Baccarat is one of the most popular casino games in the world and is a favorite among high rollers. It’s played for huge stakes in the high-limit gambling areas of European and Nevada casinos and it requires no special skills to play. It’s a game that can be enjoyed by players of any level of experience, however it is important to understand the rules and strategy behind this classic card game before making a big bet.
The game of baccarat is played with anywhere from seven to 14 seats and the dealer’s area. Two hands of cards are dealt and each player bets on whether the Player hand, Banker hand, or tie will have a total closer to nine than the other. Each card has a point count, with picture cards (tens, jacks, queens, and kings) worth zero points and numbers 2-9 counting at their face value. Aces are worth one point. If a player’s two cards add up to more than nine, the first digit is dropped.
When the game begins, each player places a bet on Player, Banker, or Tie. Both the Player and Banker are dealt two cards initially, and if the player or banker have a point total of 8 or 9 with their initial two cards, the game ends and no more cards are drawn.
If neither the Player nor Banker has a point total of 8 or 9, the Banker takes another card on a 0-4 score and stands on a 5-6. If the player has a score of 6 or 7, they stand as well.
Baccarat’s success at the Great Exhibitions of the 19th Century earned the firm patronage from wealthy artistic patrons and royalty throughout the world, notably in Ottoman Turkey, Portugal, Japan, and India. Visitors to these opulent fairs wrote of being dazzled by the firm’s monumental glass fountains, lighting fixtures, and sculptures.
A large part of Baccarat’s acclaim at the exhibitions was due to the company’s ability to produce milky, opaline-colored glassware that closely resembled fine porcelain. These glass vases were referred to by contemporary observers as ‘malachite crystal’ and were highly sought after by Victorian collectors. The firm also produced opulent tableware such as vases, platters, and bowls in this opaline glass that were decorated with intricate floral designs and hand-painted flowers. These pieces were so prized that they often became family heirlooms. Baccarat’s successful showings at the fairs would inspire similar works by other glassmakers across Europe. Some of the most dazzling examples of Baccarat glassware from the 19th Century include Joseph Paxton’s massive Crystal Palace and F. & C. Osler’s monumental lighting fixtures. This magnificent glassware was accompanied by equally stunning bronze and metal sculptures of animals, mythical creatures, and classical figures. Many of these sculptures remain in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art today.