For our purposes, well look at the
two main types of tables youll find in the casinos: baccarat
and smaller cousin, mini-baccarat, or mini-bac. There are a few
differences between the two with the most important involving size;
the size of the table and bankroll needed to play. Most casinos
feature the large full-size baccarat game in a partly secluded area
off the main casino floor in an area set aside for the higher-limit
games. These games in salons tend to have table minimums of $50-100
per hand with limits that can progress up to $100,000 or more.
If the major game of chance of so many of
the wealthy worldwide in Europe, Asia, and America is baccarat,
there are undoubtedly good reasons. Gaining in popularity in America,
mini-baccarats appeal lies in the reduced table size, making
it far less intimidating, along with the lowered table minimums
of $5 to $25.
The full size big baccarat oval table comes
with a green felt layout denoting player positions, usually 1-15,
with the 13th place skipped over for reasons of superstition. In
some places, one might find the 4th place skipped, as in some Oriental
cultures the number four is considered unlucky-it is closely related
to the word for death. For many Asian gamblers, baccarat is the
game of choice.
The table has a large u-shaped cut on one
side in the middle marking a spot for one of the dealers to
stand. This is the callers place. S/he acts as
the games official, literally calling out cards or hands as
revealed, announcing the winner, and directing the game. The caller
also controls the shoe as it travels the table from one player to
The shoe is passed around the table with players taking turns. The
player acting as dealer pulls the first card from the shoe and passes
it face down to the caller. The second card is slipped under the
front corner of the shoe, also face down. A third card is drawn
and passed to the caller, and then the fourth is tucked on top of
the second under the shoes corner.
The two cards in front of the caller represent
the Players hand while those resting under the shoe are the
Bankers. The caller passes the two cards, still face down,
to the bettor who has placed the highest wager on the Players
side, and it is this person who turns the cards over to reveal the
hand, at which point they are passed back to the caller. The caller
announces the total, after placing them in a marked spot Players
hand on the table layout.
The same procedure is employed for the Banker
with cards placed in their assigned spot marked Bankers
hand. With both hands revealed, there is either a final decision
or a draw, depending on the relationship of the hands to each other
(please refer to the decision-draw information).
There is another spot directly opposite of
the rack of cheques laid into the table. In front of the cheques
(chips) are small squares or spots with the table positions of 1
to 15 noted. The spots enable the dealers to keep track of the customary
5% house commission charged to winning Banker bets as they accumulate
(please see the section on commission).
In front of each players marked position
lies a row for betting on the Player and behind that is a row denoting
Banker. Finally there is a third tier for those who want to play
the Tie hand.
The dealer sitting behind the cheques is
responsible for taking all losing bets, paying off the winners,
and maintaining the commissions for each player.
The mini-bac table is probably more comfortable for those used to
playing blackjack. This is the familiar half-circle with 6 or 7
spots laid out in a similar fashion to the full baccarat table described
above. The Player/Banker/Tie spots are in the same order directly
above the Players marked positions, with the dealer sitting
in the center of the table. Table limits for mini-bac can be as
low as $2-$500, $5-$2,000 and $25-$5,000.
Unlike the card procedures for the large baccarat game listed above,
in mini-bac, the game is conducted in a much less formal or ritualistic
manner. In a fashion similar to blackjack, the dealer sits in the
center of the half-circle, pulling the cards from the 8-deck shoe
in a similar procedure to the full baccarat table game. Although
there are some casinos that allow the players to open and reveal
the hands, most mini-baccarat games feature the dealer controlling
all of the action, including the payoffs and Banker commissions.