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Macau's Lack of Craps

Atltrainman posted a comment to the MGM Grand Macau story that got me thinking a little bit. I started to post a response comment, but realized that my thoughts are a little larger than the comment format.

Atltrainman says:
"I can't believe that they don't have any Craps tables there. Is it because the dealers would have to do a lot of extreme math or is it because the odds aren't overwhelmingly in the Casino's favor?"

That's a great question. I'm not sure if either of those options is completely correct though. As you probably know, Baccarat is THE game in Macau and it has a very very low house advantage - a fraction over 1%. Sic Bo, another very popular game, has a house advantage of just under 2.8% on the basic 'High' or 'Low' bets. Roulette, which is less popular here than blackjack, has high house advantage - a little less than 5.3%. Slot Machines, which are pretty much an after thought in Macau's casinos have the highest house advantage of them all.

You'd think that the casinos would push the games with the highest house advantage. It would be a helluva lot more profitable to yank out some 1% house advantage table space and replace it with a 5% game. For whatever reason that's not the case in Macau. Baccarat is relatively easy to learn (but not to deal) and there are only three bets - Player, Banker or Tie. Compared to craps, baccarat has virtually no learning curve. Anyone who has ever tried to teach craps to noobs knows how hard it is to get the student to make the Come Out, Point, Seven Out hurdle, not to mention Come bets, odds behind the passline, Odds on your Come, parleys, buys, hardways, C&E, Field, Hop, Big 6 & 8 and so on.

Could craps' absence in Macau be caused by the lack of skilled dealers? Doubtful. Craps is surely the most difficult game to deal in the casino, the bets are multilayered, the rules, process, layout, etiquette and math is extremely complex - even nuts! Taking all that into account, I doubt that hiring people with good math skills and the patience and perserverance to learn a complex game inside and out is an obstacle. If there were demand, there would be dealer supply. There isn't any poker here either, more because of the lack of demand than anything else.

My best guess as to why craps isn't represented in Macau is probably because the game has never been effectively imported here. I'm sure if Wynn Macau installed a craps table, there would be players, the clientele is more than the Chinese. Older gambling joints like Casino Lisboa, Diamond, Waldo, Kem Pek, Golden Dragon, President, Pharaoh's Palace and all of the other casinos on the north side of Avenida de Amizade (to a lesser degree Grand Lisboa) have been catering to hardcore Chinese gamblers for 40 plus years. This slice of clientele comes to Macau to gamble with a capital GAMBLE. It's the Wynn's, Venetian's, MGM's, Galaxy's and Crown's who are aiming to transform it from gambling halls to casino resorts. You'll still get to play all the baccarat you like, but you'll also get to shop for a Gucci bag, taste couture cuisine, watch French-Canadian acrobats, have your face and ass caked in holistic mud therapy, go see a major headlining entertainer and maybe play a round or two of golf as well. When the folks who like to do that stuff equally or more than spend hours playing baccarat start coming to Macau, craps and other global casino games will begin to filter into Macau's casinos. But for now, craps, like poker, is still somewhat of an American game that has never had its opportunity here.

Another possibly plausible reason why craps hasn't caught on here is that Chinese gamblers are more interested in challenging luck and fortune than leveraging mathematics. Gamblers here fastidiously take notes on the outcome of each Sic Bo throw, Roulette spin and Bacarrat hand thinking that if one tracks the past, one will be able to gain insight into trends of luck, and will be fortunate.

What they don't know, or do know and don't care to accept, is that these games have absolutely nothing to do with history. Blackjack is the only game where historical knowledge (counting or tracking cards) can be used to gain an advantage. With Roulette, Sic Bo, Baccarat and something as simple as flipping a coin, the odds of a given outcome are the same for each hand regardless of what has happened before.

It could be Craps' complexity, lack of opportunity, lack of skilled trained workforce or psychologically incongruous to the current psychology of the Asian gambler. Most likely a combination of all.

No matter how you toss the dice, there ain't no craps tables in this town and that hella sucks.


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