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Frank Scoblete - In Baccarat Bigger is Better!

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  • Frank ScobleteSize counts.
    Bigger is better.
    The rich are different than you and me.

    Most intelligent people would scoff if they were told the above cliches were true. After all, bigger isn?t better when it comes to heart attacks. The large-size pimples on the teenager?s cheek aren?t more of a love enhancer than the small ones. And certainly, Ernest Hemingway said it plainly about the riches? difference between you and me: ?Yeah, they have more money!?

    But in the casino world of baccarat, those clich?s are right on the money. Let us explain. The full-blown, large-sized-table, James Bond-style game of baccarat, usually played in the high-roller rooms of casinos for table minimums of no less than $25 but usually $100 and up -- the version where the players get to deal out the hands -- is a better game than the mini-baccarat version played on a small-sized blackjack-style table in the main casino, with minimums of $5, $10, and $25 where the dealers deal the hands.

    Yes, baccarat and mini-baccarat are the same game in terms of the various bets that can be made [Player, Bank, Tie], the house edges on those bets, and the house rules for playing the hands. But one essential difference makes ?maxi? baccarat better than mini-baccarat -- speed. Just as speed can make a difference in a crash (Which car would you rather be in -- the one going 100 yards at one mile per hour into a brick wall, or the one going 100 yards at 75 miles per hour into a brick wall? You?re going the same distance, you?re hitting the same wall but one bumps you and one obliterates you), speed in a casino game can turn a low-house edge game into a cutpurse for the house.

    As I showed in my book The Baccarat Battle Book: How to Attack the Game of Baccarat, players are better off playing $25 per hand at baccarat than they are playing $10 per hand at mini-baccarat, since mini-baccarat can see close to three, four, or even five times the number of hands in a given hour of play than its larger, more affluent cousin.

    So, if you can handle the increase in volatility of the larger version, than take yourself to the high-roller room and play with the rich, where size matters, and bigger is better. With that said, if you have never played baccarat or mini-baccarat before, here?s a little primer for you.


    The game is dealt from an eight-deck shoe (sometimes six decks will be used). All tens, jacks, queens and kings equal zero. The ace equals one. All the other cards equal their face value. The highest possible hand is nine. If you have two fives, the total would not be a 10 but a zero.


    The objective of baccarat is for the players to correctly guess which of three possible propositions will win on the next round: Bank, Player, or Tie. Two cards are dealt to the Bank hand and two cards are dealt to the Player hand. Sometimes a third card is dealt to either or both hands. Whichever hand is closest to nine is the winner. A two-card hand of nine and a two-card hand of eight are considered naturals and do not take any hits. However, a two-card hand of nine beats a two-card hand of eight.


    In baccarat the deal goes counterclockwise around the table from player to player. The player who is dealing continues to deal as long as the Bank hand keeps winning. However, as soon as a Player hand wins, the next player gets to deal. Thus the shoe makes its way around the table. Players can pass up their turn at dealing if they so wish. If you want to play baccarat and you want to deal but you?re timid, don?t worry. The casino personnel assigned to the baccarat tables are always willing to take you through the deals step by step. In mini-baccarat, the dealer deals the hands. After the Bank and Player hands have received two cards it is possible that either or both might need to draw an extra card. The rules for drawing cards are predetermined. They are also essentially irrelevant since the players do not get to make any decisions concerning hitting or standing. Regardless of whether a card is drawn, at the end of the deal, the hand that totals nine or closer to nine wins.

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