Baccarat is one of the most elegant and sophisticated table games to ever hit casinos. It’s slow-moving, ritualistic, and played with cash – $100 bills, not chips. At high-roller tables, it’s a game of serious money that’s usually blocked off from the other casino action.
This makes baccarat perfect for the discerning gambler who wants to sit back and enjoy the experience without having to constantly hustle to make sure their bankroll doesn’t disappear under the weight of other players’ bets. And it’s no wonder that baccarat has become the go-to table game for many of Vegas’ highest rollers.
In addition to its luxurious feel, baccarat also happens to be a relatively easy game to play. While there are a few complexities to the game, they’re minimal and are mostly handled by the dealer. Baccarat’s low house edge (a player win or banker win pays 1 to 1) and 5% commission on winning banker bets means that you can walk away from the table with more than double your initial wager.
A quick run-down of the rules: 8 points equals a player hand, 9 points equals a banker hand and zero points equals a tie. The cards are dealt according to fixed rules, and there is no option for drawing a third card. When the Player and Banker hands result in totals closest to 9, they are paid out at 1:1. If the player and banker hands have identical totals, the Tie bet wins at 8:1.
The first incarnation of the Baccarat factory opened in the mid-18th Century and produced windows and mirrors, among other items of tableware. Its work caught the eye of restored Bourbon monarch Charles X, who commissioned an extensive glass dinner service for his Tuileries Palace. This would be the beginning of a long line of French monarchs, Emperors and heads of state who would patronise the company. Baccarat’s success at the Great Exhibitions of the 19th Century would further expand its reputation. It won numerous gold medals, including at the 1867 Paris Exposition Universelle where it displayed a monumental crystal fountain; and at the 1878 Exposition d’Égypt where it showcased a stunning nine-light standing candelabra.
As Baccarat expanded its operations around the world, it opened branches in places like London, Moscow and New York City. Its products would find their way to the royalties of countries as diverse as Turkey, Portugal and Japan.
While it still produces a range of other luxury tableware and decorative items, its glass is its flagship product. Its production process involves melting together multiple raw ingredients in large furnaces that can reach temperatures of more than 1500 degrees Celsius. The molten mixture is then either blown or pulled into the desired shape and then cooled. Finally, the glass is gilded or painted with gold powder to produce its classic appearance.
Baccarat continues to be a manufacturer of luxury tableware today and its 21st Century pieces are characterized by ‘a dialogue between heritage and modernity’. The company proudly proclaims that its ‘heritage-inspired designs are rooted in the finest traditions of fine European craftsmanship’.