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.
Sometimes a side bet comes along that dwarfs the others in terms of its card counting vulnerability. Such was the case with the Slingo Bonus Bet 21 side bet for blackjack. When I read about the Lucky Nines (LN) baccarat side bet on the Wizard of Vegas website, I immediately realized that it might be the most vulnerable baccarat side bet I've seen.
The Dragon Bonus (DB) baccarat side bet is by far the most popular baccarat side bet in the domestic market. Internationally, I have not seen it that much in my travels, but maybe I just haven't been to the right places. I considered card counting DB in this post, where I concluded that counting was useless. Recently a reader posted a comment asking about the edge he could get against DB if he knew one of the cards in the Player hand before deciding whether to make the DB wager. "Phil" wrote:
Lucky 8 (L8) is a baccarat side bet I first heard about on the Wizard of Vegas website in this thread. As the name implies, a Player/Banker final total of 8 is key to winning this bet. It should therefore come as little surprise that L8 is highly vulnerable to card counting, with 8's being the key-card for a counting system.