Master The Cards: How To Play Mini Baccarat And Win

In this Mini Baccarat game guide, you’ll learn how to play Mini Baccarat and get an overview of strategies. I also explain the transition from the antiquated rules of traditional baccarat to the more accessible, fast-paced, and simplified rules of the modern game.

Mini Baccarat Rules: How Do You Win At Mini Baccarat?

In Mini Baccarat, you bet your money on whether the Player’s hand or the Banker’s hand will win, or if they will Tie. You win if you’ve predicted the correct outcome at the conclusion of the game.

The winning hand must have a higher total card value of up to 9 points. In Mini Baccarat, 9 is the highest possible score.

The score of a winning hand can be any value i.e. 1 through to 9 over the losing hand’s score 0 through to 8.

Examples of winning Mini Baccarat hands:

  • The Banker’s hand wins over the Player’s hand with the following score: 1-0
  • The Player’s hand wins over the Banker’s hand with the following score: 9-8

A winning hand over a losing hand is any of the following nine combinations: 9-8, 8-7, 7-6, 6-5, 5-4, 4-3, 3-2, 2-1, 1-0.

You can also win a bet on a Tie outcome when the final total card values of both hands result in one of Ten draws: 0-0, 1-1, 2-2, 3-3, 4-4, 5-5, 6-6, 7-7, 8-8, 9-9. 

You can bet on any Tie occurring with payout odds of 8 to 1. The house edge is steep at 14.36% (stats based on eight decks).

How Are Mini Baccarat Outcomes Decided?

Banker or Player winning sides:

As per the drawing rules for baccarat, the dealer will deal two sets of two cards each for Banker and Player hands.

The side that is recorded as the winning outcome would have a total hand value of 9 (the highest possible total value), or a score closest to 9 yet still beating the other hand’s total value.

Tie outcomes:

Once all cards for each side have been drawn, if both hands share the same value (0 to 9), the winning outcome will be declared a Tie.

When the first two cards are drawn for each hand, there may be an expectation of a win upon the disclosure of a high value first card. However, this can be cancelled to a zero score when the second card is revealed, and both cards added together equal 0.

There are five possible zero outcomes involving card values 1 through to 9 as follows:

  • 5+5=0
  • 6+4=0
  • 7+3=0
  • 8+2=0
  • 9+1=0

After the first two cards have been drawn for each hand and the scores of both hands add up to 0-0, two further cards are drawn; one for each hand. And this will conclude the outcome of the game.

If zero cards are drawn for each of the hands – i.e. 10s and picture cards J, Q, K, the result will end in a Tie outcome.

Third Card Drawing Rules In Mini Baccarat

As in the above example, after two sets of two cards for each of the hands have been drawn, the dealer may draw one further card for one hand, or for both hands – depending on the total value of each hand. You can refer to the hand chart on this how to play baccarat article if you want to learn the drawing rules.

What To Do After A Tie Outcome

In the event of a Tie outcome, normally when playing online the initial stakes on Banker or Player are returned to the bettor in a process referred to as ‘a push’ bet.

If you’re playing in a land-based casino, push bets are not physically returned to players. Therefore your options are as follows:

  • Leave your chips on the hand you last bet on (before the Tie result) to function as a bet for the next game.
  • Move your chips onto the other hand for the next game or bet them on another Tie occurring.
  • Remove your chips to skip one or more games. Or when taking the time to decide what to bet on before the next game begins.

It’s worth noting that some land-based casinos only allow Tie betting if either Banker or Player is also bet on, whereas many online casinos allow Tie betting regardless.

Value Of Cards In Mini Baccarat

  • An Ace card is worth 1 point
  • Cards numbered 2 through to 9 function as their face value
  • The value of 10s and picture cards J, Q, K each equal 0

To work out the total value of any hand when two or three cards have been drawn, just ignore the tens and picture cards that function as zeros, unless of course the total value of a hand results in a zero.

Zero value hands are losing ones, except when the opposing hand also results in a zero. In such situations the hand outcome will be a Tie.

In Mini Baccarat, the Player’s hand is revealed first.

Examples of how to add up the points in Mini Baccarat:

Example 1:

  • P’s first two cards: 7+4=1 (not 11, because the first digit 1 is dropped)
  • B’s first two cards: J+5=5 (The 10 of the Jack picture card is ignored)
  • P’s 3rd card is 7 so P’s total score = 8
  • B’s 3rd card is 5 so B’s total score = 0
  • And so, Player wins the round with 8 points.

Example 2:

  • P: 9+7=6
  • B: 6+A=7 (Ace is worth 1 point)
  • No third cards are required. Banker wins the round with 7 points.

Example 3:

  • P: A+9=0
  • B: A+7=8
  • No third cards are required. Banker wins the round with 8 points.

Example 4:

  • P: 8+9=7
  • B’s first two cards: 8+2=0
  • B draws a third card which is K, total value of points = 0
  • Player wins the round with 7 points.

Example 5:

  • P’s first two cards: 3+2=5
  • B’s first two cards: 9+4=3
  • P’s third card is 6 so P’s total score = 1
  • B’s third card is 9 so B’s total score =2
  • Banker wins the round with 2 points.

So, you ignore the first digit when seeing double digits, i.e. a 10 or picture card is worth =0, 11=1, 12=2, 13=3, 14=4, 15=5, 16=6, 17=7, 18=8, 19=9, 20=0, 21=1 and so on… up to 30=0

With each set of the first two cards, just because one of the cards might be an 8 or 9, this is not an automatic win. The other card in the hand can cause the total value to be low.

For instance, 9+2=1 and 8+4=2.

So, if you see an 8 or 9 on one of the first two cards in any hand, you should hope for a zero value card to be next because this will seal the hand as a Natural.

Mini Baccarat Strategy

Okay, you’re not going to alter the house edge: Banker bet is 1.06% and 1.24% on the Player bet (stats based on 8 decks).

But it’s possible that a good method for selecting Banker or Player bets – along with a good staking strategy – could enhance your prospects of increasing your bankroll within an average Mini Baccarat gambling session.

Payout odds are not 1 for 1 on Banker wins because of the 5% commission. But they’re 100% even-money payouts for Player wins.

What do baccarat heads say the best strategy is?

You can read thousands of articles telling you that betting on the Banker is the best strategy.

Take any advice to ‘always bet on the Banker side’ with a pinch of salt. Do your own research and assess the facts.

Bear in mind the following about Banker only bets:

  • The 5% commission on every Banker win will eat into your bankroll gradually. For instance, the commission deducted for just 20 Banker wins is the equivalent to 1 staking unit.

Banker hands don’t dominate every Baccarat shoe! But even when they do:

  • Due to the drawing rules, the Banker side only has a slight advantage over the Player side: Probability of a Banker hand win is 45.9% vs. 44.6% for a Player hand win (stats based on 8 decks).
  • Within one shoe consisting of 80 outcomes, on average the Banker may have around a 4 hand advantage. But this is not true in every shoe. It really depends on the shuffle.

Those 416 shuffled cards secured inside a shoe, most to be used in Mini Baccarat rounds, is key to how results will play out.

Baccarat Game History

To understand why Mini Baccarat was developed, we should look at the structure and history of traditional baccarat games. And these consist of two main variants, namely:

  1. Baccarat en Banque (also known as Baccarat à Deux Tableaux), which is the older form of baccarat.
  2. Baccarat chemin de fer. A later variant.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the invitation requirements to gamble on traditional baccarat, and the rules of the game, were long-winded. For instance, who could play baccarat was determined by a person’s class and/or status in society, and once allowed to play, there were tedious game procedures to decide on, such as:

  • When bettors can place wagers
  • On what side bettors can bet on i.e. on Banker or Player hands
  • Whether cards should be drawn in some games

Evolution of Baccarat Variants

The journey to modernize the game saw the introduction of a variant of baccarat called Punto Banco (Punto=Player & Banco=Banker).

This game was formed in the 1950s in Argentina. Punto Banco spread to casinos in Cuba and then in America.

Thereafter the following variations were invented:

  • Big Baccarat
  • Midi Baccarat
  • Mini Baccarat

The central idea of modern day baccarat makes it easy to bet on either side.

Those gambling on baccarat need only bet Player or Banker. The dealer manages the rest pertaining to the drawing rules. So, baccarat games, especially Mini Baccarat games, progress quickly.

Today, there’s at least 20 variants of baccarat. Mini Baccarat being one of the most popular.

In the 21st century, the rules and procedures of old style baccarat don’t resonate with casino goers. So online, you’re only likely to come across modern versions of baccarat.

Gamblers can still find simplified forms of the old style baccarat games in land-based casinos. Though generally, such games are only available to high rollers or VIPs and played in exclusive gaming rooms.

Table layouts for these traditional baccarat variants differ to modern games like Mini Baccarat. For instance, in some old style baccarat games, two tables, one each side of the dealer, are used to seat up to 16 players.

A Mini Baccarat table seats a cozy seven players.

Mini Baccarat vs Baccarat: Why Mini Baccarat Is The Best Game        

Let’s consider Mini Baccarat vs. traditional baccarat. What’s the best type of baccarat game to play?

Look out for Mini Baccarat because:

  • Games are fast
  • Rules non-complex
  • Minimum stakes are low
  • Table size is smaller than traditional baccarat

If you enjoy staking money in online casino games with even-money payouts (and close to 1 for 1 paying odds when it comes to winning on Banker bets), then Mini Baccarat games are an excellent choice for beginners or system players.

Baccarat system players also love to play Mini Baccarat because the outcome of hands conclude swiftly, especially when playing in an online casino.

You don’t need deep pockets to gamble on a live Mini Baccarat game in online casinos either, since minimum stakes are super low.

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