The name Baccarat conjures images of glitzy casinos and James Bond-style glamour, but the game is actually quite simple. Players make one bet before the cards are dealt – either on Player Win, Banker Win or Tie – and then the dealer does the rest. There is no skill in the game, which is why it’s one of the most popular table games worldwide. Casinos in Macau, which have dethroned Las Vegas as the world’s biggest gambling hub, derive nearly 88 percent of their income from baccarat. And in the US, baccarat produces 18 percent of total casino win.
The rules of the game differ slightly depending on whether you are playing Punto Banco or the tuxedo-clad Chemin de Fer version, but they are very similar. In both cases, players play against the banker – not each other. Typically, the table is divided into two halves with a player on each side of the banker. The player and banker each receive two cards and then the winner is determined based on which hand is closest to nine, with 9 being the best possible score.
As with most casino games, the minimum bet in baccarat varies from one establishment to another, but $20-$25 seems to be the standard. It is also important to keep in mind that past wins and losses have no bearing on the outcome of any future hand, so be sure to make adjustments accordingly.
In the early 19th Century, Baccarat’s production diversified greatly in style and technique, with glassware becoming particularly popular. These milky, ‘opaline’ vases often featured hand-painted floral decorations and closely resembled fine porcelain. They were especially cherished by Victorian collectors and became known as the ‘Queen of Tableware’. Baccarat’s production would further broaden in the latter part of the century with monumental lighting fixtures and a stunning display at the 1867 Paris Exposition Universelle that left audiences astonished at its sheer scale.
Baccarat was among the first companies to adopt any kind of trademark at all, but even this took time and only after 1860 were some of the company’s most famous pieces marked with the ‘Baccarat’ mark. Items with the original paper labels are now very rare.
Baccarat is the game of choice for high rollers in many jurisdictions, including the UK, and some online casinos have set aside a special section of their website dedicated to this very high-stakes game. This is a good idea, as baccarat can be very addictive and it’s easy to lose control of your bankroll. As with any casino game, it’s always a good idea to practice good stake management and limit your losses. Staking 10 units for each wager and limiting yourself to 200 units per session (followed by a break) is a sensible strategy. This approach will also help you to track your winnings. Good luck!