For decades, baccarat was a mysterious game known only to millionaires. It was played in ritzy high-roller pits, and the minimum bet was $20. Even with such low stakes, the game could be a little risky — but not so much that it discouraged the late Akio Kashiwagi from accepting a $12 million challenge to play until he lost or won the money from a casino.
But baccarat isn’t just for the rich anymore, thanks to online casinos and more reasonable table minimums on the actual casino floor. You can now play baccarat at many online casinos for only $20 per hand and you don’t have to wear a tuxedo to do it.
The game is simple – you bet on the “Player” or “Banker” and let the dealer do the rest. The object is to get the winning hand closer to nine than the other. If the two cards add up to a number more than nine, the first digit is dropped. For example, a seven and a six would count as 13, but a three because tens, jacks, queens, and kings count as zero while aces count as one.
Baccarat’s illustrious history has made it an international brand with significant business in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. The company won medals at the Exposition Universelle in 1867 and at other exhibitions. Its glassworks were prized for their prismatic lustre, which reflects a range of colours depending on the position and direction of light. The company also designed table services and drinkware for royal palaces and other wealthy clients.
Today, casinos around the world rely on baccarat for a significant share of their revenue. Last year, Macau’s 40 casinos made 88 percent of their $33.2 billion in gross gaming revenue from baccarat. Likewise, Singapore’s casinos earn a large percentage of their profits from the game, and even in Las Vegas, where the game doesn’t attract nearly as much international attention, it generates 18 percent of total casino win.
As a result, it’s important for baccarat manufacturers to be creative in boosting the game’s appeal. Often, these efforts involve adding side bets that make it more interactive. They may also include rethinking the layout of the tables to make them more inviting.
The re-imagined tables are often single tables instead of double and they can have more streamlined betting limits. The games are also being offered on mobile devices, which means that players can enjoy them anywhere they have an internet connection.
However, there is one big thing that Baccarat manufacturers have not rethought: The game is still a volatile affair, and its volatility can be unprofitable for some operators. That’s especially true if they don’t have enough volume or deep pockets to support the higher bets needed for premium segment baccarat. This is why it’s important for operators to astutely evaluate their financial situation, risk tolerance, and strategy when deciding how to market the game.