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A Plea For The Big Table at Cosmo

By MikeE on Saturday, 13th November 2010 1:14am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 6


There's no question baccarat is growing in popularity. Pure luck, no skill, and a low house edge - what's not to love? The public's demand for the game has made casinos dedicate more and more floor space for it, especially in its quick, low-limit mini variant.

But if you've ever researched baccarat, the first thing you'll read won't likely be about its odds, its minimums, or its variants. No. The first thing you'll read is about its allure. It seems that that's all people care about - some Romantic image of tuxes, evening gowns, fur boas, and martinis.

This day in age, that couldn't be further from the truth.

So perhaps the game was too intimidating for its own good. Putting aside this Romantic notion of what was, a big table with three croupiers and ten players sitting around an oval is, in fact, an intimidating site for most. And it was this intimidation that has increased the popularity of mini baccarat - a game appealing to the Jean Scott's of the world who, after having watched so many Travel Channel reruns, play "just to pass the time" in a break-even-post-comps strategy.

Bull. Shit.

The cliché is to say that Las Vegas wasn't built on winners, but dammit, I know that my hunch and gut feeling can overcome a measly 1% house advantage. I play with my heart. I gamble. Yes, I'm the casino's favorite kind of customer. But you know what? I've had more fun in one hour of casino time than Bob Dancer's probably had in his gambling career. This is what baccarat, especially the big table, is all about.

Midi baccarat is a nice compromise to the real deal - a mini table that lets you touch the cards. But still, if you've ever been on the receiving end of a hot craps role, double that thrill, and that's what it feels like to turn over a natural nine on the banker when the entire big table is betting stacks of banana chips and the pit bosses are sweating the action.

Sadly, there are only two casinos that you're guaranteed to find a big table running at all hours of the day: Wynn and Bellagio. The rest have them tucked away in private rooms or staff the ones on the floor during big tournaments only. So with that said, I make my plea to Cosmopolitan:

Your rooms have kitchens and balconies. Your stores are unique to Las Vegas. You've managed to drum up enough hype behind your product without one of the world's biggest gaming corporations or Steve Wynn's name backing you. You've done *everything* right before opening. Now, all I ask is that you bring another big table baccarat game to the strip. Bring back the romance of the game and let your casino hosts run with it. There's enough of a niche out there to flock to your gaming floor for it.

Tagged: cosmopolitan   baccarat   


Comments & Discussion:

Seems like this will be a no brainer, six of their bars are named after James Bond for martini's sake.

Excellent request. I think your explanation/rationale is dead-on. I say they should "feature" a full table right in the heart of the casino and make it available 24/7.

Mike, your plea really illuminates the table game mix study I'm working on--when I finish it (probably after next week, because of G2E), I'll post a link here.

If they can get the clientele to play them, there's no reason why they wouldn't have them.

I'm trying to get a preview of what the casino will be like--I'll put "bacc play?" on my list of questions.

MikeE, the problem is that the Asian players (in general) just don't like the big game. Most find it too slow. To quote a favorite pit-boss; the big game (big baccarat) is "white-boy" baccarat. Yes, the Asian players do like to face the cards (Macao-style midi-baccarat); but the moving of the shoe and dealing is just not their thing. (and the shuffle time between shoes really slows things down... something I sort of like.. but, I also believe "less action is more action ") -- It's basically the 'normalization' or 'expansion' of Asian gaming that basically has led to the demise of the big game. Properties now attract a huge amount of 'mid-level' Asian players who want 'fast-action.' At least, that's my opinion. The vast majority of MY baccarat play is now at the big baccarat table at Bally's AC which is a flashback to the 80's/90's glamour of the game (well, heck, with exception to the fact that it's in high-limit room at Bally's). Unfortunately, they use $25 chips (instead of $20's); but other than that, it's about as 'old-school authentic' of a baccarat experience you'll find left in the United States.

The lack of big tables in Vegas is, like everything, a financial decision as much as anything else. The problem is that a big baccarat table consumes a large amount of resources (floor space and labor) for a game with low demand that generates a relatively tiny number of hands per hour, at a low edge.

Baccaratguy is absolutely right, there are very few players left that will ONLY play the big table, and the only ones worth setting it up for are the ones who are going to bet more than $1000/hand. Wynn and Bellagio know these players by name, and the list is not really growing.

These days most baccarat players are more than willing and in fact would actually prefer to play at a midi table. Sure if the casino set up a big table with $25-$100 minimums some players would prefer to play at it, but at no real benefit to the casino. They know they can get most of those same players with the same limits to sit at a mini or midi table, which consume fewer resources per hand and generate more hands per hour.

You might have a chance convincing Cosmo to do it just to reinforce their image of being "not for everyone" - but only if they can justify writing off the difference in incremental revenue as a marketing expense, which might be a stretch over the long term.

I agree with you MikeE that big table baccarat is very entertaining. And as a caucasian American I am AOK with it being a white boy game - hell when you have the munchies now after midnight you are limited to rice and noodles in every high limit room in vegas. I believe there would be adequate though not overwhelming demand for the big table game with $100 minimums. And if they fill the table with a sociable crowd the casino will do fine and the customer will have a good experience and return. I don't enjoy the mini table game at all. The midi game is OK because at least you get to handle the cards. That game does attract a lot of asians and is not sociable as they generally only speak to one another and often not in English. The game will never attact many non-asians if the only game offered is a fast midi game with the table almost totally dominated my non-communicative asian players. So here is hoping for the big table comeback.

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