Baccarat is one of those opulent casino games that evoke images of high-rollers in tuxedos sitting around a table, placing chips as the dealer distributes cards. While the game has a mystique, it’s actually quite easy to learn and play. It’s also fun and can be played with friends, whether you’re at home on your computer or in a real casino.
The game has three possible outcomes—a player win, banker win and a tie—and players place their bets based on who they favor to win. In addition, there are a number of side bets you can place which have odds that vary by establishment and platform.
In the modern version of the game, there are seven to 14 seats for players and a dealer’s area. Each player is dealt two cards. Picture cards and tens count as zero points; cards numbered from 2-9 are worth their face value; and aces count as one point. The objective of the game is to get the total closer to nine than the opponent’s. If the player’s and banker’s totals match, it’s a natural; if not, the side with the highest total wins.
When the dealer deals a hand, the player or banker may call for a third card if they feel that their hand is in a weak position. The dealer must follow strict rules to determine if a third card is needed. The player or banker can also choose to re-deal the hand, if they believe that it is in a better position after a re-deal.
While the rules of baccarat are simple, the game’s sophistication comes from its etiquette and ritual. There’s a lot of discussion among baccarat experts about how the game is played, from the amount of conversation to the timing of bet placement. In fact, baccarat is so popular that it’s now a staple in the casinos of Macau, which dethroned Las Vegas as the world’s premier gaming destination.
Baccarat glassware is often engraved, although this is done with a scripted laser rather than a paper label like in the 19th Century. The engraving process is either copper grindstone or acid, the latter of which involves covering the surface in bitumen—a tough tar-like material—to show a negative of the desired pattern. The glass is then dipped in acid to cut away the bitumen and reveal the engraved surface. Baccarat glassware is usually etched with the word “Baccarat” and sometimes a stylized logo. In some cases, a round of baccarat will feature multiple motifs that represent the region of France in which the glass was produced. A good example is a tulip motif, which represents Lorraine in eastern France. Other motifs might include flowers, landscapes or animals. These are usually engraved in gold or silver, although some pieces were painted with colors.