Mini-baccarat side bets are tempting, but it’s a bad bet for players
Mini-Baccarat was developed as a casino table game to accommodate the average player. Along with this, however, optional side bets were introduced to increase the house edge. Before I describe them in detail, I will explain how the game is played.
The objective of this table game is the same as the original Baccarat where the player must get as close as possible to the number nine. Aces count as one, twos to nines are par, and tens to kings count as zero. Regardless of the number of players, the dealer deals only two hands of 6 or 8 decks. Before the deal, players must make one bet for the banker’s hand, the player’s hand, or a tie.
When the hand is stacked, it cannot exceed nine. If both cards are more than nine, the first digit (number one) is dropped. The second number becomes the total amount. A few examples are:
7, 8 = 15 (drop 1) total = 5
4, 3 = 7 (two cards, face value)
10, 6 = 6 (10 is zero, 6 is a nominal value)
K, 9 = 9 (King is zero, 9 is called natural)
Baccarat requires no skill on the part of the player. All he/she has to do is decide where to place a bet before the deal. The dealer looks at both hands and then decides whether a third and final card should be drawn for each hand. The determination is made according to a fixed set of rules of the game.
A bet on the player’s hand returns even money if won. A bet on the banker’s hand returns even money minus a 5% commission to the house if won. A tie bet returns 8 to 1 if won, otherwise it’s a push when not staked. The reason for the 5% commission on the bank’s profit is that the draw advantage is with the bank, according to the following rules of the game:
The player position is always on 0, 1 and 2,3,4,5, unless the banker has a natural 8 or 9. The player always stands on 6, 7, 8 and 9. When the player has a natural 8 or 9, the game ends.
The banker’s position is always based on 0, 1, 2, unless the player has a natural 8 or 9.
The banker always stands on 7, 8, and 9. When the banker has a natural 8 or 9, the game is over.
Baccarat Side Bets
At Mini Baccarat tables everywhere there are a number of optional side bets, and like any side bet, they all exist to increase the house edge. However, players are attracted to them because of the solid winnings. Here are some of the popular ones:
The bettor can bet on the Player or Banker side that the hand will win by a natural spread or by 4 or more points. The bet must be made before the hand is dealt. The higher the number the hand wins, the bigger the win:
Earn by: cashing out
9 – 30/1
8 – 10/1
7 – 6/1
6 – 4/1
5 – 2/1
4 – 1/1
Natural – 1/1
The house edge for this bet is 2.7%.
Payouts are the same for a bank bet, but the house edge jumps to 9.7% if selected.
This is a side bet that the total number of combined cards to complete the Player and Banker hand will be 4, 5 or 6.
# Cards Payout House Edge
4 – 1.5/1 – 5.3%
5 – 2/1 – 8.9%
6 – 2/1 – 4.7%
3 card sixes
This is a bet on a winning six of 3 cards. If player and banker have 3 six cards, the bet pays 100/1. If there is only one three-card six, the bettor wins 8/1. The house edge is as much as 13.4%!
A bet that the player’s or banker’s hand will have a pop and a queen on the first two cards drawn is called a Royal Match. Not to be confused with the Blackjack option of the same name. The bet pays 75/1 for a king and queen of a suit and 30/1 for a king without a suit. The house edge is calculated to be around 2.1%.
Dragon 7 is an optional side bet in EZ Baccarat that is played the same way as regular Mini-Baccarat, except that the game has a commission-free banker hand with one exception: A winning banker hand with three cards totaling seven will smoke instead to even pay money. A player can bet on this score for which the winning odds are 40/1. The house edge is about 7.6%.
The Panda 8 side bet is sometimes found in EZ Baccarat games. The bet pays 25/1 if a player’s hand has three cards totaling eight. As for the house edge, it is 10.2%.
A tie is not considered a side bet as it is included in all Baccarat table games. However, due to the terrible 14% house edge, it should be avoided at all times.
Remember that Baccarat, after Blackjack, has a very low house edge of 1.2% when the Play bet is selected, and a lower edge of 1.06% when betting the Bank when avoiding side bets.
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