History and Origins of Baccarat

Often considered to be a table game for the elite, baccarat is one of the oldest casino games. Like other older games, it is difficult to precisely determine its exact origins.

Baccarat: an Italian Game

It would n’t be easy to confirm where and when baccarat was invented. There are many different opinions, some claim that the origins of the game lie in the Middle Ages while others believe that the game first appeared in the 15th century. According to the first theory, nobles played baccarat in their castles but used tarot cards. This theory, which isn’t universally accepted, contrasts with the one claiming that the game was created in Italy in the 15th century and accounts exist from this period mentioning a major Italian player called Felix Falguerein. This hypothesis is backed up by the original meaning of the word baccarat: “zero” or “nothing” in Italian. The word relates to the fact that the coloured cards and the 10 have a value of zero in the game. Then it is believed that Charles VIII, the French king, introduced it to the French nobility which led to its expansion worldwide.

The growth of baccarat

After Charles VIII introduced it to France, baccarat became very popular with the French nobility and from then on it was looked on as a game just for the aristocracy and it attracted major players. Baccarat tables became the place for members of good families to prove their bravery by taking often over the top risks. Casinos on the French Riviera took over the game and various versions were developed, the main one being “Chemin de Fer” which got its name from the fact that the cards were put in an iron box before being dealt. Baccarat then spread throughout Europe and in particular to Britain where it became very popular. The growth of the British Empire brought baccarat to other parts of the world, to Asia and to America in particular. So from the 19th century on, baccarat was known worldwide but it was the 1950s before baccarat appeared in the casinos of Las Vegas. The Dune Casino was the first to have baccarat tables and then the other major Nevada casinos followed suit. This led to the development of a new version of baccarat : Punto Banco, which is now the most widespread version in the United States.

Mini – baccarat

Baccarat has managed to keep its elite reputation over the years. In land based casinos access to the tables is always reserved for fairly wealthy people and there is a dress code in place. In order to get around this aspect and to bring the game to the public in general, some casinos developed mini- baccarat in the 1980s. The rules are identical but betting levels are lower, players are more relaxed and the game is less serious.

Nowadays, baccarat ( which can be written with or without the “t”) is one of the most popular games in both land based and online casinos.

The Emergence of Live Baccarat

Baccarat is as available in live casinos as roulette and blackjack. It is a leading game in online casinos where players prefer to bet in a live casino without having to travel to a real casino because with new technology they can play with a live dealer at any time day or night. Many software companies specialise in live games such as Visionary Igaming, Actual Gaming, Ezugi and needless to mention the leaders, Playtech and Microgaming.

Live baccarat is very popular with online players and the tables are full since gaming conditions are much more practical than in land based casinos.