Most baccarat players don’t play video poker, and most video poker players aren’t interested in baccarat. But both of these games are in the top five casino games when it comes to high return to player percentages.
Depending on how you play each game, either one can give you a better chance to win. But if you’re willing to do a little extra work, some video poker machines are clearly better than baccarat tables.
Here’s a list of five reasons why you should concentrate on playing video poker instead of playing baccarat. It’s not as easy to be a good video poker player as it is to be a good baccarat player, but the extra effort is worth it.
1 – Better Odds and RTP
Real money video poker can be challenging because there are so many different games available, and each game has more than one pay table. And when you play the wrong game with the wrong pay table, the return to player percentage can be worse than when you play baccarat.
But some video poker machines offer much better odds and return to player numbers than baccarat. Whether you’re playing baccarat or video poker, you need to use strategy. I cover using video poker strategy in the last section in this article, but for now you need to understand that the numbers I’m using in this section are when you use strategy.
The best wager when you play baccarat is banker. This wager has a return to player number of 98.94%. This makes it better than every game in the casino except some blackjack games and some video poker games. This is why baccarat is on the top five casino games list.
But some video poker machines have an even higher return to player percentage. 9/6 Jacks or Better video poker has a return to player percentage of 99.54%. Not So Ugly Ducks Deuces Wild video poker has a return to player percentage of 99.73%.
A quick way to understand what these numbers mean in real life is to run them through a simple equation. When you multiply a return to player percentage times a total amount wagered, it tells you how much you get back from the total. You can subtract this number from your total amount wagered to get your loss number.
Using an example of making $10,000 worth of wagers over time, here are the numbers for each of these examples.
Banker bet at the baccarat table: $10,000 x 98.94% = $9,894 return. Total loss of $106.
9/6 Jacks or Better: $10,000 x 99.54% = $9,954 return. Total loss of $46.
NSUD Deuces Wild: $10,000 x 99.73% = $9,973 return. Total loss of $27.
These numbers show why all three of these options are good when compared to other casino games, but they also show why video poker is a better option than baccarat.
2 – More Choices and Variety
When you play baccarat, you can choose between big table baccarat and small table baccarat. But they’re both basically the same game. And you can choose between three wager options when you play baccarat, but the banker option is the only one you should ever use. This isn’t much in the way of choice or variety.
Video poker, on the other hand, offers dozens of base game choices and plenty of pay table options for each base game. If you want to play a video poker game with wild cards, there are many options. If you prefer not to use wild cards, there are plenty of options as well.
Video poker games are more challenging to find in some places, but large casinos still have quite a few machines. And you can find every type of video poker machine that you can imagine when you play mobile or online video poker.
If you’re looking for an easy game to play, baccarat is a good option. But if you want variety and options, video poker is clearly a better game.
3 – You Can Use Math and Odds to Make Playing Decisions
The truth is that you can use math and odds when you play baccarat and when you play video poker. But the only thing it’s good for when you play baccarat is to determine which of the three wager options you should use. It’s not helpful in any way when the hand is actually being played.
When you’re playing video poker, you can use math and odds on every hand you play. And you need to learn how to use the odds and math in order to have the best chance to win.
For example, let’s say you’re playing Jacks or Better. You have four cards to a low open-end straight and one card higher than a 10. Do you know if it’s better to try for a straight or a high pair? The answer is that it’s more profitable to discard the high card and try for the straight.
You actually have better odds of hitting a high air by drawing four cards than you have of hitting the straight drawing one card. But you get paid more for the straight when you hit it. This makes the straight draw more profitable in the long run.
You need to learn how to use odds and math when you’re playing video poker, but there’s a shortcut that makes this easy to do. I cover this shortcut in the final section in this article.
4 – Bigger Top Prizes
The top-paying wager at the baccarat table is the tie wager. It pays 8 to 1 on most baccarat tables, but a few places pay 9 to 1. The top-paying hand on most video poker machines pays 4,000 coins.
Because it can be confusing to compare odds-based payouts and coin size, here’s an example using real world numbers to help you see the difference.
You’re playing baccarat and wager $20 on the tie that pays 8 to 1. When you win the wager, you get back your $20 and a win of $160, for a total of $180. Even if the table pays 9 to 1 for a tie, you still only get a total of $200 back.
If you’re playing a quarter video poker machine and betting five coins per hand, your total wager amount is $1.25. And a 4,000-coin payout is a profit of $1,000. If you’re playing a $1 machine with a $5 total wager, you win $4,000.
But there’s one more thing that you need to understand about the tie wager in baccarat. The return to player percentage is so bad that you’re better off playing slots or almost any other game than making this bet.
This means you have to stick with the player or banker bet, and these pay 1 to 1 and .95 to 1, including the commission. So, the top prize when you play any video poker variation is much higher than when you play baccarat.
5 – Easy Strategy
I mentioned a shortcut to using odds and math when you play video poker in an earlier section. You can run all of the odds and numbers yourself when you play, but it’s much easier to simply use something called a “strategy chart.”
A strategy chart is developed using computers to determine the best way to play every possible hand. It takes the odds of completing a hand and how much each hand pays into account.
This is the main thing that makes some video poker machines better than baccarat. Using strategy makes the return to player percentage as high as you can get it. When you do this on a video poker machine with a good pay table, the return to player number is higher than when you play baccarat.
It’s easy to obtain a video poker strategy chart, and it’s easy to use it, too. You can find them online and in casino shops. Once you get a strategy chart, all you have to do is read from the top down and play the first hand that you come to that matches your hand.
It takes more effort, but the fact is that smart video poker players have a better chance to win than baccarat players. Smart video poker players know which machines to play, and they know the best way to play these machines.
The best baccarat wager pays slightly less than 1 to 1, but you can win 4,000 coins as the top prize when you play video poker. You also enjoy a much wider choice of games and options when you play video poker instead of baccarat.
When you consider everything, video poker is clearly a better choice than baccarat. But neither game is a bad option.