We’ve all seen them in the movies. Those eccentric millionaires and billionaires splashing the cash on blackjack and roulette, tons of beautiful women around them. Losing or winning life-changing money in a matter of seconds is a power trip for sure. But are casino high rollers the same in real life? According to a recent Merrill Lynch report, not quite. Most of the whales are in Asia nowadays and they play by their own rules.
It seems the most popular game for the big players is not poker, roulette or blackjack, but baccarat. The French card game isn’t simple, though. You bet on whether the dealer or the player will come closer to the count of nine with their cards. In baccarat, the edge of the casino is almost non-existent, which is one of the main reasons for its popularity.
According to the numbers, the game brings about 90% of the revenue in Macau – the Asian Las Vegas. Baccarat high rollers alone generate about 60% of the total revenue.
If you visit a casino and want to play, you’ll be seated with other people. Unless you brought a couple of millions. In this case, you’ll instantly get a private saloon, either in the casino or in a special VIP area.
High rollers also receive the so-called “rolling chips,” before even getting to Macau. They are mandatory and the casinos use them to track the gambling activity of the whales. They must gamble at least once, so the house actually pays rebates on money that was played.
Another difference with the big players in the movies is most of the real-life high rollers don’t bring cash. They gamble on “markers” or lines of credit given by the casino. This is common all around the globe and makes up about 65% of the play in Las Vegas.
I guess the casinos are more than willing to lend you some cash even if you don’t need it.