How to play mini baccarat

Mini baccarat is a popular variation played at land-based and online casinos worldwide. Even though this is a mini version of the standard game, it still offers the same excitement.  

Furthermore, mini baccarat is purely a guessing game — it doesn’t require you to make any decisions, and no skill is involved.

So, even if you have never played it before, you can sit at the table and play just as well as anyone who’s played the game for many years. 

Without further ado, let’s discuss the intricacies of this fast-paced and action-packed game. 

How to Play Mini Baccarat

In terms of gameplay and rules, there is no difference between standard baccarat and mini baccarat. They differ in the number of players, though.

Compared to the standard variant, which accommodates seven to 14 players, mini-baccarat accommodates up to seven players and one dealer. This is also convenient for those who don’t wish to be distracted by too many players and want to focus on placing their wagers.

The game is played on a smaller, simpler table and features smaller stakes meaning it caters to players of all budgets. 

Mini baccarat is a game of chance played with eight decks of cards. The aim of the game is to get a hand value as close to nine as possible. The dealer is the only one who shuffles and reshuffles the cards and places them in the box called a shoe.

Mini baccaract dealer at table

The game starts when the dealer deals four cards from the shoe to form two hands — the first and the third are dealt for the Player, while the second and the fourth are dealt for the Banker.

All cards are dealt face-down, and the Banker’s cards are not revealed until the Player’s cards are exposed. Only the dealer can turn the cards.

Once that happens, and the numbers of each hand are totaled, if the total is eight (a La Petite) or nine (a La Grande), this is called a ‘’Natural’’ and signifies an automatic win. In that case, no additional cards are drawn. 

The decision as to whether or not a third card should be drawn is not made by the dealer or the players — the rules of the game determine it, and only one can be drawn.

  • The Player draws a third card on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 0 if the Banker does not have a Natural and stands on 6, 7, 8, and 9.
  • As for the Bankers, they always draw on 0,1 and 2 if the player doesn’t have a Natural of eight or nine and always stand on 7, 8, or 9. 

The hand total that is closer to nine wins and is paid 1:1. If the Player’s and Banker’s hands are equal, this is a tie. A Tie bet pays 8:1, and neither hand wins nor loses.

Mini Baccarat Card Values

You are awarded points using card values.

  • Cards from two to nine have their face value
  • An ace has the value of one
  • Kings, queens, jacks, and tens have zero value
Image of mini baccarat card value chart casinousa
Image of Mini Baccarat Card Value Chart

However, going over nine is also possible if you add two numbers together. In that case, you remove the first digit of the number you get upon adding two numbers. For instance, if you have a pair of sevens whose total is 14, removing the first digit results in four points.

Mini Baccarat Bets

Many people are drawn to mini baccarat due to its simple rules. All they have to decide is what bet they want to make from the available three: the Player, the Banker, or the Tie

Banker bets are the best to make in mini baccarat due to how the rules are structured. This bet has a house edge of 1.06%, a 51% chance of winning because the Banker’s hand is always dealt last and pays 1:1.

However, a 5% commission is added to all Banker bet wins due to the lower house edge. For instance, if you won $10 on your bet, you would owe a 50-cent commission to the house. The 5% commission is only required if you win

On the other hand, the Player bet has a house advantage of 1.24%, and it is slightly more challenging to score a win compared to the Banker bet. This bet has no 5% commission, meaning you receive even money when you put a wager on the Player bet. 

mini baccarat bets

If you want to bet on a tie and win, you’ll be paid 8:1, meaning you’ll get $8 for every $1 you bet.

The big payoff sounds nice, but this is the least favorable bet for the players due to the high casino advantage of 14.36%. Therefore, you should avoid this bet. 

On top of these three main bets, there is one optional bet  — the Dragon Bonus side bet. This wager doesn’t change the drawing rules or the commission structure and wins in two circumstances — when the hand on which you placed this wager scores a natural win or when the selected hand wins by a point difference of four or more

Natural wins pay even money, so they’re not so profitable, whereas winning the Dragon Bonus by point difference is much more rewarding. However, the most lucrative one is when you score a difference of nine points which will result in a 30:1 reward.

Strategy for Winning at Mini Baccarat

Even though the Player and the Banker bets both impose modest house edges, the fact is that the casino will always have an advantage over you. And in the long run, the game of mini baccarat, just like other variations, is unbeatable.

The only way to win is to get lucky. Although this is easier said than done, you need to consider that mini baccarat has a lower house edge than other casino games.

However, most players don’t want to rely entirely on luck but believe in streaks. They like to bet on whoever won the last hand, believing luck will continue to favor them. They think there will be streaks where the same result will come in for a while.

On the flip side, some experts believe that the best strategy you can apply in mini baccarat is to bet on the Banker until they lose. You should then switch to the Player and bet on them until they lose, and so on.

No matter which system you choose, you must remember that the casino will still have the same advantage over you on every bet you make.

About the Author

Author Rachel is a law student, and she is helping us out with the legal side of things regarding casino gambling in the US. The legality of gambling in the United States is continually changing, and it has especially been turbulent in the last couple of years, so knowing which states legalized gambling and which are yet to do so is getting a bit difficult. But if you need to know everything about the legality of gambling in your state, Rachel is the person to ask. She keeps track of the latest gambling bills and is ready to bring you news. During her free time, Rachel likes riding her bike and playing video games.