What is La Petite?
In baccarat, la petite is a nickname for a two-card hand that totals eight, otherwise known as a ‘natural hand‘ or a ‘natural baccarat’. Only a hand that makes nine can beat the ‘la petite hand’. The hand could be made of a number of card combinations, including A-7, 2-6, 3-5 and 4-4. Occasionally, the term might be used to describe a three-card hand that totals eight, such as A-2-5 or 2-3-3.
La Petite Explained
Much of the language used in the game of Baccarat comes from French, Spanish and Italian languages. The game is associated with European royalty who would often play the game with those they visited in other nations, and the international phrasing which surrounds the game is likely a nod to this time. ‘La Petite’ is a French phrase, roughly translated to ‘the little one’, and it refers to a natural baccarat hand that totals eight.
In casino baccarat, bettors are tasked with predicting whether the ‘player hand’ or the ‘banker hand’ is going to total closer to nine. Hands that achieve a total of eight or nine within the starting deal are known as ‘natural hands’, or a ‘natural baccarat’. If a hand totals eight, it is often called ‘la petite’ or ‘the little one’. If a hand totals nine, it is called ‘la grande’ or ‘the big one’. Hands are scored according to the face value of the cards, with aces assigned a value of 1 and all kings, queens, jacks and tens totaling zero. If a hand’s total exceeds 10 (such as 8 and 7), then only the last digit of the number counts towards the score. An 8-7 hand is therefore worth a total of five in baccarat scoring. A hand totaling ten would be worth 0 – the worst possible baccarat ranking.