Ever Wanted to Experience the World of the “Whale”?

March 17, 2017 — by Industry Contributions



Ever Wanted to Experience the World of the “Whale”?

March 17, 2017 — by Industry Contributions

By Sam Forrest, Director of Global Communications at KamaGames

In a high class, sophisticated casino in the 1960’s, Sylvia Trench sits at a Baccarat table. Luck is not on her side and so after losing 3 hands in a row, she decides to up the stakes. “I admire your courage Miss…” says the tuxedo wearing stranger across the table…“Trench, Sylvia Trench, I admire your luck… Mr…?” he lights a cigarette and replies with the line that will become synonymous around the world with, action, adventure, sophistication and cool…

“…Bond, James Bond”

In Sean Connery’s first appearance as Ian Fleming’s super spy James Bond in the 1962 film Dr. No, the movie opens with 007 playing Baccarat Chemin de fer. Chemin de fer was the original version of Baccarat dating back to when it was first introduce to France in the early 1400’s and was a favourite amongst French Royalty. The same version is still the most popular there today.

From French Royalty to the modern day “Whales” as they are known, Baccarat has always been a firm favourite of the serious player. In casino circles, a Whale would be a player that has a credit line of between $1,000,000 and $20,000,000 USD and often leaves the tables either millions of dollars up or millions of dollars down.

In 1960, British Aristocrat Lord “Lucky” Lucan won £26,000 (£540,000+ by today’s standards) over two nights playing ‘Chemmy’ at a high-end gambling party run by John Aspinall. However, Lucan’s luck would soon run out and he would eventually accrue significant debts.

Today, Baccarat remains the game of choice for whales with casinos around the world treating these handful of players as if they were royalty. These players are provided with access to private yachts to entertain guest, and to private Lear jets to take them to the casinos in Macau or Las Vegas. They are given the best suites, able to meet celebrities that no one else would ever meet, go to the best shows, the best parties and of course a seven figure line of credit at the tables.

The cost to the casino of such treatment is of course astronomical, stretching into the tens of millions of dollars, but this is just a fraction of what a single whale could spend at the tables. A recent article in Executive Style told of a real estate tycoon, Harry Kakavas, who gambled a staggering $1.5 billion in a year. At any one time he was placing bets of $300,000 a hand on the Baccarat tables up until he became over $30 million in debt. On another occasion Kakavas lost $2.3 million in less than 30 minutes.

Other Whales include The Sultan of Brunei who during his secret trips to Vegas, London and Macao was known to often play a million dollars plus in a night.

Australian media tycoon Kerry Packer is well known across the Whale community who once had $15 million placed across four different roulette tables and lost it all. He did also have more successful nights where he won $20 million in one night and then went on to tip the staff a cool million doing it – now that’s one generous Whale.

Finally, there is Akio Kashiwagi. Kashiwagi is most famous for almost making Donald Trump broke, at a time when the now US President was struggling. Over two nights Kashiwagi took over $6 million from Trump, although Trump managed to get him back on a double or nothing bet. After losing the $6 million back and a further $4 million on top of that Kashiwagi left defeated.

So how is it played?

There are a number of variations of Bacarrat but for the sake of simplicity we will go with standard Punto Banco when explaining how to play the game. Two hands are dealt face up by the house dealer, the “banker” hand and the “player” hand. Before the hands are dealt, bets may be placed on either the banker hand winning, on the player hand winning, or on a tie.

Here’s where the value of the cards come into play:

Cards count as face value, with picture and 10’s as 0 and Aces as 1. If the value of your two cards are over 10 then only the last digit of the total counts (so that for example 7 plus 6 is worth 3, not 13). Players draw a third card if their cards total 0-5.

A natural win can occur if the value of the two cards dealt to the player or banker total 8 or 9. Once all cards are dealt it is time to find out who has the winning hand.


There is no doubt that Baccarat’s popularity is on the rise with more and more people learning how to play both at casino tables and via online social casino apps such as Baccarist.

Baccarist has been developed in close partnership with professional consultants from Macau, and comes from the same studio that created the hugely popular social casino hit Pokerist.

The game is incredibly simple to pick up and play but hugely challenging to master as you start to learn the game of Baccarat’s strategic and statistical depth and that it’s not just a game of luck and chance.

Baccarist takes full advantage of shared login giving players a single game account which allows them to access their player profile seamlessly across KamaGames‘ entire suite of social casino titles including Pokerist, Roulettist and Blackjackist.

KamaGames’ Baccarist is available to download for free from both App Store and Google Play so why not give it a try? We may not be able to give you a licence to kill but you’ll certainly have some fun at the table.

To try Baccarist for free, click on this link:

Sam Forrest is Director of Global Communications at KamaGames. Sam has worked in the industry for over 2 decades in PR and Communications roles in leading games publishers and developers such as SCi, THQ and Jagex.


Industry Contributions