Baccarat is one of the most elegant and glamorous of all casino games. It is also one of the simplest, with only a low house edge for either the player or banker. But many players don’t understand exactly how the game works, and even more don’t know which bets are best to place.
A Baccarat table is usually set in an isolated alcove, blocked off from the masses of the casino floor and away from other tables. This gives the game a high-end and exclusive feel. Traditionally, the game was played with actual money – $100 bills are spread around the table – but nowadays Baccarat is mostly played with specialized chips. In American casinos, the chips are made of gold and look quite impressive, while in European casinos the chips are oblong plaques.
To start a Baccarat hand, the dealer deals three cards to the two sides of the table. Each side of the table then places a bet on whether they believe their hand will come closest to nine. The game is won by the first side to reach nine. Alternatively, a tie can be contested by placing a bet on a hand to match the dealer’s.
The game was originally a game for the wealthy, and a good deal of the game’s rules are designed to make it as safe as possible. For example, the original rule was that both the Player’s and the Banker’s hands were dealt with their second cards concealed – only the third card, if asked for, would be revealed after the draw decisions had been made. This meant that the banker had to make his or her decision on the basis of a limited amount of information.
Unlike blackjack, baccarat is a game of totals, so the player’s goal is to get as close to 9 as possible without going over. To do this, the player’s cards are added together and the resulting total is counted as points. The most common combination is an 8 and a 9, which equals 15 points. A Queen and a 7 are worth eight points, while an Ace and 6 equals seven.
Once a player has placed their bets, the dealer will decide how much to risk. If the player’s hand is a winner, the winnings will be paid out according to the game’s payout table. A winning Banker hand will be rewarded with a 1:1 payout, while a winning Player hand is paid out at 8:1.
The game’s popularity grew throughout the 19th Century, when it became one of the leading glass manufacturers in Europe. Its strong showing at the Grand Exhibitions of that time brought it to the attention of the restored Bourbon monarch Charles X, who ordered a glass dinner service for his palace. From this point onwards, the firm would go on to win numerous medals at major trade fairs and gain customers from all over the world, including Ottoman Turkey.