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Baccarat Gold is a baccarat variant found in some poker-based casinos in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas. I know that as of September, 2010, it was offered at the San Pablo Lytton Casino. The purpose of the game was to simplify baccarat's drawing rules and make the house edge on the Player and Banker as close as possible.
To avoid confussion, when referring to the Player or Banker bet, I will capitalize. When referring to those playing the game, I will use lower case. Baccarat Gold has the same rules as conventional baccarat, with the following three exceptions.
- As in Chemin de Fer, if the player bets on the Player, then he may choose to hit or stand on a total of 5.
- If the player draws a third card, the banker’s drawing rules are as follow:
- Banker total of 0 to 3: Always draw.
- Banker total of 4 to 5: Draw only if player’s third card is a 3 to 7.
- Banker total of 6 to 7: Never draw.
- Tie bets pay 9 to 1.
Eight decks of cards are used.
The following three tables show the return of the Player, Banker, and Tie bets, if the player chooses to HIT on a Player hand of 5. They show a house edge of 1.147% on the Player, 1.144% on the Banker, and 4.908% on the Tie.
Player Return Table — Player Hits on 5
Banker Return Table — Player Hits on 5
Tie Return Table — Player Hits on 5
The following three tables show the return of the Player, Banker, and Tie bets, if the player chooses to STAND on a Player hand of 5. They show a house edge of 1.386% on the Player, 0.918% on the Banker, and 7.555% on the Tie.
Player Return Table — Player Stands on 5
Banker Return Table — Player Stands on 5
Tie Return Table — Player Stands on 5
There is only one decision in the game: whether to hit or stand on the Player hand with a total of 5. The tables above show the house edge on the Player bet is 1.15% if the player hits in this situation and 1.39% if he stands. So, the player should hit a Player hand of 5.
Assuming the player does that, the house edge is almost the same on the Player and Banker bets. To be specific, the house edge is 0.003% less on the Banker bet. Another reason to bet on the Banker is that the player acting for the Player hand might incorrectly stand on a 5. If he did that, then the house edge on the Banker bet would drop from 1.14% to 0.92%.
Comparison to Regular Baccarat
The following table compares Baccarat Gold to conventional baccarat. It shows the expected value of each bet in both games. For Baccarat Gold, the expected values assume the player with the Player hand hits on 5. The "average" column is an average of the Player and Banker hands.
The bottom line is that for the player who likes to go back and forth between the Player and Banker bets, the average house edge is almost the same as conventional baccarat. However, the house edge on the Tie bet is significantly lower.
Baccarat Gold to Baccarat Comparison