Baccarat is a game of chance which is widely popular among casinos all over the world. Especially people in Asia like this game. It has garnered a lot of followers over the years due to its simple rules and depending on the variant played, the high amount of chance involved in the game.
Its history can get pretty complicated because there are 3 main variations of the game, Chemin de Fer, Banque and Punto Banco. Legend says that the game was first created by an Italian gamber named Felix Falguierein in the middle ages and was played at first with a Tarot deck. Even though “baccarat” is a French word, it derives from the Italian word “baccara” which means “zero”. This is an explanation of why baccarat is the losing hand.
It is believed that the game was introduced to France from Italy in 1490 by soldiers of Charles VII during his reign over France. This initial version of baccarat was called “cheming de fer” (meaning railroad) and it was the template of modern Baccarat.
It became accepted by the aristocrat class and was very popular among the nobility in the 16th and 17th centuries when it was secretly played in private houses because at first it was illegal. The game was later declared legal and it grew in popularity when casinos started popping up all across France.
Due to how similar it was to Faro, the French variant of Baccarat (Chemin de fer) became popular in England where it was played for fun or for money. The rules were changed over time and it slowly became known as “European Baccarat”. This version is nowadays known as Baccarat-en-Banque.
Over the years the game was passed on to South Africa, then South America and finally arriving in North America in the early 20th century. At first the game was not very popular with the masses. Most historians attribute this to its similarity to Blackjack which was already one of the most popular games in American casinos. It would later be introduced in Nevada casinos in the 1950’s with a merger of both European and French rules. In other countries this particular version of Baccarat became known as “Punto-Banco”, a name it adopted while being played in Cuba and before it became so widespread in America.
Mini-Baccarat was introduced at a later time so that people in the main casino area could have easy access to it. It can be found in most American casinos and the rules are identical to the normal American version of Baccarat. The only main difference is that a small Blackjack-sized table is used and the dealer alone is allowed to handle the cards.
I hope this has been an informative inside look at the game of Baccarat and how it became the game we know and love today.