Baccarat is #1

Of all the table and card games that Las Vegas casinos have to offer, one stands out as bringing in more revenue than the rest: baccarat.

In 2009, baccarat generated an astonishing 16.1 percent of all Las Vegas casino revenue, bringing in more cash for casinos than any other table game. This figure is surprising because baccarat tables are few and far between, when compared to the more plentiful and popular poker tables and blackjack card games.

The reason baccarat is such a money-winner for the casinos is because the game tends to attract high rollers. Casinos intentionally put a mysterious twist on the game, giving it a mystique that intimidates casual players. The tables are often secluded in swank, out-of-the-way corners of the casino floor, and baccarat dealers almost always wear tuxedos.

The fact is, baccarat is a simple game. The goal is to get a hand that adds up to as close to 9 as possible, without going over. Anyone can play once they learn the rules, because there is absolutely no skill involved. Statistically, the game has a very low house edge – about 1.1 percent, which is quite reasonable when compared to 5.26 for roulette, or even the 2 percent house edge that unskilled blackjack players can pull. Generally speaking, the odds of winning a baccarat hand are very nearly the same as the odds of winning a coin toss: about 50-50.

Baccarat might bring more revenue for the casinos, but for players, blackjack in Las Vegas is still the most “beatable” table game. Experienced players can come very close to bring the house edge to zero. In fact, players who have mastered blackjack card counting systems can even tip the odds in their favor. Casinos, of course, know this very well, so they keep a sharp eye out for blackjack card counters. Perhaps the next study should look at which table game loses the most money for Vegas casinos – it could well be blackjack!