By Byron F. Hebert
It is 1:40 a.m. in the Baccarat Pit and things are just beginning to heat-up. The tables are now all full and there is a lot of big-money action. The price to play is a minimum bet of $100 per hand. Some players are betting hundreds on the tie-bet alone, plus many thousands more on PLAYER or BANK. This is fairly typical for a weekend night in the Baccarat Pit’s of many Las Vegas or Atlantic City casinos.
This night I am hoping for a few more opportunities; they have been in short supply the last two nights. As a result, I am a little down, but my patience probably saved me a bundle. It is my practice to bet small or wait-out any decision sequences that show little or no player advantages. Doing so prevented larger losses, and preserved my bankroll so I could exploit the good opportunities that would be sure to come along later.
I have seen the same players for the last two nights and it is no different this night, or so I thought. A new shoe is about ready so here I go. I feel the rush of adrenalin as I make my first bets, PLAYER and TIE (I always bet tie on the first hand of the Shoe and generally for three more decisions after that). The cards are out and yes, a tie hand 8 to 8. This is always a good indicator when I win a first-hand tie decision. Only a couple of the other players were betting on tie.
On the next hand I am looking for a repeat tie so I double-up the bet and continue with a bet on PLAYER. The cards are out and once again the result is a tie! I remember thinking to myself that this could be a great shoe.
For the third hand I again increase my tie bet looking for another repeat and remain on PLAYER. Now almost everyone at the table has a bet on TIE too! The cards are out, PLAYER has 6 and stands. The BANK cards are Ace — Queen (for a total of 1), BANK must draw another card. The card is a five, another tie! The table erupts with cheers, three tie’s in a row.
Now I have won back all that I was down the previous nights and have a small profit besides. Things are looking very good going into the fourth hand of this shoe. I immediately make another tie bet, this a rather substantial one, and a bet on PLAYER. I also make a bet for the Dealers on the tie and they are pulling for me to win again. Can there possibly be four consecutive ties? Most of the other players at the table are hesitant to bet tie again, but the gentlemen next to me is urging everyone to bet tie and points to me saying, "This guy was on it from the beginning lets stay on it too." What is probably against their better judgment, most players do make another tie bet.
On the fourth hand PLAYER shows 4-6 for a total of Baccarat or zero. BANK hand shows 2-3 for a total of 5. First the PLAYER hand draws a card, a five for a total of 5. It is now tie, but according to the rules, BANK must also draw a third card (when holding a total of 5, BANK draws a third card when the third card for PLAYER is 4, 5, 6, or 7). Of course everyone is yelling for a picture card (which is a zero-value card) thus preserving the tie. The player in seat no. 1 slowly removes the third card for BANK from the Shoe and sneaks a peak, then throws it to the center of the table yelling, "It’s another tie!"
Remember the players deal the cards in the pit; the same player will deal until there is a win by the PLAYER, and then the Shoe moves to the next player-dealer. The card was a King, thus producing another tie hand, the fourth in a row. The table went nuts, what a game!
This was the last consecutive tie decision, but then PLAYER reeled-off nine straight wins. I won all nine! This Shoe contained the most profitable 13 hands of Baccarat I had ever played. I won the first thirteen hands and never looked back. Later when things cooled-down and the opportunities dried-up, I quit. Lesson learned: Hit’em and run! When things are going well, exploit opportunities; go with the flow. When the opportunities are few and far between, or gone, stop betting or walk away. Leave a winner and save your bankroll for another battle. This is the sign of a mentally tough and disciplined player, a winner!