This article first appeared in the Mar/Apr 2011 issue of World Gaming magazine.
Late last year Ms Qin was crowned ‘King of Baccarat’ at The Venetian Macao, earning her not only the prestigious title but also a million dollar pay-day. Is this the beginning of the baccarat tournament revolution?
Following the immense success of the ‘King of Slots’ tournament, the next logical step was a ‘King of Baccarat’ tournament. The Venetian Macao, The Sands Macao and The Plaza Macao, three of Macau’s best-known casinos, offered their players the chance to vie for the title and hit huge prize money along the way.
This tournament demonstrated yet again why joining the rewards clubs at your favourite casino is a good idea. Only members of the Sands Rewards Club were able to play the ‘King of Baccarat’ tournament. Casino player clubs treat loyal players well with a huge array of promotions and giveaways and of course the everyday rewards that come with being a member. For this particular promotion players who earned a certain number of points were invited to the tournament. All players had to do was present their player cards to the dealer every time they played. The promotion ran over a few months so there was more than enough time to earn enough points to be invited. The heats were held at all three casinos and The Sands and The Plaza held the semi-finals.
The grand final was held at The Venetian, which provided the perfect setting for all the drama and excitement that a final table brings. With HK$1 million at stake, the tension was palpable. A huge crowd gathered to watch the luck of the final nine players swing back and forth. Finally the ‘King of Baccarat’ emerged, and the champion raised her giant check of HK$1 million! What a rush it must be to win a life-changing amount of money and a title that every serious baccarat player dreams about.
Tournament gaming and especially tournament baccarat is the next big thing to hit Macau and the wider world of Asian gaming. Poker was rejuvenated by the tournament structure and virtually overnight tournaments turned poker into a multi-billion dollar business that was watched and played by millions. The same may be in store for baccarat. Tournaments create incredible excitement, pressure and competitiveness, require a new set of skills and most importantly afford the opportunity to turn something small into something very big. Baccarat tournaments have been around longer than most people think and it is only a matter of time before the concept booms in Asia and the rest of the gaming world.
The ‘King of Baccarat’ series has been held since 2008 and is run in the last quarter of the year. There is no reason why it shouldn’t run again this year so get your hands on a Sands Rewards Card and you secure your invitation for the 2011 series. As the Macau gaming market matures we here at World Gaming expect to see plenty more baccarat tournaments, and plenty more player reward promotions offered. You can be sure we will follow all the action so for all the latest keep reading World Gaming magazine and visit our website at www.wgm8.com.