Baccarat, or baccara outside of the United States, is one of the most popular casino games in the world. In a game of baccarat, the house acts as the banker. Players place bets on either the Banker hand, the Player hand, or a tie. Each hand is dealt three cards and the winner is determined by which has a total closest to nine. The game originated in the salons of Italy and France, and later spread throughout Europe. Baccarat is typically played with real cash, and many casinos have a separate room for it that’s blocked off from the main gaming floor. In the US, it’s usually played with oblong chips that look like $100 bills.
Unlike blackjack or roulette, where players can make a variety of decisions that influence the outcome of each round, there are no other choices in baccarat. Players must decide to bet on the Banker, the Player, or a tie before the dealer hands out the cards. Players must then wait to see which of the two hands will come out with a score closest to 9. If either hand scores above 9, the player must drop the first digit to get the true number. Score sheets are provided to keep track of each round.
One of the reasons that baccarat is so popular is its elegance and tradition. It was first played with tarot cards, and then with regular playing cards, but over time the rules became more refined. It became known as ‘Chemin de Fer’ and ‘Chemmy’ in France, and was popular with the royal court. The game has also spread to Asia, where it is a very popular casino game with high stakes.
The 19th Century saw the Baccarat company become well established, and its glassware was commissioned by a number of royalty and heads of state. The company’s founder was a great admirer of the work produced at the factory, and on his visit in 1828 he was presented with two glass vases, an ewer and a tea set. This was the start of a long line of royal commissions for the company, which also included items made for the Emperor Napoleon III and King Louis-Philippe.
During this period, the company also developed its famous ‘Baccarat crystal’. This is a type of glass that is made using a mix of silica, ‘flux’ such as soda (sodium carbonate) and’stabiliser’ such as lime (calcium oxide).
Baccarat crystal has an iridescence which is unsurpassed in the industry. The material is extremely durable, and the light reflects off of the surface in a way that gives it a brilliant shine. The material can be made in a variety of colors, and is often gilded or applied with gold powder to give the glass an elegant sheen. It is also sometimes engraved, and this can be done with a copper grindstone or by acid engraving. Acid engraving involves covering the glass with bitumen, a tough tar-like substance, and then dipping it in acid which cuts away at the uncovered areas of the glass.