The Rise of Mini-Baccarat in Casinos Today

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Hands engaged in a game of baccarat, with cards and black and yellow casino chips arranged on the table.
BetMGM Feb 27, 2024, 8:34 AM

Mini-baccarat is one of the fastest-growing segments on casino floors today. Where baccarat was once perceived as the exclusive domain of high rollers, mini-baccarat games with lower table limits are much more accessible. As a result, more players are discovering just how much fun baccarat can be. With a gentle learning curve and engaging fast-paced gameplay, baccarat is virtually the slots of online table games. Keep reading to discover the reasons behind mini-baccarat’s explosive growth on the live casino floor as well as in the domain of online casino games.

Introducing Mini-Baccarat Games

So what is mini-baccarat all about, exactly? If you know how to play baccarat, then you already know how to play mini-baccarat. That’s because mini-baccarat games follow the same rules as regular baccarat, also known as punto banco. (If you don’t know the rules, don’t worry — they’re covered in the next section.)

The only real difference between the two is the design of the table. Classic baccarat tables seat 14 players, while mini-baccarat tables seat seven. This makes for a more intimate, less formal atmosphere and faster games. Typically, the table etiquette is also more relaxed. For a start, there’s no requirement to dress formally, which is normally obligatory on the baccarat floor.

Then there’s the question of table limits. Standard baccarat bets usually start at $25 or $50 and plateau at $5,000, sometimes more. The aim is to attract whales, and it’s a successful casino strategy. But for players who aren’t whales and just want to have fun, a $25 or $50 minimum bet can seem like a great deal of money, especially when it’s possible to play more than 100 hands of baccarat an hour. With mini-baccarat, you’re looking at a minimum bet of $5 per hand, which is much more affordable.

How To Play Mini-Baccarat

Table size and limits aside, why play mini-baccarat? First, it’s a great deal of fun, thanks to the simple rules and fast-paced gameplay. There are only three bets you can make: Player, banker, or tie. After a betting period, the dealer deals two cards face up from an eight-deck shoe to two table areas marked “Player” or “Banker.” The hand with the highest score wins, and bets placed on that hand are paid out 1:1. In the unlikely event that the hands have an equal score, tie bets are paid out 8:1. As mentioned, you can expect to play more than 100 hands of baccarat an hour. In fact, skilled dealers can deal out up to 200 per hour. It’s because of this speed and ease of play that baccarat is frequently compared to online slots.

Another reason why players are getting behind mini-baccarat games is the highly player-friendly house edge. This comes in at 1.06% for the banker’s hand and 1.24% for the player’s hand. The banker’s hand has the lowest house edge you’ll find in any casino table game apart from blackjack (0.5%), which is why you pay a 5% commission on winning banker bets. However, to achieve the best results in blackjack versus baccarat, you need to master basic blackjack strategy. When it comes to baccarat, the house edge is the same for all players.

That said, with the high number of hands played, it’s important to practice good bankroll management in baccarat.

A Unique Scoring System

If you’re interested in the unique scoring system used to determine which hand wins in a round of baccarat, here’s how it works. Each card has a point value: cards 2 through 9 in each suit are worth face value, while the 10, jack, queen, and king are worth zero, and aces score 1. If a hand scores 10 or more, the first digit is dropped. For example, if a hand contains a 6 and a 7, making 13, the first digit is dropped, and the score is 3. As a result, the top score is 9.

If the player’s or banker’s hand scores 8 or 9, it’s a “natural,” and the hand is over. If neither scores a natural, then the player’s hand plays out, standing on 6 or 7 and drawing another card on 5 or less.

If the player stands pat (doesn’t draw), the banker draws on 5 or less.

If the player draws a third card, the banker may also draw according to the following rules:

  • The player’s third card is 9, 10, face-card, or ace: The banker draws on 0-3.
  • The player’s third card is 8: The banker draws on 0-2.
  • The player’s third card is 6 or 7: The banker draws on 0-6.
  • The player’s third card is 4 or 5: The banker draws on 0-5.
  • The player’s third card is 2 or 3: The banker draws on 0-4.

You don’t have to memorize these rules to play baccarat because the dealer works it all out automatically. However, knowing the rules does add to the enjoyment of the game. At least you’ll understand why other players get excited if the player draws a 7.

Exploring Online Baccarat

Baccarat is a great table game to play at BetMGM Casino, and there are many ways to explore it. Single-player RNG (random number generated) baccarat games allow you to play at your own pace and become familiar with the game to the point that you can play with confidence. For the genuine casino experience, live dealer casino games of baccarat are the way to go. Thanks to the technological wizardry of today’s game developers, you can take a virtual seat at an authentic bean-shaped baccarat table operated by a trained dealer in a state-of-the-art casino studio decked out like the glitziest salon privé you’ve ever seen.

In addition to classic baccarat, there are also variants that combine traditional gameplay with the kind of elements you find in variety games. In Lightning Baccarat, for example, one to five cards are randomly selected before each game round to become Lightning Cards with random multipliers of 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, or 8x the bet. If a Lightning Card appears in your winning hand, your payout is multiplied accordingly.

In Prosperity Tree Baccarat, eight cards are randomly allocated 2x or 3x multipliers. Once again, these cards multiply your payout if they’re dealt to your winning hand to a maximum of 27x your bet.

Play Baccarat for Real Money

Ready to explore online casino baccarat for real? BetMGM Casino offers a broad range of baccarat variants for you to discover, from the classic RNG (Random Number Generated) play to live dealer options. There’s also blackjack, roulette, and craps, not to mention hundreds of online slots, including jackpot slots with seven-figure maximum payouts.

Register to get your online casino game on.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.