 5 to 1.
There are some variations on this wager. A bet called the ‘Bellagio Match’ was found originally on a video dealer game at the casino of the same name. The payout of this bet was 75 to 1 for a player three of a kind and 68 to 1 for a banker three of a kind. It’s unclear if the Bellagio still offers this wager or if it has spread to other casinos. Another variation is found in some Florida Seminole tribal casinos where certain hands will automatically offer a bonus (often in the form of ‘no commission’ on banker wins) for three card hands of a specific type.
The house edge almost guarantees that you’ll be seeing this bet more often. The Player Three Card Win bet has a house edge of 5.69%. The Banker Three Card Win bonus bet has a house edge of 8.30%. Neither is a good wager at those hold percentages but as with the case of the Dragon Bonus bet the ‘player’ position is ‘less bad’ than the ‘banker’ position.