Posts Tagged ‘blackjack’

Even the most die hard Blackjack players need a change of pace once in a while. One game that is simple to play and can provide hours of fun for table games afficianados or even beginners is Baccarat. Baccarat is a game of mystery to a lot of gamblers, despite the fact that it can be found in many casinos local to the South Bend area.

There’s a mystique or an aura about Baccarat. Thought of by many Blackjack players as a game played by tuxedoed rich guys on the French Riviera in James Bond movies, in reality it’s an easy game to learn. Baccarat a popular game with those who play it because the decisions are already made for the player. All you need to do in order to play is just sit down, place your bet, get a feel for the table, and use your instincts.

The table

Each player has three betting areas associated with his/her position at the table. They are: “Banker”, “Player” or “Tie.” An electronic board keeps track of which hands win on our Mini-Baccarat tables, similar to a Roulette board, so players can see trends and determine their bets. Some gamblers choose to track the results of each hand by writing them on a pad.

Many casinos have both Mini-Baccarat and full-sized Baccarat tables. One difference between Mini-Bac and Baccarat is that in Baccarat they allow the players to handle the cards. In Mini-Bac the dealer handles the cards. Handling of the cards by players is also sometimes referred to as “sweating the cards.”

There are seven positions each with two betting spots on a Mini-Baccarat table for a total of 14 possible players. The larger tables accommodate 12 players. The game is popular, especially among Asians, because it’s a community game. The game is played in groups, adding a social aspect, since the tables can accommodate such a large number of players. It spurs a social interaction along along with the gambling. That’s why if you’ve ever walked by a busy Baccarat table on the casino floor, it can look like a crowded and sometimes chaotic game.


The object is to bet either the Player or Banker hoping that the cards accumulate a point total closest to 9 on two or three cards. Aces count as 1, cards 2 through 9 count at face value, 10s and face cards count as 0. If you’re dealt a 9 and a 7, for example, the combined total is counted as 6 rather than 16. If you receive a 3 and an 8, the total is not 11, but is instead counted as 1.

It’s not possible to have a combination of cards with a combined total greater than 9. The perfect hand is one that equals 9 exactly in the first two cards. 8 is the second-best hand and, along with the 9, these two hands make up the two “natural” hands.

Betting and Payouts

Payouts are very straightforward. If you bet on a winning hand, you’ll be paid at 1 to 1. If that winner is the Banker hand, a five percent commission is deducted. If the winning hand belongs to the Player, no commission is paid. If you bet on a tie, the payoff is a whopping 8 to 1. Commissions are paid after each hand on Mini-Baccarat tables, and on the large Baccarat tables, commissions are tracked and settled at the end of the shoe.

You don’t have to visit the High Limit room to play or have a ton of cash to get on a table, either. Table limits often range from $10  on Mini-Bac to aournd a $50 minimum  on Big-Bac, and have up to $1,000 and $5,000 table maximums depending on when and where you play. If you are a Blackjack player interested in learning a fun and exciting table game that promotes group interaction and is simple to play, Baccarat is definitely a game you’ll want to check out next time you visit a South Bend area casino. Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Blue Chip in Michigan City, and Gun Lake Casino (located halfway between Grand Rapids, Michigan and Kalamazoo) all provide forms of Baccarat for your gaming pleasure.


Casino table game managers are always looking for new  games to put on the floor to keep players interested and coming back for more. One way of doing this is to provide a variety of Blackjack games to choose from. These might include single deck, double deck, pitch, or any number of “carnival” games like Spanish 21. Another way to customize a Blackjack game is by adding a “bonus” betting option.

Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Michigan has added two new blackjack games that players may want to check out the next time they are in the Michiana region looking for some action. The first new bet is called “Lucky Lucky Blackjack Bonus.” This optional side bet is in addition to the normal Blackjack wager. If it hits, patrons can win up to 200 times their main wager. Side bets start at $1 and max out at $25. To win, the first two cards dealt must be included in the pay matrix displayed at the table.

The second Blackjack innovation at Four Winds is the “Blackjack Switch.” At this table, each person plays two hands with an identical bet on each. The player has the option of keeping the two hands as dealt, or they can switch the second card between the two hands to make a better hand on one or both of the sets. You’re even allowed splits and double-downs after the switch, which can make these hands even more valuable. Blackjacks aren’t paid out at 2:1 like multi-deck shoe-dealt games, though.  Instead, they pay even money. Another change from the standard game is a “Push 22,” which means the dealer gets a push if he draws to a total of exactly 22. Blackjack Switch also features the optional “Super Match Bonus Bet,” with multiple payouts. To win, get a pair, two pair, three, or four-of-a-kind from any of the four initial cards dealt.

The odds on bonus bets can be pretty long, but not so long that you shouldn’t play at least the minimum amount just to keep in on the action. The lower odds awards hit more often, and while they don’t offer the big 200 time payout, they may provide enough of an incentive to keep the game fun, especially if you are bored of traditional Blackjack. For Blackjack variants like the Blackjack Switch, the payouts are a little lower and the house gets more edge from the 22 Push, but players gain an edge by having the ability to switch cards, so it may amount to a wash as far as house advantage goes compared to traditional Blackjack odds. For seasoned players, these bonus bets and game variations can make the game of Blackjack a lot more fun and interesting, and can help to break an experienced player out of a rut, so don’t overlook them when checking out the action at Michigan or Illinois casinos.