Baccarat is a game of chance that is often tucked away in high-limit areas of casino floor. While it’s not a popular choice among American casino-goers, it is the most lucrative game in casinos worldwide. Last year Macau casinos made more than 88 percent of their $33.2 billion in casino revenue from this game alone. It’s also the number one game in Singapore and accounts for about 18 percent of Las Vegas Strip casino revenue.
While there are many implausible legends about the game’s history, Baccarat is known to have originated in France. In the mid-to late-18th Century the Bishop of Orleans, Louis-Joseph de Laval-Montmorency, sought to establish a prestigious artistic workshop in his diocese. He founded the company as a glassworks in 1764, naming it after the town of Baccarat in eastern France.
The firm’s early production was of windows and mirrors, but from the turn of the 19th Century it began to broaden its horizons. It won acclaim at the Great Exhibitions of the period – Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace, F. & C. Osler’s monumental chandeliers and Baccarat’s displays of glass fountains, lighting fixtures and sculptures – catching the attention of leading artistic patrons and impressing visitors from all over the world.
A game of baccarat involves betting on either the Player hand, Banker hand or a tie. Two cards are dealt to each of these hands and the objective is to get a total closer to nine than the other hand. The total is calculated by adding up the pips (the dots on the cards of clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades) with the first digit dropped in cases where the hand is over ten. Face cards count as zero and aces as 1.
In addition to the game of baccarat, Baccarat manufactures other types of glassware. Its famous Baccarat tableware is created in a process that includes melting and blowing the component parts together. The resulting molten glass is then shaped with a variety of tools, heated in furnaces that reach temperatures of up to 1500 degrees Celsius. The finished product may be engraved with patterns using techniques such as etching or acid engraving. Alternatively, it may be gilded, using gold powder that is fused into the surface of the glass.
The popularity of baccarat has soared in recent years, even in the United States, where the game is played less frequently than in Europe and Asia. Despite the James Bond pageantry of the tables in high limit rooms with tuxedo-clad dealers, Baccarat is now found on many casino floors and can be enjoyed by anyone willing to stake a minimum bet. It’s easy to see why the game is so popular: it’s simple, fast and incredibly lucrative. It’s no wonder that the casinos of Macau, which dethroned Las Vegas in 2006, make more money from this game than any other casino in the world. In the US, the game can be played at online baccarat sites.