A Beginner’s Guide to Baccarat
Baccarat is the game that conjures up images of men in tuxedos and women in cocktail dresses, laying down chips as they watch the dealer deal the cards. It’s a game that seems enigmatic and sophisticated, but the truth is it’s a relatively easy casino table game to play. In fact, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can master Baccarat in just minutes.
The game is based on simple odds and probabilities. Players can bet on either the Player hand, Banker hand or a tie. The objective is to predict which hand will win by adding up the total values of each card, subtracting ten (because no hand can exceed nine). The game is typically dealt from a six or eight deck shoe and the cards are arranged in order of rank, with two of them being given a value of zero. The remaining cards have a numeric value equal to their pip denomination. The two most common pip values are the 2 and the 7, while the Ace is worth one.
In Baccarat, the game rules are slightly different to those of a standard poker game in that the game is played by a single active player against the banker. The active player can bet ‘carte’ or ‘non’ on the outcome of the game and has an obligation to call ‘carte’ with a hand total of 4 or less, and ‘non’ with a hand total of 6 or 7. Once all bets are placed the dealer deals the cards.
There are a number of ways that Baccarat glassware can be decorated, but the most iconic is the use of milky, opaline-coloured glass. These pieces often featured hand-painted floral decorations and closely resembled fine porcelain, which made them popular with Victorian collectors. Other decorations include etching, where the glass is cut with a copper grindstone or acid, or engraving, in which the glass is covered in bitumen, a tough tar-like substance, and then dipped into an acid bath that cuts away the uncovered parts of the design.
Baccarat is also famous for the monumental lighting fixtures it produced for exhibitions and royalty in the 19th Century. The 1855 Exposition Universelle in Paris saw the company astonish audiences with its 17.5 foot (5 metres) tall candelabras, and it continued to impress at subsequent exhibitions, too. The firm’s green-tinted crystal vases, known as’malachite crystal’, became particularly popular at this time and were often embellished with intricate floral designs.