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History of Baccarat
() 10:06 PM CET - Feb,17 2020

51% of the world's population gamble one way or another. The truth of the matter is, both men and women are hooked on gambling, which is an advantage to casinos and online betting sites as they raise cash. Speaking of casinos, there are many games to choose from, including Roulette, Bingo, Blackjack, Poker, Keno and Baccarat.

Have you ever wondered who, when, and where started these games? Probably this question has never crossed your mind, but it is high time you learn some insight facts so you can get acquainted with the games even more. This article is, however, dedicated to one game, the Baccarat.

With its increasing popularity all over the world, we have traced its origin and its advancements over the years. So, read on to learn more about the history of the Baccarat.

The Roots of the Baccarat

The baccarat game is believed to have been created in Italy, more than 500 years ago. The man behind this brilliant game was Felix Galguiere, a gambler, who also gave the game its name “baccarat,” translated to mean “zero” in Italian. The zero in the game referred to the values of face cards and the tens. When a player had these numbers, they were equivalent to zero.

There are fantastic explanations that reveal where Baccarat got its rules. One is about an old Etruscan legend where a virgin had to toss dice to know her fate. She had three possible outcomes: rise to become a princess, banishment, or death.

If the virgin threw the dice and displayed numbers 8 or 9, that would qualify her to serve as a princess. If the outcome was a 6 or 7, then she would be assured of life but in banishment. This outcome meant that the virgin had no right to take part in any community affairs as well as religious activities.

However, if the dice had a figure less than 6, that meant death. The virgin had to walk and drown herself in the sea. Although this is a myth, it’s difficult to imagine how a dice held so much power in determining the fate of these young virgins, but it lays the cornerstone to this popular game.

The second tale belongs to Chinese; they had a game called Pai Gow. Played with cards, the best score in the game was number 9, which is similar to Baccarat. It is, however, unknown why people no longer use dice when playing the game but instead use cards.

It is also unknown when cards replaced dice. During this time, Baccarat was a game for the rich and aristocrats and remained so when it got to France. Tarot cards were first used before advancing to the 52 cards deck.

So, how was Baccarat played? Four players could also act as bankers. They could bet against each other or the house. There were four different dealers who dealt with cards.

Baccarat in France

Baccarat got to France thanks to the French soldiers who came from Italy after conflict. This is where it gained popularity and recognition. One favorite player was King Charles VIII, who would play the game with his nobles. For centuries, the game retained a royal stature among aristocrats. It’s the French who changed the game from the name “baccara” to “baccarat.” It is also in France where two variations of the game were developed, known as “Baccarat en Banque and Chemin de Fer.”

So, how was the Baccarat played? According to Mike Tan, a partner at Online Casino Gems, it was played in a similar Italian manner. He says that "just like in Italy, the French players had the chance to become bankers and they could bet against the house or each other."

Baccarat in England

On the 13th of January 1866, Baccarat was first mentioned in the Daily Telegraph. This publication earned the game significant popularity in England. It was considered a game for the rich, and Ian Fleming, a player and writer, advanced this theme.

Through his fictional book, Ian created a rich baccarat player – James Bond. In the book, Bond showcases that the stakes in the game are extremely high, although he often plays it.

Baccarat in America

Baccarat did get to America with the help of French and English citizens at the end of the 19th century. It, however, did not gain popularity as most casinos preferred blackjack, a game that was widely known by the casinos and their clients.

Despite this, the game received recognition from Argentina and Cuba and was even adapted in the Cuban culture. Due to this, the Cuban made a few adjustments to the rules of the game, and “Punto Banco" or "North American Baccarat" was created.

It was not until the 1950s when the game gained popularity in Las Vegas. Tommy Renzoni, a writer and casino player, is credited to have taken the game to Sands Casino. When casinos were closed in Havana, he took his game to Las Vegas and made the introduction. He used the same rules as Punto Banco.

The game was played by the rich, and the casinos had a way of enticing them to play. There were designated, special rooms for baccarat playing, adorned with posh leather chairs and velvet curtains to keep off the public. This state of allure combined with high-stake bets set the bar high barring middle-class society.

So, how was the Baccarat played then? In the North American Baccarat rules, players cannot become bankers. This role is entirely on the house. They can, however, choose on whom to place their bet on; the house, a player, or a tie.

Baccarat Today

With the advancing technology, Baccarat has experienced phenomenal changes in the 21st century. Speaking about things the internet has simplified, Baccarat is one of them. Today, one does not need to visit a casino to play. There are online casinos where you can place a bet at the comfort of your home. Surprisingly, it’s not all about money. Some casinos allow you to have fun before placing a real bet for real money.

Besides, unlike the past where the middle-class society had no right to play the game, anyone can play the game as long they meet the expected stakes. No one will do a background check to see what your last name is.

Lastly, three baccarat variations are recognized in all casinos. You can choose to play North American Baccarat (Punto Banco), Baccarat en Banque, or Chemin de Fer.

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