Baccarat is hugely popular among gambling buffs thanks to its leisurely pace, straightforward rules, and high winning chances. It was reserved exclusively for the nobility when it first emerged but thankfully this is no longer the case. Baccarat is now accessible to players from all walks of life and available for real-money play at hundreds of online casinos.
One variation that has gained traction in recent years is no commission baccarat, also known as commission-free baccarat. Its popularity is higher among gamblers from Asia but it has a loyal following the world over. This is partially due to its deceptive name, which leads players to think it is better than conventional baccarat where the commission is in place. This is not the case in reality and we explain why in today’s article.
Basics of No Commission Baccarat
No commission baccarat largely follows the same rules as the standard variation but the payout structure is different because the casino does not charge the 5% commission on winning Banker hands. Here is a brief breakdown of the rules for those who need to refresh their memory.
Most online variations use 8 full decks.
Randomly generated variations reshuffle the cards at the conclusion of each hand.
Gamblers can bet on Player, Banker, or Tie.
Ties between Player and Banker result in pushes, i.e. gamblers recoup their wagers unless they have backed the Tie outcome.
The first card for the Player hand is always dealt before the first card for the Banker.
Aces are worth 1 point, cards 2 through 9 are worth their pip value, and 10, Jack, Queen, and King are assigned a value of zero.
The first digit in two-figure totals is dropped, eg. 10 becomes 0, 11 becomes 1, and so on.
If either the Banker or Player has natural totals of 9 or 8, both hands must stand, a rule that overrides all other rules.
The dealer draws more cards to the Player hand when it has a starting total of 5 or less.
When the Player hand stands, the dealer hits the Banker hand when it totals 5 or under. The chart below contains the drawing rules for the Banker when the Player hand must hit, i.e. it draws a third card.
Some commission-free baccarat variations take action on side bets such as Player Pair (11 to 1), Banker Pair (11 to 1), Perfect Pair (25 to 1), Either Pair (5 to 1), Big (3 to 2), and Small (2 to 1). We recommend against placing these side bets due to their higher house edges.
|Drawing Rules in Commission-Free Baccarat Based on the Player’s Third Card|
|Banker Hand Total||Value of the Third Card Drawn to the Player Hand|
Paytables in Commission and No Commission Baccarat
Now, this is where the main difference between commission and no commission baccarat lies. In the standard version of the game, the dealer deducts the 5% commission only from winning Banker wagers. The drawing rules of the game are such that the Banker hand ends up with a slightly higher win frequency, i.e. it wins more often than it loses.
Casino Advantage in Commission and No Commission Baccarat
You have probably guessed where this is going, so let’s examine how the absence of commission affects the house edge of the game. Since the commission only applies to winning Banker hands, it has no impact on the house edge of Player bets – it remains the same at 1.24%.
With the commission in place, the casino holds a 1.06% advantage on the Banker proposition in the standard version of the game. In contrast, the house edge for the Banker side climbs to 1.46% in commission-free variants, which corresponds to a 17% increase.
Respectively, the aggregate casino advantage in conventional baccarat is only 1.15%, while that at no commission tables jumps to 1.35%. It follows that players are better off when they pay the commission as they still end up losing less money in the long term.
|House Edges in Commission and No Commission Baccarat Variations|
|With Commission||Without Commission|
|Player Side||Banker Side||Player Side||Banker Side|
|Aggregate House Edge: 1.15%||Aggregate House Edge: 1.35%|
Baccarat Players Hate Commision for All the Wrong Reasons
At this point, we hope it is clear why you should avoid playing commission-free baccarat variations. The term ‘commission-free’ is somewhat of a misnomer, much like the name of the ‘insurance’ side bet in blackjack which also carries an enormous house edge compared to that in the main game.
Such baccarat variants do provide a commission for the casino on certain winning hands but the house simply collects it in a different fashion. Furthermore, the ‘fee’ is significantly higher at 50% due to the severe reduction in the payout for Banker wins with 6. Contrary to all logic, many players continue to frown at the idea of paying commission but for all the wrong reasons.
1Players Believe They Deserve to Be Paid in Full
Casinos intentionally use this misleading wording to promote bets and games that are otherwise worse in terms of house edges. And yet, baccarat fans flock in droves to the commission-free tables. They are irked by the fact the casino charges them for winning.
After all, they have earned these winnings and deserve to be paid in full. The harsh reality is they will be better off if they resign to paying the ‘fee’ as this would cost them less over the long haul. The negative impact on their overall profitability will be less pronounced this way.
2Winning Bets’ Settlement Becomes Slower with Commission
Players hate the commission for yet another reason. At the end of a round, when the dealer starts settling the winning bets, players cannot collect their chips from successful wagers until everyone has been paid. This rule largely has to do with security and prevents confusion on behalf of the dealers.
Chip plucking and calculating the exact payouts after the commission deductions slow down the action and greatly take away from the experience. For example, a player sitting in the anchor position on the dealer’s far right will receive their payout but may not be able to collect the chips for a couple of minutes until everyone on the dealer’s far left has received theirs.
3Commission-Free Variations Offer Better Gaming Experience
From this perspective, it is impossible to deny that commission-free variations indeed provide a more enjoyable player experience. Nearly all successful wagers pay at even money odds (bar Banker wins with 6), which causes the game to play at a more rapid pace. Gamblers get to collect their winnings and post their next wagers faster.
How Commission-Free Variants Benefit the House
Perhaps you will find it surprising but gambling operators also frown at the idea of charging a commission. There are several reasons why they prefer to drop the commission in favor of the payout reduction for Banker wins with 6.