Baccarat is one of the most popular casino games worldwide. It is a game that originated in the gambling salons of Italy and France, but it has recently seen a rise in casinos throughout Asia.
The game uses a number of standard 52-card decks that are shuffled together to produce the ‘dealer’ and ‘banker’ cards. Unlike poker, baccarat has no set strategy but instead involves making decisions on the basis of the available information.
Players take turns to bet on whether the banker or player will get a ‘card’, namely two face up cards. Each card has a value, from 2 to 9 pip, ace carries a value of 1, and all other cards carry a value of zero.
There are three main versions of baccarat, each with its own unique rules. These are Punto Banco, Chemin de Fer and Baccarat a Deux Tableaux.
Baccarat was first introduced into Europe in the 18th Century. It was soon dubbed ‘Chemmy’, and enjoyed widespread popularity among the French nobility and aristocracy.
In the 19th Century, the Baccarat factory developed its production techniques, making a wide range of glassware and glass sculptures, including pieces commissioned for public display at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1867. These pieces – including the magnificent ‘Crystal Palace’ shown above – were widely admired for their timeless design, and became synonymous with wealth and refined taste.
The firm’s most famous work, however, was their crystal glassware. Using techniques that were developed by English glassmakers in the later 18th Century, the company was able to produce flawless, heavy, lead-based crystal that was perfectly clear and lustrous. These ‘Baccarat crystal’ glasses were prized by the wealthiest of Europeans, and are still sought after today.