Baccarat is one of the most recognizable casino games in the world, from sticky-floor California card rooms to the tuxedo-laden casinos of Monaco. But the game is much more than just a game of chance. It is a game of strategy, and the right banker or player can make all the difference in the world.
Baccarat has become the number-one source of revenue for casinos around the globe, generating more money than even slots do. In Macau alone, casinos take in 88 percent of their total revenue from the game. In addition, casinos in Singapore and the Strip rely on baccarat to a large degree as well.
Unlike many other casino table games, Baccarat is relatively simple to understand and learn. The objective of the game is for your hand, either Player or Banker, to be closer to nine points than the opposition. The points are determined by adding up the digits of the cards in your hand. Tens, jacks, queens, and kings count as zero; the rest of the cards are worth their face value.
Players must place bets on the Player, Banker, or Tie before the cards are dealt. Once the bets have been placed, two cards are dealt to the Player and Banker hands. If the player’s hand is close to nine, they win. If the player’s hand is not close to nine, the player must draw a third card. The Banker must stand on a 0 or 4 score, and hit on a 6 or 7. If the Banker wins the game, bets on the Banker are paid out; bets on the Player are returned to the players; and bets on a tie pay out 8:1.
If the Player and Banker both have the same point total, the game ends in a tie. This is rare, but it does happen. If the Player and Banker both have a total of nine, all bets are paid out. If the Player and Banker have different points, the game is a push and neither the player nor the banker will win.
Baccarat is also known for its beautiful lead crystal, which first made the firm famous in the 18th Century. Among the best examples is the company’s 1867 ‘Jusivy’ table service, which was originally made for the Exposition Universelle. Another of its most famous pieces is the 1841 ‘Harcourt’ glass, which was commissioned by Louis-Philippe, the restored Bourbon king of France. Its thick, short-stemmed shape makes it prized for its prismatic lustre. The glass can reflect an array of colours, depending on its position and how it is positioned to a light source. The glass has been used in the windows of the Eiffel Tower, as well as the Palace of Versailles. The glass is also prized for its durability and strength. The glassmakers at Baccarat have also created other, more elaborate glassware pieces over the years, including the famed Harcourt wine glasses. The firm’s work has been exhibited in museums worldwide.