In the world of casino games, there are few as iconic as Baccarat. The game is slow-moving and ritualistic, usually played in the high roller rooms for big stakes. It was the choice of James Bond and the French aristocracy for centuries, and remains popular in Asia. Despite its complexity and elitism, Baccarat is relatively easy to play. In fact, you only need to make one decision before the cards are dealt – whether to bet on Player, Banker, or Tie. The rest is left to the dealer, who deals two cards each to the Banker and Player hands, then determines which hand is closest to nine.
A winning Player or Banker hand pays out 1 to 1, although a player who bets on a tie must pay the bank a 5% commission, which reduces the payout odds to 19 to 20. A winning Banker hand must have a total of eight or nine (drop the 0 when you calculate), while a winning Player hand must be a nine or eight (drop the 0 when you calculate). Score sheets are provided to help players keep track of the action.
Like other card games, Baccarat has many rules that must be followed. In addition to the basic game rules, there are a number of specialized betting options that can be made. The most common is the tying bet, which pays 8 to 1. The second most common bet is the doubling bet, which pays out 9 to 1 if the first two cards equal a ten or nine. The third most common bet is the nine-to-one, which pays out 9 to 1 if either the player or banker hand has a total of 9.
Baccarat was first introduced in Italy in the mid-18th Century, before becoming the favored game of France’s restored Bourbon monarchy. The aristocracy liked the game because it was simple to learn and required no physical skill. In addition, it was a great way to socialize with other members of the court.
In 1816, the company that would eventually become Baccarat began production of lead crystal glass. The process was similar to that used by English glassmakers of the later 18th Century, but it was not until 1860 that Baccarat began to adopt any kind of trademark for its products. Its trademark was a paper label that was attached to the product; items with these original paper labels are extremely rare. Today, Baccarat pieces contain a scripted laser-etched mark that reads ‘Baccarat’.
Baccarat is a fun game, but it is not for the faint of heart. The science behind it only goes so far, and it is the player who plays loosely and has a good time who typically wins. The guy who over-thinks his bets or is superstitious will probably lose the most money. Regardless of which bet you place, remember to always keep your money in check by playing within your budget. Otherwise, just enjoy the thrill of a good game.