Baccarat is one of the most elegant and prestigious table games in casinos. Its enigmatic mystique is due more to its elegance than its complexity, with a player’s success at the game largely dependent on their luck and the correct application of basic strategy. The game is also the most popular of all table games in land-based casinos and has a huge following among the elite gamblers. It has been featured in several Hollywood movies, including the classic James Bond film Casino Royal.
Baccarat’s popularity has been fueled by its easy-to-learn rules and high payouts. The game has a reputation for being sophisticated and exclusive, but it’s actually one of the most accessible and rewarding card games to play. Baccarat is thrilling, fun and offers some of the best odds in all of gambling.
The game originated in Italy in the 1400s, but it didn’t reach France until the reign of King Louis XIV (1643-1715). In the 19th Century, baccarat became a favorite among French royalty and continued to enjoy popularity even after public gambling was made illegal in the country. Baccarat was favored in casinos and private gambling parlors, and it became the premier game in European casinos.
A croupier deals the cards from a dealing box, called a shoe, which holds eight 52-card decks. Two cards are dealt to the Bank hand and two to the Player hand, sometimes with a third card added. Whichever hand has a total closest to nine wins. The game is played on a large table with 12 seats, six on either side of the dealer. Those who wish to participate lay down their chips on the numbered areas of the table.
Players may place bets on the Banker, Player or Tie. The house edge is 3.6% on the Banker bet and 1.24% on the Player bet. A win on a Banker bet pays 1:1, but there is a 5% commission on winning Banker bets. The Banker bet is favored by high rollers as it has the best odds.
In addition to the game, Baccarat is famous for its crystal and glassware. In fact, the company is responsible for some of the most recognizable and iconic drinkware of the 19th Century. The 1867 ‘Jusivy’ table service, designed for the Exposition Universelle in Paris, was commissioned by the French Crown and is now part of the collection at the Elysee Palace. The company was also responsible for one of the most recognizable wine glasses of the time, the Harcourt glass, designed in 1841. It has a thick stem and distinctive prismatic lustre, a special finish that reflects a range of colors depending on the light in which it is viewed. The company’s reputation for fine crystal and glassware has continued to grow over the years, with its production expanding worldwide. In the 20th Century, Baccarat was a major supplier of the Royal Courts in Europe and Asia. It also produced many monumental candelabras, such as the magnificent ‘Lunes’ chandelier that hung in the Tuileries Palace and later at the Eiffel Tower.