This article first appeared in the Nov/Dec 2010 issue of World Gaming magazine.
The Dragon has been playing in casinos more than 20 years, much of it in VIP rooms all by himself, so he doesn’t see much of the other high rollers. After one particularly long playing session The Dragon got chatting to a senior casino executive about his ‘fellow Dragons’. The casino executive insisted on anonymity so let’s call him Mr X. The conversation started in the VIP room but The Dragon was able to drag Mr X out after his shift to an all-night drinking session in a little-known dark bar amongst Macau’s winding back streets. Let’s listen in on their conversation.
The Dragon:So what sort of level does a player need to be betting before he starts getting the royal treatment? $10k a hand? $20k a hand? More?
Mr X: At our property, $10k and above starts the ‘curiosity’ going. Normally, we already know who the other ‘Dragons’ are prior to them commencing play as we would’ve been notified by other departments like the cage, or junket operators. But sometimes new big players just turn up and start playing completely unannounced.
D: So what do you offer the really big players? Hotel suites of course, but what about nights out, rounds of golf, travel, shopping? Do they get all that?
X: Yep, all of the above depending of their level of play and turnover.
D: What’s the strangest request you’ve had from a high rolling baccarat player?
X: It’s always about the dealer. Apart from no male, no female, no spectacles, not pregnant, young girls, no breaks, specific hair colour, eye colour, and many more, none that I could recall off the top of my head!
D: What’s the average age of the really big players?
X: It’s usually mid 30s to late 50s. The late 40s seems to be the average.
D: Of course most of them would be men, right?
D: Do you ever see female high rollers on baccarat?
X: Yes of course, but only a minority.
D: What’s the biggest betting you’ve seen from a woman?
X: HK$100k a hand.
D: That’s a decent amount, but it’s certainly not massive compared to the men. So do the big players generally bring entourages?
X: The majority of them do. They normally come in groups of two or three. Sometimes more.
D: How do they get to Macau? Any special ways?
X: No just the same as everyone else: the border gate, ferry and the airport (in that order).
D: What restaurants do they like to eat in? Are there any special restaurants loaded up with high rollers?
X: No specific places. Shark fin must be on the menu though. Outside of our casino restaurants ‘Sun Tou Tou’ in Taipa village is a popular one.
D: When they get here, what non-gambling pursuits do the really big players like to indulge in?
X: Well saunas and karaoke are both very popular!
D: What’s the biggest win you’ve seen a big high roller take down in one trip? What were they betting and how long did it take?’
X: It was a junket gaming of course, and the guy won nearly HK$60 million. He was averaging HK$1.5 million a hand for two days straight.