Mini Baccarat vs. Standard Baccarat: Which One to Play?

Famous for its simplicity and its appeal to high rollers, Baccarat is likely to get under your skin after the first dealt hand. If you are only beginning to discover the charms of Baccarat, you may feel slightly confused about the difference between the game’s variations. In most cases, the player will be presented with two alternatives, standard structure Baccarat and a more reductive version  – Mini Baccarat. Do not be deceived by the innocent tone of the name “Mini Baccarat” – it only refers to its reduced form. In terms of dynamics, it can be a dangerous game to play – fast and reckless.

Standard Baccarat – the basics

Traditionally, Baccarat is played at a table large enough to accommodate a dozen, or more, players. The nature of the standard Baccarat game is highly interactive, allowing the player to participate in the dealing process, shoulder to shoulder with the dealers (three or more). One of the first things you will notice about Baccarat is how much the game resembles Blackjack. The structure is quite similar, with one significant difference: Baccarat lacks the strategic potential of Blackjack – progressive betting systems aside.

One of the purest Baccarat forms, and, as such, the one you are most likely to find in online and live dealer casinos, is Punto Banco, played with 6 or 8 decks and offering 3 main bets: Player, Banker and Tie. As you have probably already learned, Banker is the safest and the smartest bet you can take, whereas Tie is generally avoided as offering unfavourable odds.

Mini Baccarat

Aka “Mini Bac”, is a lower betting limit Baccarat version that brings the structure of this game down to a bare minimum in order to increase the pace of the sessions. While this may seem like an exciting change in Baccarat’s rhythm, you should also bear in mind that, together with the dynamics, the risk increases as well, making Mini Baccarat a potentially slippery slope.

Mini Baccarat restricts the players’ role in the game, allowing only the Dealer to handle the cards, which makes it probably the fastest casino game. The rounds are swift and they require a fair amount of focus and the ability to make quick and reasonable decisions – especially if you are employing a betting strategy. There is no rest for the weary which is exactly why Mini Baccarat is both perilous and enticing at the same time.

Common Objective

Regardless of the version you select, your objective is the same – the player places the wager on one of the three options and the total closest to 9 takes the bet (the Tie bet wins if both the Banker and Player have equal values). Therefore, the goal of the game remains unchanged for both Mini and “Big Bac” and so do the most common conceptions – such as avoiding the Tie bet and sticking to either Banker or Player for the better part of the game.

Pros and Cons

With the pace of the game determined by the dealer, Mini Baccarat can reach up to 200 hands per session – that’s how fast the game will run. It is precisely why you are likely to lose more money within a shorter time span. This, on the other hand, is slightly levelled with decreased betting limits in Mini Baccarat; the maximum stakes are deliberately lowered so that the faster rhythm doesn’t take too great a toll.

The greatest peril of Mini Baccarat is the speed. If you are not proficient in Baccarat rules, the best thing to do would be to avoid this variance and gain practice on a standard Baccarat table, which will  let you stay involved in other aspects of the game as well. Once you feel confident enough to “go over the speed limit”, you will find Mini Baccarat tempo refreshing to the point where re-adjusting to the normal rhythm of the standard game may even seem difficult after a while.