Breaking Down 4 Popular Types of Baccarat
Decades ago, baccarat was relegated to high-roller tables. Now, the game is much more accessible to players from all walks of life.
A big reason for this increased accessibility is that baccarat is now available in different forms. These various forms have motived millions more to take up baccarat.
But what are the different ways that you can enjoy this popular game? Keep reading as I discuss some of the most popular baccarat variations available today.
1. Big Baccarat
Featured in high-roller sections, big baccarat tables seat between 12 and 14 players. They often require you to bet at least $100 per hand.
You may dread the prospect of risking this much in a single round. Furthermore, you might be turned off from this version right away.
However, big baccarat isn’t as expensive as it seems. The reason why is because it lets players deal and moves at an extremely slow pace as a result.
On average, you’ll only see 35-45 hands per hour at the table. Assuming you’re wagering $100 per round, you’d bet between $3,500 and $4,500 an hour.
These figures are still high for the average baccarat player. But considering that you only face a 1.06% house edge when betting on the banker, you don’t stand to lose a fortune with these games.
Here’s an example of how much you’d lose under the previously mentioned variables.
- You wager $100 per hand
- The table sees 35 hands per hour
- 100 x 35 = 3,500
- You bet on the banker hand every time
- $3,500 x 0.0106 = $37.10 in theoretical hourly losses
Assuming you’re a low roller, then you may find it difficult to stomach $37.10 in losses per hour. But this amount isn’t quite as high as you’d think when risking $100 per round.
As for dealing, this option moves counterclockwise from player to player. You can either accept your opportunity to deal or pass on it.
If you act as the croupier, you deal as long as the banker hand wins. Once the player hand wins, the deal option goes to the next gambler.
Of course, you may be hesitant to be the croupier in the beginning. If so, you can simply ask the casino employee who’s working the game to offer guidance.
You can see that big baccarat isn’t as intimidating as it seems on the surface. But keep in mind that you’ll have to meet the table’s dress code.
You’ll be expected to don formal wear as either a gentleman or lady. Assuming you’re okay with this stipulation, then you may like the luxurious feeling of playing as a well-dressed high roller.
2. Mini Baccarat
Mini baccarat is mainly responsible for boosting baccarat’s popularity within the past decade. The main reasons behind its success include a faster play rate and lower minimum bets.
Beginning with the first aspect, mini baccarat tables only seat up to seven players. Fewer gamblers mean more hands are dealt per hour.
Mini baccarat also sees a professional dealer handle all the action. This aspect increases the play rate when considering that gamblers are usually slow dealers.
Regarding bet sizes, you can enjoy this game for just $10 in many casinos. This minimum wager is 10x less than what a big table requires.
Another unique aspect of mini baccarat is that it sometimes offers a Dragon Bonus bet. You can win one of two ways with this side wager.
- Your chosen hand (banker or player) wins with a natural (8 or 9 on first two cards)
- Your chosen hand wins by at least four points
Side bets and more hands per hour certainly spice up the action. However, the croupier performing all deals also exposes you more to the house edge.
Again, big baccarat tables only put you to between 35-45 decisions per hour. A mini baccarat table, in contrast, can feature 100-200 hands an hour depending upon the dealer’s speed and how many gamblers are seated.
Here’s an example of how this affects your theoretical losses.
- You bet $10 per hand
- The table sees 150 hands per hour
- 150 x 10 = 1,500
- You wager on the banker hand every round
- $1,500 x 0.0106 = $15.90 in theoretical hourly losses
$15.90 is less than half the theoretical losses from the big baccarat example. However, you might not expect to lose this much when wagering just $10 per hand.
The speed of mini baccarat is what gets you financially. That said, you must be mindful of how many more hands are dealt each hour.
3. Online Baccarat
Internet baccarat gives you a convenient way to enjoy one of the most popular table games in the casino. You can fire up a game on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Online baccarat is unique from the land-based version in that it sees you play one on one with the dealer. The “dealer” in this instance is nothing more than a software-generated avatar (or no avatar).
Therefore, you technically act as both the croupier and player. You choose when cards are dealt and how long you take on decisions.
Technically, you can also take your time on land-based baccarat tables. But the dealer and other players eventually get annoyed if you spend an eternity deciding between the banker, player, and tie.
That said, internet baccarat gives you unprecedented control over the action. It also offers convenience that brick-and-mortar casinos can’t match.
Yet another benefit to the internet version is that it features the lowest available stakes. You only have to bet $1 per hand to play at most online casinos.
The obvious downside to online baccarat is that it’s impersonal. You have no chance to socialize with the dealer or fellow gamblers when playing online.
4. Live Dealer Baccarat
Live baccarat offers the perfect compromise between land-based and internet casinos. Although the live dealer version is also played online, it streams action directly from a brick-and-mortar casino.
A human croupier deals the cards and controls the game pace. You can even communicate with the dealer via a chat box.
The chat option is great if you’re playing baccarat from home and crave the social interaction of brick-and-mortar casinos. You may even become friendly with one or more of the dealers at your favorite gaming site.
Besides the social element, live baccarat is typically cheaper than playing at land-based values. The latter forces you to wager $10 or $25 to play. Live gaming sites, on the other hand, usually charge just $5 per hand.
One downside to live dealer baccarat is that it still doesn’t fully replicate the brick-and-mortar experience. You can’t touch the cards, you must use a chat box to reach the dealer, and you can’t physically handle your chips.
As long as you’re not expecting the world from live baccarat, then you’ll find it a suitable alternative to land-based tables.
Which Type of Baccarat Is the Best?
Your favorite version of baccarat will vary depending upon exactly what you’re looking for. Here are some questions to ask yourself before settling on a certain type.
- How much are you comfortable betting per hand?
- How important is social interaction at the tables?
- Do you hate traveling to casinos?
- Are you looking for the social element without leaving the house?
- Do you want to feel like a high roller?
Depending upon how you answer these questions and others, you’ll be able to pinpoint the specific baccarat experience you want.
Assuming you value the social aspect above all, then you’ll want to play mini or big baccarat at a land-based casino. If you can’t make it to a brick-and-mortar establishment, then you should opt for live dealer baccarat.
Maybe you don’t care about the experience and just want to enjoy the game as cheaply as possible. In this case, online baccarat is a great option.
If you want to feel like a high roller, then you should visit the big baccarat tables in land-based establishments. Here, you can dress up and play with the elite.
Baccarat has branched out into different variations. It’s available on big and mini tables in land-based venues, at online casinos, and on live dealer gaming sites.
As established before, none of these versions is necessarily better than the rest. Everything depends upon your personal preferences.
Online baccarat lets you enjoy the game for just $1 per hand. It’s essentially a low roller’s paradise.
Live dealer sites give you a taste of the brick-and-mortar experience without leaving the house. You can chat with dealers and watch real cards being dealt.
Big baccarat is the version for the wealthy and elite. Of course, you don’t necessarily have to be wealthy due to the low house edge.
Mini baccarat is a good option if you want to play in land-based casinos without betting $100 per hand. However, you should make a note of this version’s quick play rate.
In summary, you can play baccarat in a variety of formats. You may even consider trialing all of them just to see which one suits you best.