While many people believe poker remains the top casino game in the world, in reality, the game best-loved by casino players worldwide is baccarat. Baccarat is a card-playing game where both the dealer and the player make choices, and cards are valued on a point system. Baccarat was created in casinos in Italy and France and was not the favorite game at Americans casinos. Americans favored poker for decades. However, baccarat has increasingly grown in favor, both in Asia and the United States. Casinos love baccarat because of the increasing number of people who play the game. But, they also fear baccarat because the odds of a player winning a game are some of the best odds in the casino.
Why Casinos Love Baccarat
Casinos love baccarat because it is profitable. The most popular place for baccarat is Macau. Of the 40 casinos in Macau, 88 percent of their profits come from the baccarat tables. In Singapore, nearly 75 percent of the casinos’ profits come from baccarat. In Las Vegas, nearly 20 percent of the total casino wins come from baccarat, which means the only game earning more money for the casino is slots. But, there are many more slot machines than there are baccarat tables, so it is easy to think that if there were more baccarat tables in Las Vegas, the profitability of the game would increase.
There are two reasons baccarat has been successful in the casinos. First, the game has been associated with luxury and power because of the James Bond movie series. It is seen as one of the games wealthy people like to play. Second, baccarat has become increasingly popular among people in Asian countries, who enjoy the rule-driven game and their cultures’ notions of luck. The fixed set of rules don’t change, and so, in Asian cultures, luck is given to the player based on his or her adherence to the game’s rules. In addition, the game is easy to play once the rules are learned because the player only has to decide on which hand to bet and how much to bet.
Why Casinos Fear Baccarat
High rollers enjoy baccarat because it is one of the only games where the house advantage is fairly low. In fact, if the high roller sticks to being the player or the banker, his or her chances of winning are far greater than on any other game in the casino.
This means if high rollers are playing at a high-limit baccarat table, they have the opportunity to win a large amount of money against the casino. For example, there are casinos in Singapore where high rollers can bet as much as $550,000 per hand. Las Vegas casinos routinely allow as much as $150,000 bet per hand. While this means casinos can and have made millions of dollars in one game of baccarat, they also can lose millions. For example, researchers tell the story of a Singapore man who lost $10 million in one night playing baccarat. However, a Las Vegas casino lost $2 million to one woman playing the same game. It would appear that baccarat is both high-risk and high reward for the casino and players.
Gambling experts tell casinos, in baccarat, they need to understand their risk is about 100 times the average bet by the player. If the casino has a player who is betting at a high-limit Vegas table, at $150,000 a hand, the casino potentially has the ability to lose $15 million in one evening to one player if he or she wins several hands or an entire game. If casinos are interested in high-stakes baccarat, they have to be willing to face the price if the house loses.
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