EZ Baccarat sets North American record for tables at Commerce Casino

February 12, 2024 7:44 PM
Photo: Commerce Club
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
February 12, 2024 7:44 PM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports

EZ Baccarat set a North American record for active baccarat tables Saturday on Lunar New Year at Commerce Casino & Hotel.

After breaking the record in February 2023 at Commerce Casino with 140 tables in use at once, the southern California property used all 153 on the cardroom floor on Saturday.

EZ Baccarat is no-commission baccarat with more than 750 table games installed in more than 145 casinos worldwide. It was co-created by Robin Powell and Francisco “TJ” Tejeda of Talisman Group and was the first to introduce avatars; Panda 8 and Dragon 7 side bets/avatars were incorporated into the game in 2012.

“It’s quite a benchmark,” said Tejeda, who was on hand at Commerce to witness it. “We like to believe this brand is really powerful in the market and continues to get traction and here’s proof of that. That’s an enormous amount of baccarat games under one roof.”

Tejeda said the record was set on the Lunar New Year celebrated by the Asian community in a southern California casino that specializes in baccarat.

“You must gamble on New Year’s, because Asians believe that they can do away with the bad fortune from the year prior,” Tejeda said. “They increase their chances of having good fortune for the year to come if they win that evening and in the upcoming days.”

Since this is the Year of the Dragon, the luckiest and most powerful of the Chinese Zodiac symbols, many more were out playing than normal, Tejeda said.

Commerce officials promote that the largest baccarat casino in the Western Hemisphere with more EZ Baccarat tables than any other casino worldwide.

“We could have used 30 more EZ tables,” said Kym Sleezer, senior director of casino operations, “Never have there been 153 proprietary table games in action at one time in North America.”

Commerce CEO Jeff Harris said the growth of tables has been one of their players’ initiatives coming out of the pandemic. They’ve gone from 270 games to more than 350.

“We’re giving the players and rest of the community the games they’ve been asking for and amenities that go with them,” Harris said.

Sleezer said they added more tables due to the excitement level among players for EZ Baccarat and they expect to continue to set more records as they expand in the future.

“Baccarat is a Chinese-based game and within a 10-mile radius around us is a very large Asian community,” Sleezer said.

Harris said Los Angeles has a large Asian demographic in general that celebrates the Lunar New Year and that means a cross-section of play, not only from ethnic Chinese players, but the entire ethnic Asian marketplace.

“We were the first card club in California to spread the game back in 2009,” Harris said. “The demand is still strong. It’s not the only baccarat game we have on the floor, but it’s by far the most popular. We owe a bunch of our success to the quality of that game.”

While other games have similar payouts and bonus bets, EZ Baccarat is a great brand and product, Harris said.
“Our job is to give players what they want and they have spoken very strongly about the game they prefer. EZ Baccarat is by far our players’ favorite game. They ask for it by name.”

Last fall, EZ Baccarat introduced a new progressive and announced Galaxy Gaming took over the distribution rights in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and the United Kingdom.