You may love playing Baccarat, but how much do you know about this classic casino game? You will be interested to learn that the history of Baccarat actually dates back more than 500 years to medieval Italy. Baccarat has been a favourite casino card game among aristocrats and royals for centuries. More recently, it has made the leap into the Internet as well, making it accessible for everyone, no matter their budgets or locations.
The game of Baccarat was first played in the 1400s in Italy. It was invented by a man called Felix Falguiere, who named it ‘baccara’, which is Italian for zero. Baccarat is so named because all face cards and 10s in the games are worth zero points.
A Legend Begets Another One
Legend has it that the Italian game of Baccara was based on an Etruscan myth of a virgin who was instructed to throw a di with 9 sides. The result of her throw would determine whether she would become a priestess or be thrown into the sea to drown. It may be a harsh story, but it did create the foundational rules of one of the world’s favourite modern casino games!
Nobody today would ever be banished to the sea for rolling a 5 or lower, but they would lose the round and their bets as well. Original Baccarat was different in a number of other ways, too. Cards were dealt by 4 dealers instead of 1, and players could bet against other players and the house. Nowadays, players will find only 1 dealer and can only play against the house, which also serves as the banker.
The Birth of Punto Banco
Baccarat quickly spread from Italy to France, where it became known as Chemin de Fer. The game was a favourite of King Charles VIII and his noblemen, and it quickly became fashionable among the aristocracy of France as well. As time marched on, the game migrated over to the Caribbean and South America too. The Cubans made a few changes to it and created Punto Banco, a version specifically tailored to Latin American players.
Decades later in the 1950s, Tommy Renzoni saved Baccarat from dying in closed Havana casinos and brought it to the Sands Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada in the USA. Baccarat did not catch on among Vegas players the way that slots and Roulette did, but casinos cleverly marketed it towards wealthy and exclusive players. They set high bet limits and hid their Baccarat tables in special salon prives especially for the rich and famous. Overnight, Baccarat gained a reputation as a game that the most enviable members of society adored.
Online Baccarat Steals the Show
The game made land-based casinos very wealthy until 1994, when Microgaming opened the very first online casino. Suddenly players could play Baccarat using lower stakes, which made it much more accessible to the public. The market boomed, and today we have a slew of Baccarat games for computers, smartphones and tablets. Even the royals would agree that there is no better way to play.