The no commission version eliminates confusing rules, raises house edge. New table games are almost uniformly unfavorable to players. There are no new games that offer a house edge under 2 percent. Even variations of existing games are more focused on raising the house percentage rather than increasing player interest in the game. Most of the side bets available at blackjack tables should be avoided, and since some of them encourage players to alter their basic strategy, players are well advised to find a traditional table, not play the “new, improved” version.
Baccarat, however, has always been one of the best bets in the casino. With a house edge on the bank bet of 1.17 percent and 1.35 percent on the player bet, the baccarat wagers rank behind only basic strategy blackjack and the craps pass/don’t pass lines as the best table bets in the casino. The problem with baccarat is that potential players perceive the rules to be complicated, and the atmosphere to be restrictive. Each of those assumptions is erroneous, but they persist, nonetheless.
No commission baccarat, a new game currently being tested at the Las Vegas Hilton and Bally’s Las Vegas, tries to address the complication issue by simplifying the rules and eliminating the commission (the 5 percent vigorish charged a player for each winning bank bet). This commission is the basis for the house edge, so by eliminating it, the house must find another way to make money.
This is accomplished with the altered rules of the game. No commission baccarat, formerly known as “Bahamas Baccarat,” simplifies the often-confusing “third card” rule. Remember, baccarat hands are calculated by adding the initial two cards together, and then dropping the left-hand digit, if there is one. Each card is worth its numerical value, but Tens and face cards are worth zero. For example, if the hand consists of a Five and an Eight, the hand is worth three (5+8=13, drop the 1, resulting in a 3). Instead of the bank drawing a third card, the rules for no commission baccarat are now quite simple: Each hand stands on six and above, and draws to five and below. A “natural” prevents the opposing side from drawing a third card at all. (A natural is a two-card hand that totals eight or nine.)