Mini-Baccarat — The Unsung Idol of Casino Gambling

The Western european version of Baccarat has been in one hundred and fifty years give or take. It’s far away step-brother, Chemin De Fer, played under an entirely different idn play set of rules is far older and was a game loved by Europe’s the top fashion gurus and wealthy industrialists. This is most likely where it got the mystique of elegance as an exclusively “high roller’s” game.

In the mid 1950’s Tommy Renzoni ran the Baccarat game at the Capri Hotel & Casino in Havana, Cuba. It was said he learned that particular variation of the game being played in Argentina at the time.

In those days the mob ran the casinos in Havana and it was a popular resort for the very wealthy and Hollywood’s elite. In 1959 when Castro overthrew the Batista regimen, he promptly closed the casino doors and the mob was forced out of Cuba. They had a sweet deal for a while but all good stuff must end.

The timing was perfect though, because Tommy Renzoni was brought in for the opening of the Sands Hotel & Casino in Las vegas to run their Baccarat game. So it was Renzoni, by using a stroke of fortune, who introduced the American version of Baccarat to Vegas that is played today.

The American version of the game is as simple as they come. You choose to choice on either the “bank” hand or the “player” hand. Pretty much a coin throw out. The only other choice would be to bet on a tie hand appearing (a bet no sane person would make although I find it done all the time). It’s an excellent money bet on either side except for a small commission charged on winning bank hands.

The reason for this is that the rules of the game favor the bank hand winning slightly more often than the player hand. Without the 5% commission end result would be tilted toward the bank side.

The object of the game is to get nearest thing to a 9 total. All tens and face cards have a zero value, therefore a 5 and a queen would be a total of 5. There is no need to even know the foundations governing the drawing of cards because they are completely automatic and procedures are directed by the dealers and gap employers.

Compared to craps, blackjack, roulette or even poker, there are no complicated decisions to make. Decide on the amount of your choice and which side to bet on. Nothing could be simpler.

It is the feel that surrounds the game which tends to make it seem off limits to most casino goers. It’s been portrayed through stories of high rollers and in James Bond (007) movies over the years as the idol playing against the evil villain. Keep in mind, all the players are playing against the casino, not against each other. Although the roped off table areas and high pins table limits can be somewhat a little overwhelming.

Enter Mini-Baccarat. The casinos, always on the check to manufacture a profit, developed the mini-baccarat table as a way to make it more accessible to the average casino customer. It appeared to work although it still has never garnered the wide spread acceptance of the more well known table games.

Playing Systems

In reality, mini-baccarat is ideally suited for most playing and playing systems that do well in an even-money, win/lose environment. Because there are only one of two outcomes, playing systems that depend on a parlay (doubling up) of bets tend to do well.

It’s quite to see runs of 2, 3, 4 & 5 on either bank or player hands. I was playing the Tropicana one night and witnessed an incredible run of 23 consecutive “bank” hands. Luckily, having the sense and thought to jump on a winning streak after the fourth bank win, I could capture 19 straight wins. Needless to say, it was a very good night. That’s an extraordinary run but the game does lend itself well to blotches on both sides.

If you throw out a coin you have a 1 to 1 chance of correctly calling end result. If a player were to parlay their first win (playing for 2 consecutive wins), they have a 1 in 3 chance of winning that choice. If successful, the golfer would obtain 3 to 1 reimbursement. $10 parlayed on two wins would become $40. The odds on calling two consecutive outcomes correctly is 3 to 1.

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