Mini Baccarat – All the Details about the Version
As you can easily tell by the name, Mini Baccarat is a pint-size version of the card game which still retains the elegance and simplistic gameplay we’ve come to associate with baccarat. It’s a very popular variant played at both land-based and online casinos that offers a fast-paced and dynamic gameplay following the same rules as Punto Banco. It offers the same excitement as the other versions but it doesn’t have that exclusivity since it’s a low-stakes game which allows players of all budgets to join a game, be it at a brick-and-mortar or an online casino. Let’s have a look at some more details about this action-packed version.
How Is Mini Baccarat Played?
In this baccarat version, you have to make the same decisions as with all other variants – Banker or Player has all participants in the game gnawing their nails, however, this choice is made at smaller blackjack-sized tables which can seat seven players and one dealer. On the table, you will see three betting areas – for the Player, Banker, and Tie bets. There are also a commission box for the Banker bet’s 5% commission, and of course the chip stacks and card shoe. In Mini Baccarat, it’s always the dealer that handles the card shoe and unlike in Chemin or Banque versions, players don’t get to shuffle or deal the cards.
*Check out our Glossary if you are unfamiliar with some of the terms used.
At the beginning of each round, players place their wagers on one of the three betting areas. The dealer will shuffle the cards and place them in the shoe. Then, they draw alternately four face-up cards – two for the Player hand and two for the Banker hand: the first card to the Player, the second card to the Banker, the third card to the Player and the fourth card to the Banker. The winning hand is the one that’s closest to nine. If either hand has a nine or an eight, that’s called a natural and is an automatic win. If, however, neither of the hands has a La Grande (a natural nine) or a La Petite (a natural eight), additional cards can be drawn.
Card Values in Mini Baccarat
Mini Baccarat is played with eight decks of cards that have the following values:
- All cards from 2 to 9 have its face value.
- Aces bring one point.
- All 10s and face cards – Kings, Queens, Jacks – or any combination of them are worth zero points.
As in other Baccarat games, hands cannot exceed nine, so if the total of the cards is a two-digit number, ten is subtracted from the total value of the hand. So, a hand of a 7 and a 4 would be one. After the dealer announces the point count of the Player hand and the Banker hand, one additional card can be drawn for each hand. The Player stands on 6 or 7, the banker will always draw on totals of 0-1-2-3-4 and 5 and stand on 6-7-8 and 9. When the Player does not have a natural (eight or nine), the Banker always draws on the totals of 0-1 or 2, and then follows these rules:
|Banker hand||Draws when the Player’s third card is||Does not draw when the Player’s third card is|
|8 or 9||Natural – No Draw|
Strategy for Winning at Mini Baccarat
Mini Baccarat is a very fast-paced game, with cards drawn face-up. Not only does it lack such additional features like the Squeeze option but it’s times faster than the other versions, with dealers often handling 150 – 200 decisions. Although the bet minimum is a lot smaller than other versions, playing so many rounds so fast can easily get you on a losing streak. That’s why, experts advise against using a betting progression system, especially a negative progression one, as the danger of finishing your bankroll and never making up for your losses is more potent than with any other variant. The best strategy you can employ for Mini Baccarat is to bet on the Banker until it loses. Switch to Player and when Player loses, go back to Banker. In theory, this will reduce in half the decisions you have to make, which in its turn will reduce your losing expectation.
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Bets in Mini Baccarat
Every round in Mini Baccarat can result in either Player, Banker or a Tie. Like we mentioned, the best bet you can choose is Banker due to the dynamic pace of the rounds. It has a 51% chance of winning since the Banker hand is always dealt last. It has a house edge of 1.06% and pays 1:1. The Player bet has a house edge of 1.24% and pays even as well. The Tie bet is the least favorable one for players, as it has a 14% house edge and pays out 8:1. But that’s not all when it comes to bets in Mini Baccarat. The Dragon Bonus is a an optional side wager available in this version. It does not affect the drawing rules or commission structure. Players have two ways to win:
- the selected hand (Player or Banker) on which the Dragon Bonus wager is placed is a natural
- the selected hand wins by four (4) or more points.
The Dragon Bonus can be placed on Player or Banker hands and they are paid the same odds. Natural winners pay even-money on the Dragon Bonus bet. In the event of a Natural that ties, the Dragon Bonus pushes. If the winning hand is not a natural, the payout of the side bet depends on the margin of victory as follows:
The Dragon Bonus side bet is paid out after the standard bets have been reconciled according to house procedures. The house will remove losing bets immediately and then pay winners.
Playtech’s Mini Baccarat
The standard table in a Playtech version of baccarat has seven places, although you’ll notice that the fourth seat has been missed out. This is because number four is considered to be unlucky in some Asian countries. As the Mini Baccarat table is a single-player design, it has a more simplistic appearance. The player bets are placed on the left and the banker bets go on the right. The tie option runs between the two, with the payable odds for the extra side bets listed below. The scorecards, or the roads, are shown along the bottom of the screen in the usual way.
The standard baccarat table caters for seven players, whereas the mini version is designed for just one.
Understanding the Side Bets and the Return to Player Rates
Mini Baccarat follows the standard rules, and so you can bet on either the player, the banker, or on a tie. There are theoretical return to player rates. These are set at 98.94% for both the player and the banker wagers, and this is lowered to 85.64% for a tie. There are a number of side bets that can be made in the game, and in this version, it is possible to place a wager on these without putting a stake on one of the main options.
- The Player Pair: A bet that the player’s hand contains a pair. The return to player rate for this is 89.76%
- The Banker Pair: The wager that a banker’s cards are a pair. For this, the return to player rate is 89.76%
- Perfect Pair: The wager that the hands dealt to either the banker or the player will be identical in both suit and value. This has a rate of 86.97%
- Either Pair: A wager that the hands dealt either to the banker or the player will be a pair. The rate for this is 86.29%
- Big: This side bet is that the total number of cards dealt is either 5 or 6. The return to player rate is 95.65%
- Small: This wager is that the total number of cards dealt in a round will be 4. The return to player rate for this is 94.72%
What Are the Egalite Bets in Live Mini Baccarat?
The egalite extra is an additional side wager, which can be placed even if you haven’t staked a main bet. In this scenario, you are wagering on a tie, and specifically on the scores of the banker and the player. For instance, you can bet that both hands will end the round on a total of 5, and if you are correct, the payout will be 110:1. The odds for these types of wagers vary quite a lot. A total of 6 or 7 is paid out at 45:1, and an 8 or 9 is set at 80:1. The highest odds are on an equal score of 2, and this pays out at 220:1.
Playing Slots During the Mini Baccarat Rounds
The Playtech version gives you the chance to participate in one of the slots while you are playing Mini Baccarat. This can be an interesting challenge for those who like to multitask! To access this option, you just need to click on the camera symbol at the bottom of the screen. In this mode, the dealer window will be a little smaller, and the box for statistics will be shown on the right. A selection of slots will be displayed in the left-hand corner of the screen. You simply scroll through to find a title that appeals to you and click on it. You can then play both the slot and the rounds of Mini Baccarat simultaneously.
Playtech’s No Commission Version of Mini Baccarat
At some of the live casinos, you may come across Mini Baccarat with no commission. At first glance, this will look the same as the regular game. Indeed, you may find yourself playing with exactly the same dealer at exactly the same table as you would for the standard mini game. The rules and the playing procedures are identical too. However, there is a difference in the pay table. In this version, the banker’s hand no longer has a house edge, and so the payout rates are different. You will get paid 1:1 for both the player and the banker hands in this variant. The exception to this is if the banker hand wins with a 6. In this situation, you are paid 0.5 to 1, or in other words, half of your original wager.
Some Alternative Versions of Playtech’s Mini Baccarat
Playtech has studios in a number of countries and so you may find that some of the live games are being broadcast from alternate settings. One of the most commonly found of these is Grand Mini Baccarat, which has a glitzy gold background. Others have been awarded glamorous titles such as Topaz, Sapphire, or Crystal Mini Baccarat. Regardless of the names attributed to these versions, the tables have a single-player design. Both the rules and the gameplay are exactly the same as well. The only noticeable change is, perhaps, the size of the cards, as these are significantly bigger in a couple of the variants. Other than this, the differences are merely aesthetic.
Ezugi’s Baccarat with the Unique Dragon Bonus
Out of all of the live games’ providers, Ezugi is probably the one that comes the closest to Playtech’s Mini Baccarat. This company offers Baccarat Dragon Bonus, which is a single-player version. This has some optional side bets based around the various margins of victory. These are the dragon bonus bet options, and a non-natural win of 9 points carries odds of 30:1. A non-natural win of 8 points is 10:1, 6 or 7 is paid out at 4:1, and 4 or 5 is set at 2:1. The natural bets are evens for a player win, and 8:1 for a tie. The banker hand has the house edge applied as is standard, and so this pays out at 0.95.1.
Some Final Thoughts on Playing Mini Baccarat Live
In Mini Baccarat, the rules and the general gameplay are exactly the same as they are in the standard game, and the return to players rates are identical too. The only difference lies in the fact that this is a single-player version, and for many participants, this is its main draw. There aren’t any distractions from the other players to contend with during the rounds. Instead, you can just concentrate on placing your bets and, if you wish, on watching the various patterns forming in the derived roads!
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