Why is Baccarat Dangerous for Casinos?

Baccarat is one of the biggest casino games in the world, yet it remains an enigma for many American casino-goers. This may be to do with its European heritage, but this hasn’t stopped it becoming extremely big business is Asia. In 2017, Macau’s casinos made an astonishing 88% of their income, some $29 billion, through baccarat alone. Likewise, Singapore’s casinos rely heavily on it, and even Las Vegas gets 18% of its revenue through the game.
Across the last twenty to thirty years, Asian high rollers have made baccarat their game of choice, which is reflected in these figures, but despite the high revenue it brings in, baccarat isn’t necessarily a game that casinos like to play.

Increased Odds Mean More Chances to Win

Baccarat is one of the lowest hold percentage games in the casino, with an average house advantage of about 1.2% on banker and player bets. The house has a much larger edge on a third bet, tie, which is over 14%, and explains why most serious players stick to player or banker. Estimates are that the risk to a casino is 100 times the average bet, meaning that for every $5,000 a player bets he has a conceivable chance of walking away with half a million, much more so than with other games. A result like this is only within two standard deviations, so it can easily happen.

Big Bets Could Mean Big Wins

These improved odds mean that baccarat players have a much higher chance of winning big at the casino’s expense. Casinos in Singapore have been known to accept bets as high as $550,000 US on a single hand, meaning that the house has the chance of both winning and losing millions in just a few hours – Steve Wynn revealed in 2017 that his casino Wynn Resorts Ltd lost $10 million in one month to baccarat players alone, stating that they had “…probably the most unique statistical anomaly in my 50 years of doing this.” This could of course be put down to a black swan event, but where baccarat is concerned the chances of these black swan events are much higher due to the favorable odds.

Baccarat is an easy game to get the hang of, especially if you have experience in other card games, and with the increased odds of players turning the tables on the casino it’s certainly worth giving it a try.