Mini Baccarat – also sometimes known as Cuban Mini Baccarat – is very common now in casinos as an alternative to the traditional big table version. In US casinos outside Las Vegas and Atlantic City, this is frequently the only version of baccarat that is offered.
Like classic Baccarat, the version known as ‘Mini Baccarat’ version it is very simple to learn and play. In fact it’s one of the easiest games in the casino. No special skills or knowledge are needed. Mini Baccarat plays by the same rules as classic Baccarat , with only minor procedural differences. The same fixed game rules apply in all casinos. Rigid conventions dictate whether to hit or stand, and everyone follows the same formula.
What’s more, like traditional baccarat it has the best odds overall of any casino game, with the lowest house edge. As with poker, the casinos make their money not by winning against the player, but by charging winners a commission.
What is Mini Baccarat?
So what is different about Mini Baccarat? Well, there are a number of factors:
- In terms of how the game itself is played, the main difference is in the role of the banker. In the classic game the players take turns at being banker and the shoe is passed between them. But in Mini-Baccarat the dealer is always the Banker and the Players never touch the cards.
- Mini baccarat is usually dealt from a six-deck shoe, whilst classic baccarat plays with 8 decks.
- Having less decks changes the odds very slightly in favor of the house on tie bets. For a 6-deck game the house edge is 1.06% on the banker bet, 1.24% on the player bet, and 14.44% on the tie. Whereas in the eight deck version the house edge is 1.06% on the banker bet, 1.24% on the player bet, and 14.36% on the tie.
- The actual dealing process is faster. In mini-baccarat, dealers handle all the cards and place them right-side-up on the table. In standard baccarat, bettors draw cards from the shoe then place them upside down on the table before making a ritual out of turning them over.
- In mini baccarat a single dealer handles the entire game, including dealing the cards, whereas the big table version will have several dealers.
- While regular baccarat is known for its huge bets, betting minimums and maximums are usually lower in the Mini game. The minimum can be as low as $2 – $5, and the maximum up to around $500.
- There are less players and a smaller table. Instead of the big table and large number of players of classic baccarat, the Mini Baccarat table is similar to a blackjack table, with just seven or sometimes nine places for players.
- The Mini version is played in a less formal, more relaxed atmosphere. The classic game can have quite an intimidating atmosphere, with high stakes, well dressed high-rollers, several dealers in tuxedos, and the plush baccarat area that’s separated off from the other games. Mini baccarat is part of the normal casino floor, does not have the high rollers atmosphere and dress codes, and its lower betting limits that make it accessible to all.
All in all, its speed, more relaxed atmosphere and lower stakes make Mini Baccarat a good way to learn the game, and many players will never move on to the big table version.