Mini-Baccarat – The Unsung Hero of Casino Gambling

The European version of Baccarat has been around 150 years give or take. It’s distant cousin, Chemin De Fer, played under an entirely different set of rules is far older and was a game favored by Europe’s royalty and wealthy industrialists. This is most likely where it got the mystique of elegance as an exclusively “high roller’s” game.

In the mid 1950’s Tommy Renzoni ran the Baccarat game at the Capri Hotel & Casino in Havana, Cuba. It was said he discovered that particular variation of the game being played in Argentina at the time.

In those days the mob ran the casinos in Havana and it was a popular resort for the very wealthy and Hollywood’s elite. In 1959 when Castro overthrew the Batista regime, he promptly closed the casino doors and the mob was forced out of Cuba. They had a sweet deal for a while but all good things must end.

The timing was perfect though, because Tommy Renzoni was brought in for the opening of the Sands Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to run their Baccarat game. So it was Renzoni, through a stroke of fortune, who introduced the American version of Baccarat to Vegas that is played today.

The American version of the game is as simple as they come. You choose to wager on either the “bank” hand or the “player” hand. Pretty much a coin toss. The only other choice would be to bet on a tie hand appearing (a bet no sane person would make although I see it done all the time). It’s an even money bet on either side with the exception of a small commission charged on winning bank hands.

The reason for this is that the rules of the game favor the bank hand winning slightly more often than the player hand. Without the 5% commission the outcome would be tilted toward the bank side.

The object of the game is to get closest to a 9 total. All tens and face cards have a zero value, therefore a 5 and a queen would be a total of 5. There is no need to even know the rules governing the drawing of cards because they are completely automatic and procedures are directed by the dealers and pit bosses.

Compared to craps, blackjack, roulette or even poker, there are no complicated decisions to make. Decide on the amount of your wager and which side to bet on. Nothing could be simpler.

It is the aura that surrounds the game which tends to make it seem off limits to most casino goers. It’s been portrayed through stories of high rollers and in James Bond (007) movies over the years as the hero playing against the evil villain. Keep in mind, all the players are betting against the casino, not against each other. Although the roped off table areas and high stakes table limits can be somewhat intimidating.

Enter Mini-Baccarat. The casinos, always on the look out to make a buck, devised the mini-baccarat table as a way to make it more accessible to the average casino patron. It seemed to work although it still hasn’t garnered the wide spread acceptance of the more well known table games.

Betting Systems

In reality, mini-baccarat is ideally suited for most playing and betting systems that do well in an even-money, win/lose environment. Because there can be only one of two outcomes, betting systems that depend on a parlay (doubling up) of wagers tend to do well.

It is common to see runs of 2, 3, 4 & 5 on either bank or player hands. I was playing the Tropicana one night and witnessed an incredible run of 22 consecutive “bank” hands. Luckily, having the sense and instinct to jump on a winning streak after the fourth bank win, I was able to capture 18 straight wins. Needless to say, it was a very good night. That’s an extraordinary run but the game does lend itself well to streaks on both sides.

If you toss a coin you have a 1 to 1 chance of correctly calling the outcome. If a player were to parlay their first win (playing for 2 consecutive wins), they have a 1 in 3 chance of winning that wager. If successful, the player would receive a 3 to 1 payoff. $10 parlayed on two wins would become $40. The odds on calling two consecutive outcomes correctly is 3 to 1.

Playing for three consecutive wins would reduce the player’s winning wagers but the payoff would jump to 7 to 1. A $10 wager would return $80.

Another sound betting system calls for a gradual increase of winning bets. This effectively takes advantage of any extended run of wins that will undoubtedly occur and protect the player’s capital if the outcome is “choppy.”

This type of betting sequence would look like this:

10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50

No wager after the second one in the series would produce a loss for the player.

Following the 1st bet the player is risking $5 and betting $15;

After winning the third bet the player is up $20 betting 25;

On the fourth, the player is up $40 wagering $30;

On the fifth, the player is ahead $65 betting $40;

A series of 7 wins would return $150 and still have a $50 wager as the next bet. All with a starting wager of $10. Following any loss the player reverts back to the starting $10 bet.

With this method the player is increasing their bets with winnings while maintaining a low minimum bet during losing hands. This is the type of smart money management used by professional gamblers that takes full advantage of winning cycles while protecting their bankroll when losing. It insures that their winning bets will be substantially greater than their losing ones.

Although the hands are dealt at a rapid pace, I consider mini-baccarat to be an excellent game, especially for the beginner. It allows them to acclimate to the game and concentrate on their playing strategy and wagers without feeling intimidated by the big money action in the regular Baccarat pit.

If you’ve read any of the stuff I’ve written you know I’m a big fan of Baccarat. As for mini-baccarat, it’s the same game, same low house percentage, low minimums and gives the player a very good chance at some big wins. It might even pay for your next trip the casino.

Best of luck,

Ray W.

Howard Hughes and the Silver Slipper

Another of Las Vegas’ most iconic signs belonged to the Silver Slipper Gambling Hall. Originally opened in 1950 on the Last Frontier property, it was named the Golden Slipper because the Silver Slipper name was already taken, but shortly after they opened, the Silver Slipper folded and the name moved to its new home on the Las Vegas Strip. The Silver Slipper was never a big casino, but due to its central Strip location and proximity to the Last Frontier, it was very popular with families and offered the best 49-cent breakfast buffet in town.

I find it interesting from a marketing perspective that most of the Strip hotels used desert or pioneer themes for their casinos: Hacienda, Sands, Aladdin, Dunes, Frontier, Sahara, Desert Inn, Stardust, El Rancho Vegas, and the Bonanza. A few hotels even referenced their Cuban and South Florida roots: Flamingo, Tropicana, and the Riviera.

Considering that hotels and casinos on the Strip didn’t begin sprouting up until the late 1940’s with the El Rancho Vegas and Bugsy Siegel’s Flamingo, it’s interesting that they all chose to stay within a particular set of themes, but then again the mafia has never been known for their creativity or risk taking, unless said risk-taking involves a new and improved style of murder or extortion. I guess they were less concerned about design awards and more interested in the skim.

Riding the wake of the sale of his Trans World Airways for $546,549,171, Howard Hughes came to Las Vegas with an eye on the future and a boatload of cash, but Hughes wasn’t convinced Las Vegas was where he wanted to set up shop. After two years of bouncing back and forth between the East Coast and Las Vegas, and some careful study of Las Vegas’ financial potential, Hughes decided to stay and moved into the two top floors of the Desert Inn with the resolve to reshape the Las Vegas landscape. Why? Who knows, but Howard Hughes found sufficient intrigue to keep him an active participant in Sin City’s growth and with a billion dollar bankroll, he was an instant force. In fact, his name was so big, the Nevada Gaming Commission all but rolled over when it came time to review his application to own a casino. Something that took most potential owners months and years to complete, with Howard Hughes, the ink was dry before his aides left the hearing.

So what’s the Silver Slipper got to do with Howard Hughes? It seems fair to say that when Hughes’ moved to Las Vegas, his apparent bi-polar behavior and companion paranoia was well established. Hughes moved into the Desert Inn with the express agreement he would stay no longer than 2 months. This arrangement was fine with the ownership, but the penthouse suites on the top two floors were earmarked for the hotel’s stable of high-rollers that came to play over the Christmas holidays, and Hughes’ staff who were all Mormons, non-gamblers, non-drinkers, and they just weren’t spending money at the casino or bar. Hughes was asked to leave and when push came to shove, Hughes wrote a check for $13.2 million, assumed ownership of the Desert Inn, and launched a spending spree unlike anything Las Vegas had ever seen.

But Hughes wasn’t satisfied and as his neurosis and paranoia grew. Memories of the McCarthy anti-communist hearing also began to weigh on his psyche. This was amplified by the fact that his suite faced the Silver Slipper Gambling Hall across the street and the rotating slipper rotating on the Strip marquee would reflect light into his room. It not only get him up at night, he got the notion that hidden in the toe of the shoe were cameras with the sole intent of photographing the Desert Inn, his suite, and the hotel entrance all in an effort to chronicle his comings and goings. So incensed by the sign, Howard Hughes sent a telegram to his chief aide, “I want you to buy that place, that damn sign is driving me crazy, it goes round and round and round.” On April 30, 1968, Howard Hughes bought the Silver Slipper Gambling Hall for $5,360,000 million, and rumor has it that his first edict was to stop the rotating Silver Slipper and fill it with concrete. Surveillance cameras or not, Howard Hughes would finally get a good night’s sleep. Maybe.

The Hughes Corporation owned the Silver Slipper until June of 1988 when it was purchased by Margaret Elardi who owned the Frontier Hotel and Casino next door. The Silver Slipper was demolished shortly thereafter with plans to expand the Frontier, but a union strike and tough economic times put an end to that.

Today, the iconic Silver Slipper sits perched above Las Vegas Boulevard at the Neon Museum just north of downtown Las Vegas. The slipper is available to see 24/7, but the museum is only open by appointment only. Go to their website for more information about their tours and costs. For anyone who revels in the nostalgia of “Old Vegas,” a trip to the museum is well worth the trip.

Howard Hughes moved to Las Vegas on November 24, 1966 and died on April 5, 1976 at the age of 70. His impact on Las Vegas in the 60’s and 70’s is monumental and came at a time when mafia interests were waning and corporate Wall Street interest was on the rise. We’ll look into this fascinating time in Las Vegas’ history in future posts.

Free Online Slots For Everyone To Play – No Download Needed

Are you looking for an online website where you can play slot machines for free, have fun and be immersed in the online casino experience without having to download any software or spend any money? Free online slots are becoming increasingly popular through the internet nowadays; many people enjoy the exciting experience of playing slots without losing any hard earned money.

Some of the biggest names in the slot machine industry have started to offer free to play slots in order for new players to test out the games. Betsoft, Sheriff Gaming, (RTG) Real Time Gaming, Microgaming and IGT have all decided to provide free slots to their gamers.

Betsoft Gaming offers one of the most visually impressive catalogue of slot machines and casino games. Their mission is to provide players with an authentic and immersive casino experience with 3-D graphics and audio. Betsoft has a game library of over one hundred entertaining slots games including tables games such as Blackjack and Roulette. They also offer mobile casino games such as Mr. Vegas and Lucky 7 as well as a virtual racebook. If you are looking for the entire casino experience in the comfort of your own home, be sure to check out some of the fabulous games form betsoft.

Another popular site for animated slots and table games is Sheriff Gaming. Sheriff Gaming provides players with 3-D games created by an experienced team of professional developers and business managers in order to update and formulate new games. Like Betsoft Gaming, they have all the necessary licenses in order to run the site. It is regulated through the stringent procedures of the Alderney Gambling Control Commission and offers software security to ensure that your computer and your details are always safe.

There are several features that set Sheriff Gaming a level above most other free online slots sites. First they have great customer support available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. They also constantly receive feedback and change their games based on the feedback they receive. Second, sheriff gaming offers an unparalleled level of graphics and animations on their slots games. Finally they offer their games in over 21 different languages so that everyone can enjoy them no matter where they are based in the world.

If you are still unsatisfied with these two amazing sites, you can also check out all the best IGT, Net Entertainment and Microgaming games such as 100,000 pyramid game, the new ghostbusters game and many more. IGT offers a huge variety of online games such as well as video poker, virtual racing, bingo, and hundreds of slots. See the resource box below for links to all these fantastic free slots games and all the currently available slots bonus deals that can help you play for real money.

What We Know About Poker Pro Fred Sarge Ferris

When you think of all-time greats in the poker world Fred “Sarge” Ferris has to be at the top of your list. Ferris played poker and played it well. Realizing that some people play poker for fun and some played it as a hobby, few of them had what it took to play for a living. Fred “Sarge” Ferris knew he did.

Fred “Sarge” Ferris grew up in the Great Depression and his father did everything to put food on the table. Living in poverty, his brother enlisted in the Navy and later became a well-known watchmaker and jeweler. He wanted to choose a different path. So he picked up gambling. He didn’t call it gambling. He was a consummate professional, never showing off his cards or giving away any information.

Although not much for publicity, Mr. Ferris started getting the attention of the other players and media as well. He started winning big pots, and high stakes cash games garnering the respect of his peers. His first big win came in a deuce-to-seven draw in 1980 winning $10,000. He then won $150,000 and a gold bracelet in the World Series of poker. After collecting his winnings, Fred Ferris was approached by a man named Stu Ungar.

Ungar did everything he could to convince Ferris that he could win the World Series Of Poker, but needed Fred’s help with the entry fee. Fred was unconvinced at first to help him out, after Ungar told him he had never played in a tournament before. Never the less, here stood a man so convinced he could do that Fred gave him a shot. Fred approached it as no different than playing cards; to him it was just another gamble. Ungar played masterfully, out dueling Fred’s arch rival Doyle Brunson to win the World Series of poker.

On April 22nd 1983 IRS agents approached Ferris in the card room and seized $46,000 in chips. It made headlines in on news circuits while sitting at Binion’s Horseshoe at high stakes games. The money was then reportedly seized because of back taxes Ferris owed to the federal government. One of the agents told Ferris to use the remaining money and buy a taco.

Fred “Sarge” Ferris and his scandal outrage the local Hispanic communities. Protesting that one of the agents mocked Ferris’ ethnicity. His parents were born in Lebanon but he was somehow mistaken for a Mexican. This was all a misunderstanding. Ferris said the agent was trying to be nice. The incident died off eventually.

During most of his life, he spent all of his time at the poker table. It seems appropriate to have his tombstone made out of a poker table, he died there. On March 12th, 1989, after playing in a high-stakes cash game, He suffered a massive heart attack. His funeral was held in Las Vegas. Many people attended his funeral. People came to show their condolences, some were happy he had died.

However after everything Ferris brought to the game he became the 18th inductee into the poker hall of fame. Later that year after a long investigation by both Las Vegas casinos and the Indian gaming commission, Ferris would be linked as one of five men who was in debt to the mob. To Fred’s credit the mob would never see their money.

He will be remembered for his accolades and achievements in the world of poker. His intelligence for the game and his techniques have earned him the respect of future poker players. Fred “Sarge” Ferris was called a “consummate pro” for a reason.

Information On Online Poker Rooms

Poker is quickly becoming the fastest growing game in the gaming industry. Poker has had a new addition with the entry of online poker sites. The popularity of poker is exploding due to internet poker sites and all the television coverage the game is getting. Internet poker has gained popularity because of the ease to use. All that you need is a computer and an Internet connection to start playing the game!

An internet poker room is actually a company that allows users or poker players to access their software they developed to host poker games on their internet site. There are many poker sites available today that accept US players, but not all of them do. This is because of a gambling law passed in the United States called the UIGEA or Unlawful Internet Gaming and Enforcement Act. This made it hard for the online poker rooms to transfer money in and out of the United States so some companies stopped trying and left the market.

Internet poker sites make their money from the rake from the pots. The rake in poker is what the casino takes for allowing you to play in their game. The percentages can vary and in a traditional casino it is generally in the range of 5 and 20%. Internet poker rooms charge less rake because the overhead expenses of online US poker room are very less compared to a brick and mortar casino. The rakes of online poker rooms are as low as 2% and as high as 5%.

When you are selecting an internet poker room, it is vital to check the safety of the internet site. Some sites are not as secured as they should be and any information that you pass on may be used in wrongful manner. Check if the room is secured so that all financial transactions that you do are safe. In addition, some of the online poker rooms do not have license from a trusted gaming commission. You must always choose a room that has a license to host poker games. Other things to consider while choosing online poker rooms are personalized features, multi-table features and compatibility with the operating system of your computer.

It is also recommended to check the traffic that an online poker sites has before selecting it. The more number of players a room has, the more number of games you can play and better are your chances of winning and making money. There are many poker sites that offer bonuses and promotions to enhance poker players to play online. Since there are so many poker sites to choose from, it is advisable to spend some time researching before you select one. Whichever online poker room you select, you are sure to have tons of fun and make tons of money!