John Grochowski

John Grochowski

A shuffle through the Gaming mailbag:

Q. I get that banker wins more often than player in baccarat and that the house edge depends on the commission. What I want to know is what percentage of the time it actually wins. Are ties figured into this? Does banker actually win less than 50 percent of the time so there’s already a house edge that’s made bigger by the commission?

A. If you’re betting banker or player, ties are pushes. You get your money back on ties. So yes, banker does win less than 50 percent of all hands, but no, there is no house edge without the commission.

Here’s a breakdown using average wins and losses for 100 hands. It leaves us dealing with fractions of a percent and commissions with a decimal point that wouldn’t happen in actual play, but it’ll do to illustrate the odds.

Banker wins an average of 45.9 hands per 100. Player wins 44.6 percent, and 9.5 percent are ties.

If you bet $20 on each hand, you’d put $2,000 at risk. You’d keep $190 in wagers on the 9.5 ties and keep $918 on wagers on the 45.9 wins. If the bet paid even money with no commission, you’d also get $918 in winnings/

That would leave $918 plus $918 plus $190, or $2,026, on your side of the table. So with no commission, taking ties into account and winning 45.9 percent of the time you’d make a $26 profit.

That’s why the 5 percent commission is in effect. In this case, the commission would be $45.90 and you’d have a $19.90 loss with average results.

If you want to focus just on the results where money actually changes hands, we can focus on the 90.5 percent of hands that are not ties. The 45.9 percent of all hands that are banker wins represent 50.7 percent of the no-tie hands. So banker wins the majority of hands when there is a decision on the bet.

Q. I had a hot streak in video poker that doesn’t qualify for your back-to-back jackpots file, but it was so good I have to tell you about it.

I was playing Super Aces on a quarter Five Play machine. Four Aces pays 2,000 with a maximum bet, so that’s half a royal. Right away when I sat down, I was dealt three Aces and got the fourth one on two hands. A quick $1,000!

The woman next to me saw that and she switched to Super Aces. She got four Aces on one hand real quick. Then I got them again. Then she got them twice, and I got them once more.

We were high-fiving. We couldn’t believe our luck, and it got better. I started with Ace-Jack-10 of hearts, and one hand filled in the King-Queen for a royal!

Maybe 10 hands later, I was dealt three Aces again. I turned to the woman and asked, “Do you think I can get them again?” She said, “I hope not.” I have no idea if that was a slip or if she was genuinely wishing me bad luck, but no matter. I hit the button and got two more four-Ace hands!

That brought my total to four Aces six times and a royal flush. Unreal.

Things turned cold after that and I lost back $100 before I decided to take my $3.500 in profits and run, It was just too good a run to spoil by giving too much back.

A. Congratulations! That’s quite an exciting, profitable day. Thank you for sharing your story.