Baccarat – The Casino Game of Choice For High Rollers
Baccarat is the casino game of choice for high rollers. It is a simple table game with no specialized skills or strategies, and generates more money than any other table game in the world, according to Forbes. In 2017 alone, Macau casinos generated more than 88 percent of their $33.2 billion in revenue from baccarat.
Baccarat is a card game that can be played by up to 14 players at once, with six seats on each side of the dealer and one seat at the head of the table reserved for the croupier (dealer). Eight 52-card packs are shuffled together in a dealing box called a shoe, which holds the cards until the croupier is ready to deal. The croupier then deals two hands: the Player’s hand and the Banker’s hand. The Player’s and Banker’s hands are compared to each other, with the winner being whichever hand is closest to nine.
Unlike blackjack, there are no wild cards or aces. Picture cards and Tens count as zero points, while numbered cards 2-9 are worth their face value. A ten or a nine is considered a natural and thus wins the game. The croupier will then place the winning bet in one of five areas on the table, labelled as the Player’s area, the Banker’s area, the tie bet area, and the bead plate area. Depending on the game, the bead plate may also be called the ‘cube road’, the ’dice road’, or the ’marker road’.
The baccarat tables at most major casinos feature an electronic display that displays the big road, the ‘bead plate road’ (or one of its other names), and the Player’s and Banker’s areas. Usually, the electronic display is cleared at the end of each shoe before any new roads are added.
While baccarat is a casino staple, it’s not a universal favorite among all gamblers. Some people find the game’s rules and payouts confusing, while others feel it is not fair to a bettor’s skill level. Despite these criticisms, baccarat continues to dominate the high-end gambling market in Las Vegas and Macau, where it has become the game of choice for millionaires.
As the gaming industry evolves and the casino patron base shifts, can baccarat survive? Snow believes so. He says the game can thrive even in a mass segment, as long as operators make astute decisions about how to balance their VIP and mass business and what limits to set. Ultimately, he says that baccarat’s staying power is a result of its ability to attract wealthy, influential patrons and the excitement they get from it. He cites the popularity of the 1957 French heist film Bob le Flambeur, in which main characters James Carter and Genevieve meet while playing the game. The movie features a scene in which the pair play a game of baccarat in a Parisian nightclub. In the movie, Carter cannot afford to pay for a full-sized Baccarat table, so he and Genevieve use a baccarat machine instead and have extraordinary luck.