Erroneous Perceptions of Chinese Baccarat Players: Evidence from Guidebooks


  • Guihai (Samuel) Huang Macao Polytechnic Institute


Baccarat, as the most popular gambling game, is also the one to which the majority of pathological gamblers who sought help are addicted in Macau. This paper documents the cognitive distortions of Chinese Baccarat gamblers from guidebooks written by five experienced Chinese gamblers. The analyses of their descriptions of Baccarat and their observations about other Chinese gamblers show that the objective of the vast majority of Chinese Baccarat players is to make quick money rather than view Baccarat as a form of entertainment. Further, cognitive distortions—such as the gambler’s fallacy, illusion of control, illusory correlation, interpretive bias, and availability of others’ wins—are pervasive. Some erroneous perceptions have Baccarat-specific representations, such as following trends, money management tricks, and following winners. These findings may contribute to prevention/awareness education and counseling services for pathological gamblers.


Abbott, M., Binde, P., Hodgins, D., Korn, D., Pereira, A., Volberg, R., & Williams, R. (2013). Conceptual framework of harmful gambling: An international collaboration. Guelph, Ontario, Canada.: The Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre (OPGRC).

Bjerg, O. (2010). Problem gambling in poker: Money, rationality and control in a skill-based social game. International Gambling Studies, 10(3), 239-254.

Chan, C. C., & Ohtsuka, K. (2013). The clinical and social construction of the paichais of macau. Asian Journal of Gambling Issues and Public Health, 3(1), 1-11.

Chen, B. (2004). Introduction to baccarat. Taipei: DowTien Publishing Limited Corporation.

Chen, B. (2005a). Baccarat betting techniques. Taipei: DowTien Publishing Limited Corporation.

Chen, B. (2005b). Baccarat hall. Taipei: DowTien Publishing Limited Corporation.

Chen, B. (2010a). Supreme baccarat: Five-episode-eight-scale strategy. Taipei: Warmth Publishing Group.

Chen, B. (2010b). Winner takes it all--roadmap to baccarat fortune. Taipei: Warmth Publishing Group.

Dai, Z. (2010). Baccarat winning formula. Taipei: Tongyo Cultural Affairs Corporation Ltd.

Delfabbro, P. H. (2004). The stubborn logic of regular gamblers:

Obstacles and dilemmas in cognitive gambling research. Journal of Gambling Studies, 20(1), 1-21. doi:10.1023/B:JOGS.0000016701.17146.d0

Delfabbro, P. H., Lahn, J., & Grabosky, P. (2006). It’s not what you know, but how you use it: Statistical knowledge and adolescent problem gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 22(2), 179-193. doi:10.1007/s10899-006-9009-5

Dowling, N., Smith, D., & Thomas, T. (2005). Electronic gaming machines: Are they the ?crack-cocaine? of gambling? Addiction, 100(1), 33-45. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2005.00962.x

Gaboury, A., & Ladouceur, R. (1989). Erroneous perceptions and gambling. Journal of Social Behavior & Personality, 4(4), 411-420.

Goodie, A. S. (2005). The role of perceived control and overconfidence in pathological gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 21(4), 481.

Griffiths, M. D. (1994). The role of cognitive bias and skill in fruit machine gambling. British Journal of Psychology, 85(3), 351-369. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8295.1994.tb02529.x

Grosjean, J. (2007). Much ado about baccara. In S. N. Ethier, & W.

R. Eadington (Eds.), Optimal play: Mathematical studies of games and gambling (pp. 143-174). Reno: Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming, University of Nevada, Reno.

Hannum, R. C., & Cabot, A. N. (2001). Practical casino math. Reno: Institute for the Study of Gambling & Commercial Gaming, University of Nevada.

Jacobsen, L. H., Knudsen, A. K., Krogh, E., Pallesen, S., & Molde, H. (2007). An overview of cognitive mechanisms in pathological gambling. Nordic Psychology, 59(4), 347-361.

Jacobson, E. (2011). Card counting the dragon side bet in EZ baccarat. Retrieved from

Ladouceur, R., Gaboury, A., Dumont, M., & Rochette, P. (1988). Gambling: Relationship between the frequency of wins and irrational thinking. The Journal of Psychology, 122(4), 409-414. doi:10.1080/00223980.1988.9915527

Ladouceur, R., & Walker, M. (1996). A cognitive perspective on gambling. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons.

Langer, E. J. (1975). The illusion of control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 32(2), 311-328. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.32.2.311

Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (3rd ed.). USA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Resilience Centre. (2007). Annual report of 2006. (). Macau: Social Welfare Bureau.

Resilience Centre. (2008). Annual report of 2007. (). Macau: Social Welfare Bureau.

Resilience Centre. (2009). Annual report of 2008. (). Macau: Social Welfare Bureau.

Resilience Centre. (2010). Annual report of 2009. (). Macau: Social Welfare Bureau.

Resilience Centre. (2011). Annual report of 2010. (). Macau: Social Welfare Bureau.

Resilience Centre. (2012). Annual report of 2011. (). Macau: Social Welfare Bureau.

Resilience Centre. (2013). Annual report of 2012. (). Macau: Social Welfare Bureau.

Resilience Centre. (2014). Annual report of 2013. (). Macau: Social Welfare Bureau.

Roney, C. J. R., & Trick, L. M. (2003). Grouping and gambling: A gestalt approach to understanding the gambler's fallacy. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology/Revue Canadienne De Psychologie Expérimentale, 57(2), 69-75. doi:10.1037/h0087414

Scott, A. W. (1 July 2011). Fate in the cards: Understanding baccarat trends. Retrieved from

Sévigny, S., & Ladouceur, R. (2003). Gamblers' irrational thinking about chance events: The ‘double switching’ concept. International Gambling Studies, 3(2), 149-161. doi:10.1080/1356347032000142261

Shackleford, M. (2008). Baccarat card counting - effects of removing a card

Toneatto, T. (1999). Cognitive psychopathology of problem gambling. Substance use & Misuse, 34(11), 1593-1604. doi:doi:10.3109/10826089909039417

Toneatto, T., Blitz-Miller, T., Calderwood, K., Dragonetti, R., & Tsanos, A. (1997). Cognitive distortions in heavy gambling. Journal of Gambling Studies, 13(3), 253-266. doi:10.1023/a:1024983300428

Tversky, A., & Kahneman, D. (1971). Belief in the law of small numbers. Psychological Bulletin, 76(2), 105.

Zeong, L. (n.d.). Introduction to and winning tips for baccarat. Macao: n.p.