Baccarat – The Casino Game Most Associated With James Bond
Baccarat is the casino card game most associated with James Bond, but it’s also a very simple and slow-paced game of pure chance. It’s a good choice for those new to the casino world as there is no skill required and it offers some of the best odds in the casino.
Baccarat originated in Europe and Asia and became popular in casinos over the past thirty years. The house-backed game is especially attractive to Asian high rollers and it has become a staple of the casinos in Macau and Singapore.
There are from seven to 14 seats on the Baccarat table and only two hands of cards are dealt – the Player hand and the Banker’s. The croupier (dealer) operates the game and collects the losing bets and pays the winning ones. A 5% commission is charged for betting on the Banker hand and this is how the casino makes money on the game. Commissions are tracked in a special commission box and collected for each winning Banker bet.
The cards are drawn from an 8-deck shoe and shuffled together. A standard deck of 52 cards is used and each card rank has a value of its pip denomination – 2 through 9 pip cards are worth zero points, face cards are worth their face values, and the Aces are valued at 1. Offline Baccarat is usually played with eight decks of cards while online baccarat is often played with six.
Both the Player’s and Banker’s hands are dealt two cards each and the winner is whoever has the total closest to nine points. There is no tie option and a ten or a nine must always win. The Player’s and Banker’s hands remain concealed until the final decision is made, which can be either ‘carte’ if the hand total is zero or ‘non’ for a higher hand total.
Despite the many implausible legends about Baccarat’s origin, there is no contemporary evidence for its existence before 19th century France. Its success at the great 19th Century exhibitions – 1855 Paris Fair where it exhibited a monumental glass fountain and a glass ’Temple of Mercury’; and the Exhibition Universelle in 1867 where it won several awards for its table service and the ‘Jusivy’ candelabra – brought Baccarat fame and patronage across Europe, as well as Portugal, Japan, India and the Ottoman Empire.
The firm’s most celebrated designs – for exhibition and otherwise – are prized today. The thick short-stemmed wine glasses of the Harcourt design, for example, were first commissioned in 1841 and are noted for their prismatic lustre which changes colours in a range of light conditions. Baccarat’s strong showings at the exhibitions of the 1870s earned it orders from important art patrons all over the world, including Tsar Nicholas II of Russia who commissioned a set of six Baccarat candelabras that never made it to the Russian capital due to World War I and the subsequent Russian Revolution.