What is Baccarat?

Baccarat is a classic casino game with simple rules and a relatively low house edge. The game is played from a shoe that holds six or eight decks of cards. Two hands are dealt, the Bank hand and the Player hand. The object is to correctly guess which hand will be closest to nine. Usually, only one card is dealt to each hand, but occasionally a third is drawn. Whichever hand is closer to 9 wins the round. If neither hand has a “natural” (equal value), a tie is awarded.

Baccarat was founded in 1764 by King Louis XV, in the town of Baccarat in eastern France. It was not the first glass workshop in France, but it quickly became famous for its finely engraved tableware and decorative sculptures.

During the Great Exhibitions of the 19th Century, visitors wrote of being dazzled by Baccarat’s glass fountains, lamps and even sculptures. Its strong showings at the exhibitions of 1855, 1867 and 1878 helped it attract customers from far-flung corners of the world, including Portugal, Japan and India.

In addition to enticing new customers, Baccarat’s success at the Great Exhibitions was a major boost for its export trade. The company was able to develop a network of foreign agents, who worked to promote the brand and distribute its products.

As the popularity of baccarat increased, it gave rise to variations on the game, and additional ways to bet and play. Players can place wagers on the banker hand winning, the player hand winning or a tie. A winning player hand pays out 1:1, while a win on the banker’s hand pays out 8 to 1. However, when a winning bet is placed on the banker’s hand, the player must pay a 5% commission to the dealer.

The popularity of baccarat has made it the subject of numerous films and television shows. Most notably, it is featured in the 1954 television series of Casino Royal, where James Bond defeats Le Chiffre at the game. Baccarat also appears in the movies On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, For Your Eyes Only and GoldenEye.

While the rules of baccarat are fairly straightforward, there are several nuances to the game that should be understood before betting on a hand. For example, if the player and banker hands each have a total of 8 or 9, this is considered a “natural” and does not require a third card to be drawn. A score of more than nine must be dropped to get the true value; for example, a 9 and 7 is worth five points. In order to keep track of the scores, many baccarat tables have score sheets available for players to use. These sheets can also help players to better understand the different scoring systems used in baccarat.