Baccarat is a card game in which the player and the banker each place bets on who will win a hand. The game is slow-moving and ritualistic, often played in the high-roller rooms of casinos. Its popularity has spawned several variants and side bets, such as Mini Baccarat and the more complicated Chemin de Fer. Unlike the faster games of blackjack and roulette, baccarat is usually dealt from a large table that seats up to 12 players.
Although the game’s origin is a bit hazy, most historians agree that it comes from Italy and France. Its name is derived from the word ‘baccara’ which means nothing or zero. This is due to the fact that picture cards such as queens, jacks, and kings are worth zero points while all tens are worth one point. The goal of the game is to get as close to nine as possible without going over.
In the early 19th Century, Baccarat became renowned for its milky glass which many observers likened to fine porcelain. Its glassware won accolades and commissions from royalty, aristocrats, and industrialists across Europe. The company’s successes at the great exhibitions of the era also brought in customers from further afield, including Ottoman Turkey, Portugal, and Japan.
Baccarat’s pieces are usually engraved, either with a copper grindstone or through acid engraving. Acid engraving involves covering the glass in a tough tar-like substance, which shows the negative of the intended design, before dipping it in acid to cut away the uncovered area. The resulting patterns give the glassware its characteristic prismatic lustre.