Size Does Matter: Baccarat and Mini-Baccarat

My name is Bond…James Bond.” No, no, sorry, not anymore, Mr. Bond. The old baccarat Bond is dead; long live the new baccarat players—a baccarat legion strongly composed of Asians and Russians, as well as Americans and Europeans of every stripe. The game of baccarat is no longer solely the province of just the European elite; it is now an international game, played north, south, east, and west.

How Baccarat Is Played

The full-blown high-roller-room games, where the players get to deal the cards and the game moves along at a snail’s pace, will usually be $100- minimum games. Don’t panic; that minimum does not translate into big expected losses. In fact, you will lose more in the long run at a 25¢ slot machine than at a $100-minimum baccarat game because the game is so slow that you play maybe 40 decisions per hour—which means you put into play about $4,000 against a house edge of a little more than 1 percent if you bet either of the two best bets.

New Wrinkles on the Old Game

Today you will also find baccarat games where the casinos have changed how they handle the Bank bet. Instead of charging a commission on the bet, the casino will pay only one-half of a winning Bank hand totaling six. Therefore, if the Bank beats the Player by a score of 6–5 or less, then the casino only pays the Bank bets at half value. So a $100 wager is paid $50.

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Mini-Baccarat Means Maxi-Losses

There are three major differences between mini-baccarat and full-blown baccarat aside from the fact that mini-baccarat is played on a blackjack style table or a lower midsize table:

  1. Players do not deal the cards; the casino dealer is in charge of that.
  2. The size of the minimum bets can be as low as $10 but tend to be $25.
  3. The speed of mini-baccarat is fast, faster, and fastest.


Casino dealers are trained to swiftly move the games along. The faster a game is played, the better for the casinos, as more decisions bring the real results of the game into the realm of math. Probability works itself out more precisely over extended periods of time. In short, the more decisions in baccarat, the better it is for the casino.

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