Baccarat’s Who’s Who

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What are the responsibilities of all the dealers on a baccarat game? Maggie D.

the caller” who sits centerfield, is the senior dealer. He runs the show, sets the pace of play, directs the shoe, calls the hand totals, and announces the winning hand. The other two dealers are responsible for paying your bet when it wins and snatching up your money when it loses. Working at opposite ends of the layout, one dealer is in charge of positions 1 through 6, the other positions 7 through 12. In larger casinos, where whales are blowing megabucks, you will find yet another official, the “ladder-man,” who supervises the overall game. Commission disagreements are his or her major concern, but any other problems that may arise in the baccarat room are also the ladder-man’s responsibility.

If one casino pays $25,000 for hitting 8 of 8 in keno, and the other down the street pays $50,000, does that mean the odds are different, or is one casino being more generous than the other? Carol J.

the  chance   of  hitting 8 of 8 in keno are the same wherever you play the game, 230,114 to 1, although Casino A may promise $25,000 for a winning ticket and Casino B $50,000. This columnist always recommends shopping around for the best payoffs, but Disciples of Deal Me In are generally not 8-spot keno players. (Let’s see: ten games a day for five days a week would tot up to about 2,500 games in a year. In ten years-well, you see where I’m going.) Be it a $25,000 or a $50,000 payday, 230,114 to 1 is a tough beat. And then there’s another whammy waiting if the unlikely happens. Casinos pay an “aggregate payoff,” meaning that if you and someone else (even your significant other) happen to be playing the same winning numbers, you all split the $25,000 among you. Chances of a fair split are somewhat better-about 40-to-one.

I noticed that after the pit boss replaced our deck of cards on a blackjack game, he sorted them out then started to write something on the box. Was he looking for hanky panky on the game? Jeff W.

probably not Jeff. To keep fresh decks on the table, single decks on a blackjack game are replaced every hour, double decks every two hours, and all the decks in a shoe every eight-hour shift. When a single or double deck is pulled by the floorman, he will generally count or sort on the spot looking for any irregularities, then initial the deck having noted dealer, shift, table, and date. When you purchase a promotional deck from the gift shop, or strong-arm one FREE from a pit boss, you will see his scribble on the inside lid of the box.

During a roll in craps, can I remove my Big 6 or Big 8 bet? Joe P.

yes but Joe, you’ll be richer if you permanently remove the Big 6 and Big 8 wagers from your betting repertoire. The Big 6 and Big 8 are even-money, non-contract bets, meaning you can pull them off at any time. But have you ever noticed how large those Big 6 and 8 boxes are, and how convenient it is to place your hard-earned money in them? Well, Joe, the Big 6 and 8 wagers are ones a smart bettor would never make. Outlawed on crap tables in Atlantic City, the true odds are 6 to 5 against, but your return is even money, giving the house an outrageous 9.09% edge. Instead, ask the dealer to “place” the 6 or 8 ; those bets come with a 7-for-6 payoff, knocking the casino edge down to a more reasonable 1.53%.

Gambling thought of the week: “Am I the only one that thinks a craps table looks like a large, open coffin?” VP Pappy

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