Playing Baccarat, Chinese Style

Published March 22, 2010 by OCR Editor

Playing Baccarat, Chinese Style

Some players blow on their cards, others wear red underwear in the hope winning.

The game of baccarat is the most popular game amongst Chinese gamblers, whether they come from the mainland or from Hong Kong or Macau.

As a recent report in CNN showed, Chinese players are very superstitious about the game, which makes for some colorful viewing that can't be seen at tables in Las Vegas or Europe.

One of the superstitions is that a player will squeeze their cards tightly between their fingers, take a slow peek by lifting the vertical end ever so slightly, and then turn the card around horizontally in order to take another slow peek at the number.

The idea behind this practice, according to the report, is that it increases suspense in the hope of getting a good pair close to the coveted number 9.

However, those hoping to export the practice outside of Macau might not have much luck. Playing with the cards in such a manner tends to crease them beyond an acceptable level, something only Macau casinos are willing to allow.

Another superstition amongst Chinese players is blowing on the cards, which is believed to get rid of bad numbers.

Of course, the Chinese in general are known to be very superstitious when it comes to numbers, so it's no surprise when they apply this to gambling. Commonly used Chinese gambling superstitions include: wearing red underwear to the casino; switching on all the lights at home before heading out to gamble; and, exclusively to Baccarat, calling out the word ‘ding' in Mandarin before opening cards.

And given Baccarat's popularity amongst Chinese, it is no surprise the superstitions have worked their way over to that game. In fact, according to local government statistics, Baccarat was responsible for a huge 86 percent of Macau's total gaming revenues in 2008, at a total of $11.8 billion.

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