Baccarat in Macau
The game of Baccarat was first introduced in Europe over 500 years ago. In the time since then, its popularity has spread around the world. People from all over the world flock to casinos in the U.S., Europe, and Asia to play Baccarat. Once the exclusive dominion of high rollers, the advent of Mini-Baccarat has opened the door for the average player to enjoy this game of kings.
Nowhere is this surge in popularity more evident than in the casinos of Macau – also known as “The Monte Carlo of the Orient – where it is estimated that the game of Baccarat was responsible for generating a staggering 72% of casino revenues in 2010. Even though Macau is tiny – about 11.5 sq. miles with a population of 544,600 people – it is home to 33 casinos. In fact, in 2006, Macau beat Las Vegas as the #1 gambling destination in the world.
Why is Macau such a popular gaming destination? And why is Baccarat the overwhelming choice for Chinese gamers? To answer the first question, Macau is the only place in China where casinos are legal, so it’s no surprise that so many people flock here. Macau started out as a Portuguese colony in the 1500s, and the Portuguese government declared gambling legal in the 1850s so gambling has a long history here. But why is Baccarat in particular so popular? There are several probable reasons. As is the case in other parts of the world, Baccarat appeals to the high rollers with money to burn. And as a game shrouded in ritual, it appeals to Chinese players, who tend to be quite superstitious. Baccarat is also well known to have one of the lowest house edges of any of the table games, and that is a factor in its favor as well.
If you’re wondering why so many people are at the casinos when online gaming is always an option, it’s because it can’t compare to the highly charged atmosphere and excitement of a casino. Walk around a casino in Macau and you’ll see players engaging in rituals unique to the Chinese gambler. It’s not unusual to see people deliberately walking among the tables to see exactly which one they want to play at. At the tables, players will crease the corners of their cards to see what numbers they were dealt. They might also blow on the cards to “blow away” bad luck. Just like at a craps table in Las Vegas, if a Baccarat table in Macau is doing well, it will be packed with people enthusiastically cheering. And if a run of good luck ends, you’ll hear players commiserating in sympathy.
One interesting thing to note is that while Macau has its own currency – the Macanese pataca (MOP) – casinos will only accept Hong Kong dollars (HKD). Why is this? It is because locals rarely frequent the casinos in Macau, and government employees are actually forbidden from gambling here. The overwhelming majority of gamblers here are from Hong Kong, or mainland China.
If you’re looking for excitement and thrills on a grand scale, look no further than the Baccarat tables in Macau.