The European version of Baccarat has been around for around 150 years or so. Its distant cousin, Chemin De Fer, played under a completely different set of rules, is much older and was a favorite game of European royalty and wealthy industrialists. This is probably where it got the mystique of elegance as a game exclusively for “high rollers”.
In the mid-1950s, Tommy Renzoni was running the Baccarat game at the Capri Hotel & Casino in Havana, Cuba. It was said that he discovered that particular variation of the game that was being played in Argentina at the time.
In those days, the mob ran Havana’s casinos and was a popular hangout for the very rich and Hollywood elite. In 1959, when Castro overthrew the Batista regime, he quickly closed the casino’s doors and the mob was forced out of Cuba. They had a good deal for a while, but all good things must come to an end.
However, the timing was perfect, because Tommy Renzoni was hired for the opening of the Sands Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to run their Baccarat game. So it was Renzoni, through a stroke of fortune, who introduced the American version of Baccarat to Las Vegas that is played today.
The American version of the game is as simple as it gets. You choose to bet on the “bank” hand or the “player” hand. More or less a coin toss. The only other option would be to bet on a tied hand showing up (a bet that no sane person would make even though I see them make it all the time). It is an even money bet on both sides with the exception of a small commission charged on winning hands from the bank.
The reason for this is that the rules of the game favor the banker’s hand to win slightly more often than the player’s hand. Without the 5% commission, the result would lean towards the bank’s side.
The object of the game is to get closer to a total of 9. All tens and face cards have a zero value, so a 5 and a queen would be a total of 5. You don’t even need to know the rules governing card drawing. because they are fully automatic and the procedures are directed by the dealers and jackpot hits.
Compared to craps, blackjack, roulette or even poker, there are no complicated decisions to make. Decide the amount of your bet and which side to bet on. Nothing could be simpler.
It is the aura surrounding the game that tends to make it seem out of reach for most casino goers. He has been portrayed through high roller stories and in James Bond (007) movies over the years as the hero playing against the evil villain. Please note that all players bet against the casino, not each other. Although the roped off table areas and high stakes table limits can be somewhat intimidating.
Enter Mini Baccarat. Casinos, always looking to make money, came up with the mini-baccarat table as a way to make it more accessible to the average casino customer. It seemed to work, although it has not yet gained the wide acceptance of the more well-known board games.
In reality, mini-baccarat is ideal for most gaming and betting systems that work well in a win/lose even money environment. Because there can only be one of two outcomes, betting systems that rely on a parlay (double down) of bets tend to work well.
It is common to see series of 2, 3, 4 and 5 in the hands of the bank or the player. I was playing Tropicana one night and witnessed an incredible run of 22 consecutive “bank” hands. Fortunately, by having the common sense and instinct to jump on a winning streak after the fourth bank win, I was able to capture 18 straight wins. Needless to say, it was a very good night. That’s an extraordinary streak, but the game lends itself well to streaks on both sides.
If you toss a coin, you have a 1 to 1 chance of correctly calling the result. If a player were to bet on his first win (playing for 2 wins in a row), he has a 1 in 3 chance of winning that bet. If successful, the player would receive a payout of 3 to 1. $10 wagered on two wins would become $40. The odds of seeing two consecutive results correctly are 3 to 1.
Playing for three straight wins would reduce the player’s winning bets, but the payout would increase to 7 to 1. A $10 wager would return $80.
Another solid betting system calls for a gradual increase in winning bets. This effectively takes advantage of any extended winning streak that will undoubtedly occur and protects the player’s bankroll if the outcome is “choppy”.
This type of betting sequence would look like this:
10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50
Any bet after the second in the series would produce a loss for the player.
After the first bet, the player risks $5 and bets $15;
After winning the third bet, the player wins $20 by betting 25;
In the fourth, the player wins $40 by betting $30;
In the fifth, the player wins $65 by betting $40;
A series of 7 wins would return $150 and still have a $50 bet as the next bet. All with an initial bet of $10. After any loss, the player returns to the initial bet of $10.
With this method, the player increases his bets with winnings while maintaining a low minimum bet during losing hands. This is the kind of smart money management used by professional players that makes the most of profit cycles while protecting your bankroll when you lose. It ensures that your winning bets will be substantially higher than your losing ones.
Although the hands are dealt at a fast pace, I find mini-baccarat to be an excellent game, especially for beginners. It allows them to get acclimated to the game and focus on their gambling and betting strategy without being intimidated by the big money action in the regular Baccarat pit.
If you’ve read any of what I’ve written, you know I’m a huge fan of Baccarat. As for mini-baccarat, it’s the same game, same low house percentage, low minimums and gives the player a very good chance of winning big prizes. It could even pay for your next trip to the casino.
best of luck,