A novel side bet for baccarat, known as “Small 6/Big 6”, has been introduced in Macau’s casino market. Currently, this new betting option is available in both the mass and high-limit areas of MGM China Holdings Ltd and Wynn Macau Ltd properties. The “Small 6/Big 6” side bet provides enticing payouts for winning bets but is expected to increase the overall house edge, according to investment analysts and gaming research experts.

The side bet offers a payout of 22 to 1 for a winning ‘banker’ hand valued at six composed of two cards and a payout of 50 to 1 for a three-card ‘banker’ hand with the same value.

In early May, during mainland China’s five-day holiday, GGRAsia reported that ‘Small 6/Big 6’ was already available at casinos operated by Sands Macao Ltd and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. At that time, there was no indication of this bet being offered at MGM Macau, MGM Cotai, Wynn Macau downtown, or Wynn Palace in the Cotai district.

During site checks this week, it was noted that MGM China properties have now implemented the side bet on their baccarat tables, marked by a tiger head illustration on the baize. In Singapore’s casino market, this bet is known as ‘Small Tiger/Big Tiger,’ as indicated by a document from Singapore’s Gambling Regulatory Authority. In a recent note, Citigroup suggested that this side bet could enhance the hold rates for operators in Macau.

Higher House Edge, Better Gameplay Experience

Ryan Ho, a gaming research specialist, provided further insights: “Statistically, the Small Tiger side bet exhibits a house edge of 14.33 percent, while the Big Tiger side bet demonstrates a slightly higher house edge of 15.25 percent.” For context, the average monthly statewide hold percentage for baccarat in Nevada from 2004 to this year is 12.73 percent, according to the University of Nevada Las Vegas Center for Gaming Research.

Ho also compared the new side bet to another popular baccarat side bet, noting: “For the Lucky Six bet in Macau, the edge is around 16.68 percent.” He added, “In practice, it is often observed that the hold surpasses the theoretical edge, and this can vary depending on the popularity of the betting options among players.”

Ho further explained that the perceived advantages and attractive payouts of these side bets are drawing players’ interest. He noted: “Based on my discussions with frontline operations [staff], it appears that players are being drawn to the perceived advantages of these bet options, particularly due to the attractive payouts and the option to hedge their ‘player’ bets by placing wagers on ‘Tiger’ bets. These factors contribute to the appeal and popularity of these betting options among players.”

The ‘Small 6/Big 6’ side bet is currently available on all tables in the high-limit baccarat play area of MGM Macau, which is equipped with ‘smart’ gaming tables. This side bet is also available on many tables at MGM Cotai across both mass and high-limit areas. At Wynn Macau’s Encore Casino, a high-limit baccarat zone, the ‘Small 6/Big 6’ bet is offered on all baccarat tables. Similarly, at Wynn Palace in the Cotai district, the Diamond Club high-limit baccarat area also features this side bet option.

The introduction of the ‘Small 6/Big 6’ side bet in Macau’s casino market signifies a strategic move by operators to enhance gaming experiences while potentially increasing house advantages. As players become more familiar with the appealing payouts and strategic possibilities, this side bet is likely to gain popularity in the region’s vibrant gaming scene.