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The Baccarat Superstitions of Chinese Gamblers in Macau Casinos

The game of baccarat is not just connected to James Bond anymore. It is considered the game of choice from gamblers from Hong Kong and mainland China. Both groups of players composed the majority of gamers in Macau and they bring some one-of-a kind supertitious rituals with them to the baccarat table that you would not usually see in Las Vegas casinos.

Chinese baccarat players usually tightly squeeze their cards between their fingers and slowly look at their hand by lifting the vertical part of the card enough to see the number and suit, then turn it horizontally to take a look at it again. This action, although it creases the cards and making it unusable for another round, are tolerated by Macau casinos. Chinese players do this ritual in the hope of getting a total of nine or close to nine.

Some Chinese baccarat players even blow on their cards, hoping to blow away bad luck. Scott Milburn, the vice president of casino table games at the City of Dreams, said that players firmly believe that they can change the outcome of a hand with these superstitions.

A gaming professor at the Macau Millennium College who studies the cultural history of gambling, Ray Rody, said on March 26th, 2010 that a typical Chinese player is usually superstitious. He said that superstitious nature is on display at the game of baccarat. Usually, one player is given a pair of cards and other players at the baccarat table can pick to wager with or against that player.

Rody said that Chinese baccarat gamblers like to wager with a player when they are winning and against a player when they are losing because they firmly believe in the luck of other gamblers as well as their own luck.

He said that Chinese players look for patterns of three or more wins for the player or the banker and then wager for a fourth or fifth straight wins. He added that the players who believe in this kind of luck walk around the casino searching for baccarat tables showing a particular trend.

The City of Dreams has placed computer monitors at the baccarat table to help players keep track of gaming trends. The computer monitors show a chart of who won the last twenty or thirty games at that baccarat table. If a pattern starts showing, that gaming table will likely attract a large crowd.

Baccarat accounts for majority of the casino revenues in Macau. According to the latest statistics of the government available from 2008, baccarat contributed 86% of Macau's total gambling revenues, earning $11.8 billion dollars.

The other reason why gamblers love baccarat is because it is considered the casino game that has the best odds againt the casino. Rody said that a player who places a "banker wager" in the game has the best chances with a 1.06% statistical disadvantage. A "player wager" has less favorable odds with 1.24% disadvantage against the casino.

Rody said that baccarat is the best choice for a casino gambler if they want their gambling money to last long because most casino table games feature a 3% disadvantage for the player or a 3% advantage for the casino.

Scott Milburn said that baccarat is their main draw at their casino. He said that 70% of their gaming floor are reserved for the game. Milburn said that he has seen VIP baccarat players win or lose between seven million dollars to ten million dollars daily.


Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Kate Foster

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