Baccarat is a casino game that is widely played in Asia and the United States. It is one of the oldest casino games in existence and is often described as the most elegant and refined card game. It is also the most popular choice for high-rollers in many casinos, especially those in Asia. It is a game that requires patience, concentration and respect for the other players. Baccarat is played on a large table in the tuxedo-laden rooms of casinos and often involves a minimum wager of $100 or more per hand.
In the game of baccarat, eight standard 52-card decks are shuffled together and dealt by a croupier (dealer) from a dealing box called a shoe. A third card is sometimes drawn. There are two main bets in baccarat: the Banker bet and the Player bet. The payout on a winning bet is based on the total value of the three cards. The game is very slow and ceremonious, and the rules are strictly adhered to.
Originally called Baccara, the name was changed to baccarat when it spread from Italy to France in the mid-18th Century. The French spelled it baccarat, with the spelling changing again when the game was adopted in America. Baccarat is also known as chemin de fer, and the name may have been inspired by the way the croupier deals the cards, moving them like trains around the table.
The French company Baccarat produced the most impressive glassware of its time in the 19th Century, creating monumental lighting fixtures and other structures for exhibitions and royal patrons across Europe. The firm astonished contemporary observers at the Expositions Universelles of 1855 and 1867 with its green-tinted ‘malachite crystal’ glass, earning the company an enduring reputation as a maker of opulent finery for important patrons.
Charles X of France became an early patron of the company when he visited its factory in 1828. He was presented with a glass vase, ewer, tea service and water set. This led to further commissions from the monarchy and other important clients, including Napoleon III.
Most baccarat games played in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and other countries which legalise casino gambling use a simplified version of the game called Punto Banco. This simplified form is sometimes referred to as mini-baccarat because it has a lower minimum bet and does not require the croupier to make any decisions. The bettor chooses whether to back the Banker or Player.
Most modern Baccarat tables are designed to hold up to 12 players, with six seats on either side of a central dealer who is not involved in the play. The table is covered in green felt, and a layout marks out where bets can be placed. The most common bet is on the Banker, which has a fixed house edge of 9.18 percent. In addition to the standard bets, players can also place Super Six Bets and Pair Bets. The former pays out if the Banker wins with a total of 6 points, while the latter is paid out if the first two cards are a pair.