As we’ve seen, since the middle ages, baccarat has been considered the game of the rich. When it was introduced into Las Vegas, casino managers tried to maintain that aura, and succeeded beyond their wildest imaginations. Big gamblers from around the world today visit Las Vegas to experience the game in its most luxurious settings.
Other casinos saw the success with the big gamblers and tried to interest the rank-and-file gambler in the game in order to expand its appeal (and to make more profits, of course). In order to put it within reach of most gamblers, mini-baccarat was invented. It is essentially the same as the big game, but is played at a blackjack-sized table. It’s the generic version of the game, but with all the fabulous and highly enjoyable accoutrements stripped away. Like blackjack, it seats seven players. Each player has three spots, the Banker, Player and Tie bets. The game is conducted by a single dealer. The players do not handle the cards in mini-baccarat.
The dealer draws the cards according to the same rules as the big game. Winning Banker bets are charged the same five per cent commission and the house advantage is the same, as well.
The only difference between the two styles of baccarat is the speed of the game. At the large game, only two, maybe three, hands can be dealt per minute. At mini-baccarat, five, sometimes six, hands can be dealt per minute.
As the tempo of the game increases, the house gets more shots at your money. Even though the house advantage doesn’t change, if there are more decisions per hour, you’re going to lose at a faster pace. But since the minimums are lower, you’ll lose less than at the larger table.
Mini-baccarat is a good way to learn how to play baccarat without losing more than you’d like. It’s also a good game for anyone who wants to play a simple game that requires no playing strategy.
But bear in mind that for all the similarities with the big game, mini-baccarat is not baccarat. The elegance and appeal of the big game is worth spending the extra time and investing the money on. You’ll get the attention normally reserved for the big gamblers, and feel like one, as well.