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Big Table Baccarat Phasing Out?

By MikeE on Wednesday, 14th October 2009 3:41am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 1


It was Memorial Day weekend, 2006. I was in Las Vegas to catch the last performance of Avenue Q at Wynn. Little did I know that would be far from my most vivid memory of the trip.

As I wandered towards the baccarat salon after the show, I noticed a commotion surrounding one of the big tables. A junket out of Hong Kong was on an epic streak of nine bankers. While nothing could ever compete with Mr. $150,000 per hand, seeing eight players betting the table's maximum and actually winning was nothing short of exhilarating (even if it meant I was going to be hurt financially come quarterly earnings time).

Fast forward today and a recent report from a friend of mine and regular baccarat player had some very alarming news: MGM's Mansion, perhaps the first true high roller haven where an entire vacation could be spent without ever coming into contact with a five-figure schlub like myself, has removed their big baccarat tables.

In the short three years since witnessing Wynn's pit crew poop themselves over the Chinese junket that made Bringing Down the House look like a weekend with Jean Scott, things have changed significantly. Big tables sit empty on weekdays, three croupiers at the ready, but nobody's interested. On weekends, $100 minimum tables (which are, dare I say, reasonable) are scarcely occupied outside of Wynn LV and Caesars. Mirage rarely opens their big tables outside of weekends and on more than one account I've heard of Asians refer to the game as "white boy baccarat" for its James Bond appeal and more recent favor with non-Asians.

On the contrary, the more efficiently run mini and midi baccarat games continue to bring in the crowds even if the minimums are just as high or, in some cases, even higher than the big tables. This begs the question: with MGM's big games completely gone and other hotels keeping them closed until known players are on property, is this the start of a demise? Will Havana's most popular game and the pastime that put Monte Carlo on the map die completely in Las Vegas?

I sure as hell hope not.



Comments & Discussion:

On a recent Sat afternoon, I asked to play Baccarat in the Mint room at the Palms and was told they had no qualified dealers available. The pit-boss recommended I go to the Bellagio.

Along similar lines, the M resort's hi limit room is only open on weekends.

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