One of the oldest games utilizing a deck of cards still played today is baccarat. It has survived the test of time and remains one of the most popular casino games. Unlikely black jack slots or keno, baccarat has a fairly low house edge which helps it remain popular among a savvier demographic.
Stereotype: Rich Man’s Game
There is a stereotype in gaming demographics that baccarat tends to be a high-roller’s game. There is plenty of truth to this, but the image is perhaps a bit overblown.
Baccarat generated more revenue for Las Vegas than any other table game last year, $1.27 billion. However, this is not because it is the most popular game. Blackjack attracts a higher number of raw participants. Baccarat owes much of its revenue successes to its appeal among affluent gamblers.
Often, the only game running in a Las Vegas high-roller lounge is baccarat. VIP rooms commonly feature very high stakes games. It is not uncommon to spot an individual wagering $10,000 a hand on baccarat.
While the house edge in baccarat is low, between 1.17-1.36%, hands can be dealt very quickly. At high stakes tables, the revenue piles up fast.
Baccarat’s distinction as a rich man’s sport is beginning to fade away. Online gamblers have helped the game reach a broader appeal since it is not pigeon-holed in an intimidating VIP room. With more players becoming acquainted with the rules of baccarat online, the game is gradually increasing in popularity with tourists gambling for lunch money on the main floors of U.S. casinos.
Income levels of baccarat players tend to be much higher on average than enthusiasts of other casino games. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, a culture of affluence surrounds the game. People think about James Bond playing it on the original Casino Royale as a symbol of upper-class behavior. Additionally, the low house edge is appealing to high net worth individuals gambling in a casino; these patrons tend to care more closely about how much of an edge they’re giving up to the casino than the average person betting snake eyes playing craps on line.
Baccarat enjoys great popularity among a middle-aged crowd and players of Asian descent. It is the dominant form of table games played at casinos in Macau. The game attracts a demographic more concerned with elegance and finer experiences. Think: cigar smoke and champagne glasses under chandeliers.
To a casual observer, baccarat appears to be serious business. However, this is just an illusion. The rules of the game leave everything out of the hands of the players; it is entirely a game of chance. So while baccarat players might possess a certain savvy affinity for high culture, at the end of the day they’re just flipping coins with playing cards whether they realize it or not.