David and I were in Las Vegas this weekend, which meant that it was the perfect time for me to learn a new table game, which just so happened to be on my list!
I decided that I wanted to learn baccarat, because it's so, you know, "fancy." When I hear "baccarat" I think of James Bond, in a tuxedo, plotting some sort of strategy to win a pile of chips, while also figuring out how to stop the villain from doing something, uh, ... well, villainous, I guess.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm here to tell you that baccarat is not that game. I don't know what the fuck James Bond is playing in those movies, but it is most certainly NOT baccarat.
Baccarat is, at its essence, betting on a coin toss. When you sit down at the baccarat table, you have one choice, and one choice, only. Do you bet on the player, or do you bet on the bank? You might be able to place a couple of side bets--like betting on a pair, or betting on a tie--but really, you're betting on a game where the odds are virtually even (so much so that the casino takes a 'commission' if you win when you bet the "bank").
That's not to say that the rules aren't complicated. If you want to know what they're actually doing, you can learn the rules. But you really don't have to learn the rules, because you don't have to make any decisions, at all. No decisions, Except whether to bet the Player or the Bank.
Pai Gow Poker is more fun.
So, I thought, 'Well, I learned this game, but I didn't really have to learn anything, except that I should put a chip in either this place, or that place.' And, that just seemed too easy.
That's why I went to the sports book, and learned how to bet on a football game.
There are lots of different bets you can place at a casino. You can bet how many points will be scored. You can bet who will score the first time. You can bet whether they'll score within the first however-many minutes. But the simplest bets are on the outcome of the game.
I placed three bets on the Patriots-Broncos game. I bet on the Patriots to cover the spread, because one of my colleagues is a rabid Patriots fan, and she's a really good person, and I like her a lot. The Broncos were favored by 4.5 points when I placed my bet, so I'd have won if:
1. The Patriots won; or
2. The Patriots tied the Broncos; or
3. The Patriots lose, but by fewer than 4.5 points.
Then, I bet on the Patriots to win. That's called betting the "money line."
I also placed an over/under bet. They estimated the total points scored by both teams at 57. I asked my colleague what she thought the total points scored would be, and she said, "40." So, I bet "under." Meaning: as long as the total points scored by both teams was below 57, I would win.
Well, the Patriots lost, but I won my "under" bet. And most importantly, I learned two new kinds of casino gambling, which completes this item on my list.