Baccarat is a casino game of pure chance, and one which is portrayed in many films as being glamorous and elegant. But this is just an impression; baccarat is actually a simple, slow-paced game that can be played by people of all ages. It’s not just a game for the high rollers either – it can be found in most casinos for table minimums as low as $20.
The earliest recorded version of baccarat is the one published in the book Album des jeux de hasard et de combinaisons by Charles Van-Tenac (1847), which was known as Baccarat a deux tablesaux and also as Baccarat Chemin de Fer (railway baccarat). The latter became more famous as simply ‘Chemmy’ or ‘Shimmy’, but is now virtually extinct.
Although Baccarat is today best known for its crystal glassware – perfectly clear, lustrous works of heavy, lead-based crystal – it had a much wider range of products in the 19th Century. At the 1867 Paris Exposition Universelle, Baccarat displayed several monumental chandeliers, including the 157-light masterpiece which still hangs over the ‘Crystal Staircase’ at the Tuileries Palace, and a pair of enormous candelabra for the Dolmbahce Palace in Istanbul, Turkey.
Baccarat is a fixed-odds game, where the Banker hand must have a total closer to 9 than the Player’s to win. The Player and Banker hands do not receive cards, but the Tie bet pays 8:1 if the player’s or banker’s hand wins. The dealer takes a 5% commission on winning Banker bets, which is how the house makes its money from baccarat.