All casino games are created equally – and by equally, I mean they all benefit the house. If you think you’ve found a game that offers players a genuine 50/50 chance of winning a bet, think again. Such bets do exist, but they all come with a 5% casino commission, known as the Vig.
The term “Vig” is short for vigorish. In sports betting venues, it’s sometimes called “juice”. In a poker game, we know it as “rake”. No matter what you call it, a casino commission is the establishment’s way of ensuring that, one way or another, the house will come out ahead in the long term.
Games with Casino Commission
The vast majority of casino games are designed with specific rules, or a precision pay table, that gives the house the advantage on every bet. Take European Roulette for example. If it weren’t for the Zero, almost every wager on the table would present 50/50 odds based on the pay table. That Zero changes everything, giving the house the edge it needs to guarantee a profit.
A few casino games – very few indeed – are built differently. Their mechanics actually give players a 50/50 chance of winning a bet – maybe even a bit higher! That’s where the casino commission comes into play.
Baccarat is the most common game that invokes a commission. The way this game is played, you can either wager on the Player Hand or the Banker Hand (or the Tie, but no smart player ever does that). No one actually plays their own hand, though. The rules determine how each hand will be played.
Just like blackjack, the banker hand is afforded an advantage over the player hand. As such, the Banker is going to win more often than the Player or a Tie.
Knowing this, it would make sense to always bet on the Banker, correct? Not necessarily.
A winning bet on Player pays out even money. A winning Banker bet pays only 95% of the bet back, with the other 5% collected as the casino commission, or vig. In this way, the casino always makes its profit.
Other common casino games that collect a commission include Pai Gow Poker and Pai Gow Tiles. There are some less common titles that use vig as well, like Three Card Baccarat and Fan Fan, but you’re about as likely to find these in your local casino as you are to have even heard of them in the first place.
Don’t Get Mad – Casinos Hate Commission Too
As much as gamblers hate paying the casino commission on these types of games, they aren’t the only ones who don’t like it. Truth is, the casinos hate having to collect vig as much as you hate paying it, but for different reasons.
For casinos, the best way to increase revenue production is to keep the games moving as quickly as possible. If their dealers are constantly having to figure up 5% of various bet sizes, it’s not exactly expediting the flow of cards at the tables.
And can you imagine how much the dealers hate it? A player bets $15 on Banker and wins. Quick, what’s the vig?!?
That wasn’t too hard, now was it? It’s $0.75 (15 x 0.05).
What about high rollers, though? What if a half-drunken, ego-crazed, verbally abusive VIP wins a $3,675 bet on Banker? What’s the vig?
Come on now, gotta be quick, he’s not a patient man! Can’t mess this up! Think, think, think! If you said $183.75, you’re right. If not, you’re fired. I’m sure there are calculators and computers on hand these days to help them out, but you get the point – no one likes casino commission!
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