Every casino has an area set aside for its Chinese clientele. These areas are always characterised by their noisy, exciting atmosphere in which huddles of players stake vast amounts of cash on seemingly mystifying games with exotic-sounding names. Not for them Blackjack or roulette. They prefer Sic Bo, Pai Gow, Keno. Even the European favourite Baccarat is referred to as Punto Banco.
Western gamblers spend time and money looking for systems – strategies that allow them to turn the odds in their favour. They play games in which the casino has the smallest advantage (or house edge). This attracts them to ‘safe’ bets in games like Blackjack, where the casino advantage is around 0.5%.
The Chinese games are completely the opposite. Some of the bets in these games are the worst of any in the casino. For example, the tie bet in Punto Banco has a house edge of 14%, while in Sic Bo, for any bet other than the Big or Small bets it’s between 8 and 18%. Keno is barely more than a lottery, with extremely high casino advantages of at least 25%.
The chance of winning is clearly not the major motivator in these games. So what is it that attracts the Chinese players?
It comes down to why they play. Unlike the typical gambler, they are not necessarily seeking to get rich quick. Instead, they see it as a way to test themselves against the world. To the Chinese, luck is considered a moral attribute. If fortune is smiling on you, you are seen as blessed.
The Chinese – maybe because of Chinese society’s essentially feudal past – regard life as a gamble, so these games are just an extension of the random nature of life.
Another factor is their confidence in their own business acumen. They believe that any money lost while gambling can and will be recouped through more legitimate channels.
The Chinese attitude to gambling is far more healthy than ours in the West. It is not perceived as an immoral activity, but as a social outlet in which the individual tackles and tries to overcome improbable odds, much as life itself.
If you’re a gambler sick of trying to find that tiny margin of probability, or you just want to know if fortune is smiling upon you, perhaps you should try your hand at Sic Bo or Keno.
If you’re still not convinced to take a chance, there are plenty sites out there than can give you the low-down on these games and explain how best to tackle them. This site, for example, will explain the rules, odds and advantages for Sic Bo, Keno, Pai Gow and Punto Banco.
Change your motivation for gambling and relax a little.
Just place your bets and let fate decide if you win or lose!
By Andy Follin
Andy Follin is a dedicated leisure gambler and author of Fortune Palace, a gamblers’ advice site. He is also an ardent believer in que sera, sera – whatever will be, WILL be.