How to Deal Mini Baccarat

By George Lawrence

Mini baccarat is the everyman's gambling game. Table minimums are low. Dress is casual. The game is played at a table about the same size as a blackjack table. The goal in mini baccarat is to acheive a hand totalling nine. Cards ace through nine are valued at face value; tens and face cards are worth zero. Players place their bets before the initial two cards are dealt.

Choose a person to be the "banker". The banker is the dealer. The banker must shuffle six to eight decks of cards. Less can be used, but the mini baccarat games played in the casinos use six to eight decks of cards.

Place your bets. Bets can be made on three different areas: the player, the banker, or the tie. Betting on the player yields an even payout (1:1) and the player wins if his hand is greater than the banker's. Betting on the banker yields an even payout plus five percent and the player wins if the banker's hand is greater than the player's hand. Betting on the tie yields the greatest amount, eight to one, and a player wins this bet if the player's hand ties the banker's hand.

Deal out two cards, face up, to each player, including the banker. Once the bets are made, the banker deals out two cards face up to each player and two cards to himself. If either the banker or a player has cards totaling 8 or 9, they stand, with no exceptions. Players with a six or a seven stand, with no exceptions.

Enter the drawing, or "hit" phase. If a player or a banker does not stand after being dealt the first two cards, they may receive a third card. The rules for drawing a third card are as follows: (1) if a player stands and the banker's total is five or less, the banker takes a third card; (2) if a player's hand is less than five, the player takes a third card; (3) if the banker has a hand less than three, the banker takes a third card.

Compare the hand totals of the player's and the banker's and determine winners. This is done individually between each player; in other words, while multiple players may be at one table, their hand only applies to the banker's hand and vice versa. The players are not competing against each other. After the drawing phase, assess each player's hand to the banker's and determine a winner based on how the player bet as set forth in Step 2. Return the cards and repeat Steps 2 through 5.

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