Baccarat History

Legend has it that baccarat was invented by an Italian gambler named Felix Falguiere in the middle ages. The game was played using tarot cards and was based on an ancient Etruscan ritual. The story was as follows. A blonde virgin would roll a die with nine sides. The outcome of the roll would indicate her destiny. If the roll resulted in an 8 or 9 then she would become the priestess to the nine gods. If the roll resulted in a 6 or 7 then she would be banned from participating in any religious rituals. If the roll resulted in a 5 or less then she would walk into the sea and meet a watery grave. In Italian baccarat means zero, which is the lowest possible hand value in the game. Though the game has traveled all over the world, the Italian name of baccarat has stuck.
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Towards the end of the fifteenth century baccarat was being played by the French nobility in the court of Charles VIII. During the rule of Napoleon the game was officially banned but was popular underground. The French variation of baccarat was named baccarat Chemin de Fer after the French word for railways. It was during this time that the game was introduced in England where it also became popular as a fun game and was called European baccarat or baccarat en banque. In this version the casino is the bank and this allows for games with higher stakes. The next region to embrace baccarat was South America.

When the casinos in Havana were shut down, Tommy Renzoni brought this game to the Dunes Casino in Las Vegas in 1950. It was played under rules that were a combination of Chemin de Fer and European baccarat. This version came to be known as American baccarat. American baccarat became very popular and the baccarat tables in casinos became the preserve of high rollers. Several James Bond movies figured baccarat prominently and the low rollers too desired a piece of the action. This led to the introduction of mini baccarat. Mini baccarat is usually played with the same rules as American baccarat but has much lower table stakes and somewhat simplified procedures. It attracts those with average bankrolls. A simpler version of baccarat played in North America is known as punto banco. In this version neither the player nor the banker makes any discretionary moves. All play is dictated by the cards dealt.

The next big move in the evolution of baccarat came with online baccarat. The development of computer software, especially the random number generator, made it possible to play baccarat on computers. However it was the development of Internet technology in the 1990s that really gave a fillip to online baccarat. Simultaneously technologies also developed to handle financial transactions. Online casinos mushroomed
and players could wager sitting in the comfort of their homes. Now one did not have to be in America to play American baccarat or in France to play baccarat Chemin de Fer.