The Mystique of Baccarat


Baccarat is one of those casino games that evokes images of men in tuxedos and women in elegant evening gowns playing in opulent casinos. But while the game does have a mystique that stems from its association with high-rollers, it is actually a relatively simple and fun to play. Unlike other card games like blackjack and roulette, which require significant strategy, baccarat is a pure game of chance that can be played by anyone.

Baccarat’s rise in popularity is a result of the fact that it is an easy game to learn and can be played for very high stakes. Players simply place a bet on which hand will be closest to nine points. The goal is to avoid getting a ten or ace, as these hands are considered to be bad for the player. Aces are worth only one point, while 10s and face cards are equal to zero points. The banker’s and player’s hands are dealt two cards each, from a standard six- or eight-deck shoe. If either the banker or player’s hand is closer to nine than the other, the bettors win. The game also allows for third-card draws, which can significantly affect the outcome of a hand.

In the early 19th Century, Baccarat’s great showing at the major fairs of the time brought it a lot of attention. At the 1855 Exposition Universelle in Paris, the company won its first gold medal for a pair of monumental candelabras. This was just the start of a string of royal commissions, as many French monarchs, emperors and heads of state would become regular customers for Baccarat glassware.

The company would go on to win more medals at the important fairs of the time, and its success would draw attention from beyond Europe, as well. For example, the firm was commissioned to provide furnishings for the Dolmabahce Palace, the residence of the Ottoman Sultan in Istanbul.

Today, Baccarat is the world’s most popular table game, and in some of the world’s top casinos, baccarat accounts for 88 percent of all casino revenues. The game is especially popular in Macau and Singapore, where it drives high-limit action with bets of $100,000 or more a hand.

Regardless of whether the game is being played for low or high stakes, baccarat’s rules are straightforward and fairly similar throughout the world. Each player has a spot marked “Player,” “Banker” or “Tie.” The dealer deals the cards and the winner is the hand that is closest to nine points. Typically, the cards are dealt from a shoe that is shuffled after each round.

In addition to betting on the player, banker and tie, players can also make a variety of side bets on the outcome of the game. These bets can include whether the player will hit, if the banker will beat the player, and even the probability of a tied hand. In addition, some sites offer specialty baccarat variations, such as Lunar New Year baccarat, that change the feel of the game to align with the new year’s celebrations.