Baccarat in Macau

(Last updated: May 13, 2024)

Sometimes it feels like Baccarat is the only game in Macau, and one look at the numbers basically proves that it is.  In 2023, it accounted for a staggering 85% of gross gaming revenue, far outdistancing second place slots, which was way down at 6%. 

Given its obvious dominance, it’s imperative for anyone gambling in Macau to understand Baccarat, even if they don’t play the game themselves.  Optimal strategy is exceptionally easy to learn, as are the two Baccarat variants.

Baccarat in Macau: Baccarat Variations

In the past there were as many as 5 different Baccarat games in Macau, but it’s not as complicated anymore.

Baccarat: Standard Baccarat is the only Baccarat in town where you have to pay a 5% Commission on Banker wins.  In the large casinos these tables are reserved for high rollers only, and you might not even see one on the main gaming floor, only in VIP or Premium Mass, where minimums invariably start from $1000 to $5000 a hand. 

Bet the Banker every time when playing Baccarat since it results in a lower house edge than the Player Bet, 1.06% vs 1.24%.

Commission Free Baccarat: In exchange for not having to pay a 5% commission on any Banker win, won Banker bets totaling 6 pay 1/2. 

When playing Commission Free Baccarat, you should bet the Player every time, because that house edge is lower than the Banker’s, 1.24% vs. 1.46%. 

Commission Free Baccarat has become the dominant version of Baccarat in town, particularly on the Cotai Strip.

Baccarat in Macau: Baccarat Natural

Baccarat in Macau: What to Watch Out For

Quite simply, the side bets, because they’re all bad. 

The latest one is the Lucky 6 bet, which is now so widespread that it’s just as popular as the Pair and Tie bets. 

Lucky 6 pays 12-1 if the Banker wins on 2 card total of 6, and 20-1 if the Banker wins on a 3 card total of 6. 

That results in a high house edge of 16.68%, which is in the same neighbourhood as the Tie (14.36%) and Player/Banker Pair (10.36%) bets.

Baccarat in Macau

You can also individually bet on the Dealer winning with a two card 6, which pays 22-1, or a three card 6, which pays 50-1.  As with the other bets already noted, the house edges are both atrocious: 14.33% (2 card) and 16.68% (3 card).

MGM is also allowing players to take Baccarat insurance in their high limit lounges at MGM Macau and MGM Cotai.  Here are the different bets available, along with payouts.

After someone has wagered on the Banker, and 4 cards have been revealed

After someone has wagered on the Banker, and the Player’s 3rd card has been revealed 

After someone has wagered on the Player, and 4 cards have been revealed 

After someone has wagered on the Player, and the Player’s 3rd card has been revealed 

Players can bet less than their original wager when taking insurance, but may not exceed it. 

Typically, the house edge for Baccarat insurance bets is around 14.5%.  Never hedge your bets is an old casino adage, one that rings especially true here.

Baccarat in Macau: Strategy and Advice

Baccarat is one of those mindless casino games where you don’t have to make any strategic play at all –  just drop a bet and then either win or lose. 

As such, the best strategy is to only play Baccarat, not Commission Free Baccarat, and always bet on the Banker when doing so. 

Although Baccarat has become insanely expensive on the Cotai Strip, there are still a few smaller casinos around town with $200 or $300 tables, making it a very decent and affordable game to play. 

For information about Blackjack in Macau, just click the link below! 

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