What is Baccarat?


Baccarat is one of the most popular casino games in Asia, but is a relative unknown to many players in North America. The game has long been a staple of high-stakes gambling salons in Europe, but has recently begun to gain traction among American players and casinos. Despite its elegant European origins, the game has been simplified and streamlined for the modern gaming floor, and its lower table minimums have made it more accessible to American players.

Baccarat can be played by two or more players, with a maximum of nine players on the table. Each player places a bet on either the ‘Player’ hand, the ‘Banker’ hand or a tie. The goal is to get a total closer to nine than the opposing hand. The game uses a set of standard 52-card decks shuffled together, and each card rank has a numerical value. The cards 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 count as zero, while tens and face cards are worth 1. The Banker hand wins if it is closer to nine than the player’s.

Unlike other casino banked games, baccarat also offers the player the option to place a bet on the Banker’s hand. The banker’s bet pays out based on a combination of the Player and Banker hands, with the odds for the player against the Banker being 8 to 1 (the house edge varies from casino to casino). Baccarat also offers the possibility to bet on a tie, although this bet can have a very high variance and is often viewed as an optional bet by some players.

The game of baccarat has a long and rich history, and it was first recorded in France around the end of the 18th Century. It was the focus of a great deal of attention in the 19th Century due to its appearance at the great exhibitions, where it was displayed alongside Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace and F. & C. Osler’s monumental fountains and lighting fixtures. The factory itself was founded in 1764 in the small town of Baccarat, in what was then the province of Lorraine in eastern France.

Baccarat is often portrayed in films as an exclusive pastime for the upper classes, but it was played by all types of social groups at the time. It was a popular game at Watier’s, the famous London gentlemen’s club that helped make Beau Brummell famous. It was also featured in several of the James Bond movies, including Dr. No, where the character is introduced while playing baccarat; Thunderball; On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; and GoldenEye. Despite the game’s long and rich history, there is no contemporary evidence that it was ever played in Italy, and its name is believed to have been inspired by an aristocratic French family. There are, however, numerous implausible legends about the game’s history and etymology.

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