Baccarat is a card game that has its origins in medieval Italy, but has since become one of the world’s most popular casino games. Today it has three variants, including the widely played punto banco (banker hand) and chemmy (player hand).
Baccarat involves a table divided into two sections with players on either side of the banker and a third hand dealt to the banker. The objective of the game is to predict which of these hands will acquire a total closest to nine. Unlike most casino card games players don’t bet against each other but are instead betting on whether the Player hand, the Banker hand or the Tie will win. Those who correctly forecast the winning Player hand receive a payout of 1 to 1. Those who bet on a winning Banker hand must pay a 5% commission that reduces the odds on this wager to 19 to 20. Those who place a bet on the tie hand are paid out 8 to 1.
The game was originally played with the Banker’s and Player’s hands concealed. Only the third hand, or if requested, is exposed when the draw decisions are made. The banker’s decision is based on a variety of factors including the number of players and their bet sizes.
There are a variety of side bets that can be placed on Baccarat, but the payout odds for these vary from place to place. These side bets can be risky as they can lead to large losses if the player doesn’t know when to stop. However, they can also be a fun way to add excitement and variation to the game.
The rules of baccarat are relatively simple. The game is based on the ancient Etruscan legend of a virgin who had to throw a nine-sided die. If she threw an 8, she was elevated to the rank of priestess and allowed to take part in community and religious activities. If she threw lower than 6, she was banished to the sea to drown. This was the origin of the game’s name, which was a corruption of the Italian word for the nine-sided die.
Baccarat glassware is renowned for its quality and elegance. Many of the pieces produced by the company in the mid-19th Century were displayed at the great international fairs and exhibitions of that era. Visitors to the shows were awed by the monumental fountains, lighting fixtures and glass sculptures on display, from Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace to F. & C. Osler’s colossal chandeliers.
Despite its long history and high-quality production, the Baccarat factory was not immune to financial difficulties during the 19th Century. The company would continue to produce some of the most exquisite and sophisticated pieces of art glass in Europe, but it was not until the turn of the 20th Century that the firm would re-emerge as a major supplier for royal palaces, museums and important artistic patrons around the world. It was during this time that the Baccarat production would broaden significantly in both decorative style and technique.