Have you heard of this new gambling game that is the key to soaring casino profits in Las Vegas? Poker has been the in-thing around here, but this new game, though not for just any betting Joe has stamped its presence in this city of casinos. As would be expected, when casinos benefit, it is usually at the expense of someone – the gambler. This time round, the game causing havoc is not online poker or poker played over real tables – it is baccarat.

What, exactly, is baccarat?

Well, call it a betting game that requires no wit or tact. It is nothing like poker in execution. You basically have the banker to deal with as the player, and all you do is play a guessing game. Of course, there is something known as standoff that you invoke once in a while, but otherwise all you need is your lady luck. And what is the form of guessing involved? Simple – indicate the banker’s hand with the highest value of money. The banker could win and you lose; you could win; or you could tie with the banker. And you play with numbered cards just like in a normal cards game.

Any other names for Baccarat…?

Yes – the game has variations and in North America it sometimes goes by the name, Punto Banco. Sometimes, too, players talk of playing chemmy, which in full is, baccarat chemin de fer. Other times when you hear of playing à deux tableaux, the players are referring to the variation, baccarat banque.

How much different is baccarat from poker?

Apart from the obvious difference that poker calls for tact in playing unlike baccarat, the participants are also significantly different. Poker is a game for anyone irrespective of their financial muscle but baccarat tends to attract only people with huge monies. The fact that they conduct their betting game in VIP rooms and not in an open hall like other betting games speaks volumes as to what caliber of players belongs to the clique.

What is the figure reported by Poker News as baccarat gamblers’ losses?

Well, it is September now and for the span of twelve months just passed, without any state laws being broken, baccarat players have lost a whopping $1.3 billion! That is a huge figure even if the loss had emanated from online gambling or betting from a brick and mortar casino. Yet this game could go on for quite some time before the number of players withdrawing in caution become noticeably big.

Compare the $1.3 billion baccarat players lost in one year with betting losses made by general gamblers in the recent past and it is easy to see the impact of baccarat in the gambling arena. This 2015 June, casinos in Nevada in entirety were able to retain just $831 million from betting activities. It is important to note that baccarat takes up relatively few casino tables.

What else is known about baccarat?

Well, baccarat is most popular with gamblers from the Asian community. Note that US poker laws and other gambling laws are not discriminatory. Anyone can participate in the betting and you can even play baccarat online just like any other form of online gambling. It is also evident that casinos are prepared to put up huge stakes for baccarat, a single bet sometimes being as huge as $250,000. However, just like in other betting activities conducted under respective state laws, casino revenues from baccarat have been on a decline in Las Vegas, with the big stake players causing a decline of 23% and the lower stake players – what they call, mini-baccarat players – causing a 34% drop.