If you’re looking for a table game that offers high stakes, glamour and James Bond-style gambling fun without any of the complicated strategy required in poker or blackjack, look no further than Baccarat. The game’s relatively simple rules, low house edge and ability to offer huge payouts make it a popular choice for high rollers in Las Vegas.
Baccarat is a card game in which players bet on either the Player hand, the Banker hand or a tie between the two. The goal is to win by getting closer to nine than the other side. The game can be played in a variety of ways, from the more formal “baccarat banque” to the more relaxed “chemin de fer” variation. In both cases, players can bet on either the Player or Banker, with the Banker usually offering a higher house edge.
Depending on the version of the game, there can be from seven to 14 seats for players and a dealer’s area. Each player has a betting box for Player, Banker or Tie bets, and once the bets are placed, the dealer deals two cards to each hand. The player and Banker hands are ranked according to their total point value. Picture cards and tens are worth zero points, cards numbered from 2 to 9 are worth their face value, while the ace is worth one point. Once the hands are dealt, if the player’s and Banker’s total point values are equal, the winning hand is determined.
While some players swear by a number of different betting strategies, a game of Baccarat can be mastered in about 10 or so rounds with little more than reaching out and placing your bets. Regardless of which bet you place, it is important to decide how much you are willing to spend in advance, and to stick to that amount regardless of whether you win or lose. Many people fall into the trap of chasing their losses, thinking that betting more will somehow reduce the house edge, but it won’t, and you’ll wind up losing your money to the dealer.
Many baccarat tables are located in special alcoves, away from the casino floor, which helps to create an intimate atmosphere for those playing the game. The game is often played with real cash, and a player’s bets are stacked on oblong “plaques” rather than on the standard circular chips used in American casinos.
Baccarat was founded in 1764 in the town of Baccarat in Lorraine, eastern France. It was not France’s first glass workshop, but it quickly became known for the quality of its opulent table services and drinkware, as well as its monumental lighting fixtures which were created for world fairs and royal patrons. The firm also produced a milky, opaline glass that was very similar to fine porcelain and which contemporary observers referred to as’malachite’ crystal. The company’s glassware astonished visitors to the great exhibitions of the 19th Century. It was particularly noted for its elaborate vases and flower pots which resembled fine porcelain, as well as the enormous chandeliers it displayed at the 1855, 1867 and 1878 exhibitions in Paris.