The Most Popular Casino Game For High Rollers

Posted on March 23rd, 2009

A High Roller is a player that wagers big at High Limit Tables. Most of them flock to Vegas or Macau, of course, but a good percentage of them also play online given that the betting limits have increased over the years. To be labelled a High Roller, you´d have to bet upwards of $1 million on a session (to be called a “Whale”) or $100,000 to $250,000 on a visit (to be called a Premium Player).

This kind of money is just fantasy land for most of us, but we thought it would be interesting to talk a little bit about the types of games that these punters play. We figure they must have some angle on the casinos, if they are playing with this level of loot.

Well, if you are turning over this kind of money at the casino, the payout of the game becomes very important. There´s no sense playing a progressive slots jackpot, for example, if you are waiting for a big win- the odds are too low to be playing for the big one.

The Payout is a measure of the amount of money that the casino puts into the winnings pool. All casinos take a % of the bets to run their business (this is the house ede). The rest goes into a pool to pay the winners. The higher the house edge, the lower the payout. That much you should already know….let´s move on to the “science”.

Payout varies by casino, so the first thing High Rollers will check, is the overall “average” payout of the casino. You have to be a bit careful here, as the payout also varies by game. Blackjack has a better payout than roulette, for example. Roulette has a better payout than slots.

So the overall payout will also depend on the mix of games that is played at a casino. So if you are playing at a casino that specialises in blackjack- it is more than likely that the overall payout will be higher than a casino specialising in slots. But that doesn´t necessarily mean the individual games payout numbers are better.

To be really sure, you need to compare the payouts of the individual games. Just send the casino an email- they should have audited payouts and be able to tell you the information quickly. They might even be published online (actually, this is one of our checks when we review a casino. If they publish their payouts and a third party audits the payouts, this gets them points. And points mean prizes of course.

So what do high rollers play? Well, as we said- blackjack pays out well. Depending on the type of blackjack you are playing and the number of decks of cards in the shoe, you can achieve a payout of up to 99.8% if you play to a perfect strategy (which high rollers invariably do).

But the problem with blackjack, is that it is a relatively slow game as there are quite a few rounds in each hand. High Rollers like fast games, as often their overall strategy (Kerry Packer used to employ this to great effect) is a “hit and Run”. Bet big. Win big quickly, and then do a runner with your spoils before the casino has time to claw back your winnings with its advantage.

Imagine the casino has given you a leaky bucket with which to store your bankroll. You are trying to fill the bucket up from the top, but at the same time money is dripping out of the bottom as the house edge takes its toll. The longer you keep your money in the leaky bucket, the more of it drips out into the casino´s coffers. If you win big and manage to slosh 50 litres in there, get the water out of the leaky bucket as quickly as you can!

So the game of choice? Baccarat. Not only has this game been built up over the years as the glamour star of the casino by the likes of James Bond and Co., it also offers a good payout (although not as good as blackjack.) BUT, it´s a fast game- so you can get in and get out taking Steve Wynn´s shirt with you.

You´ve got a choice of 3 bets in baccarat. The player wins, the banker wins or a tie. The odds are as follows:

Player 98.64%
Dealer: 98.83%
Tie: 85.66%

We don´t need to tell you to avoid the tie bet.

For any baccarat newbies out there, the aim of Baccarat is to predict whether the player’s or the dealer’s hand will be the closest to 9 or result in a tie. Once you have placed a bet on the 3 possible outcomes (player wins or dealer wins or tie) you and the dealer are dealt two cards. Simple! 

The value of ten & face cards = 0, aces = 1. The largest score is 9, if a hand total is more than 9 and goes into double figures you only count only the last digit so 14 becomes 4.

So next time you have 3 million sloshing around your back pocket, head for the baccarat tables……

Other famous baccarat players, apart from Kerry Packer, include Akio Kashiwagi who rose to fame through a record breaking win of $6 milion in Atlantic City which he achieved through betting up to astonishing $200,000 per hand. And Tommy Renzoni, known by some as the Godfather of Baccarat started off in Havana, Cuba in the 50s, where he spent hours watching customers play the Cuban version of Baccarat, Punto Banco. Renzoni transferred the game to Las Vegas,  to the Sands Casino which opened the first US Baccarat pit. And let´s not forget Michael Jordan, Jackie Chan,  Lyle Stewart (who has won the baccarat world championship many times, and is considered the leader in baccarat strategy) and Frank Scoblete: author of The Baccarat Battle Book.


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