James Grosjean has never been one for mincing words or suffering fools. Still, several years ago, when I bragged to him about having strong card counting skills, I couldn’t help but be taken aback by his response. He told me that he thinks of casino advantage players - that is, sharp people who deploy strategies to beat the games - as evolutionary. “Card counters are salamanders crawling out of the water,” one of the most brilliant, most lauded advantage players in history told me.
Baccarat side bets that consist of a group of related wagers have a history of big game protection problems. A team of card counters targets the side bet by dividing up the individual wagers among their group. When a team member wagers on his particular side bet, the rest of the team follows by betting on the same side bet. In this way, each member of the team gets the full effect as-if they were counting every side bet on the layout.
The way baccarat usually operates, a winning Banker wager is charged a 5% commission, creating a house edge on the Banker bet of about 1.0579%. Another way of saying this is that a winning Banker wager pays 19-to-20. As commissions are collected and accounted, this challenging payout causes the game to slow down, losing profit for the house. One solution to this problem is to offer a "commission free" variation. These commission free versions work by choosing a rare winning Banker hand and not paying it full value.
Side bets that pay out when the dealer busts were a hot area of development a few years back. I was involved with two of these bets as the primary mathematician for the game developers. One of the wagers I analyzed was Dealer Bust 21 (see this post). The other bust-type wager I analyzed was "Bet the Bust" (BTB) for the company Tech Art. BTB is the subject of this post.
When the patent on EZ Baccarat and its Dragon 7 side bet expired in September, 2013 (see this post), there was a bit of a land rush. Bally (Shuffle Master) was the first to get in, creating "Fortune Baccarat" with the Fortune 7 side bet. Others have followed. This post considers Dai Bacc, which is a new entry to the same intellectual property landscape.
In this article, I discussed the “Rabbit” baccarat side bet. It is one of three distinct baccarat side bets that are collected together into a game called ZooBac. This article discusses another one of these baccarat side bets, the “Tiger.” The third wager in the zoo is the “Monkey” side bet. The Monkey pays 150-to-1 for a zero-zero Player/Banker tie.