A Short History on the Game of Baccarat

What's In A Name?

The game of Baccarat has a disputed origin. Some claim the name comes from the Italian word “baccarat”, which signifies “zero” in English. On the other hand, there are some experts who claim that the French word “baccarat” signifies the equivalent of “zero” as well. Even today there are numerous discussions relating to the etymology of the word and origins of the game. In fact, there are many nations that claim the game as part of their unique cultural heritage.

Origins of Game Play

Regardless of whether experts can agree whether it was developed in Italy or France, Baccarat is an old game. Legends state that the game came from an old Etruscan custom called “The Ritual of Nine Gods”, in which devotees made supplication to a blonde virgin. The young woman would stand up on her toes (similar to a ballerina's pointe technique) and the devotees would wait for her to roll a set of die. The number that was rolled chose her destiny, which was wildly varied. In the event that an eight or a nine resulted, she would become the priestess of the village. If she rolled a six or seven, she would be banned from any further religious ritual. However, should she toss any number under six, she would be damned to wade into the ocean and meet her death by drowning.

Afterward, this rules of the ritual became a less dire form of play and took on the name of baccarat. Here is one of the oldest known variants. According to Italian tradition, the game was first developed by Felix Falguierein during the time of Medieval Rome. It first was played with a deck of Major Arcana Tarot cards. It was presented in France around 1490 A.D. At first it was a novelty that served only an entertainment purpose. This game was highly popular with French aristocrats for quite a while before turning into a card game for gambling purposes.

Development of Game Play

As if the etymology of the name and the game's origins were not obscure enough, there have also been multiple variants of gameplay. As it traveled across nations for centuries, it obtained various strategies and objectives. Before all else, the French variety of baccarat “Chemin de fer” become prominent in colonial England, where they changed the guidelines and name of the game into “European Baccarat”. At that point, it spread to with the slave trade into South America.

Around 200 years after it reached the New World, Tommy Renzoni carried the game to the United States in the late 1950s as a mix of European baccarat and “Chemin de fer”. It was then brought into Las Vegas at the Scandalous Dunes gambling club in the late 1950s after the Cuban government forced the gambling club in Havana to permanently shut down.

The American variant of baccarat has become the most familiar form and is the basis for the majority of versions found in online casinos. Albeit a few rules of play have been changed in each nation, the overall style has continued as it has for centuries. It has kept its class and is as yet one of the most engaging games, appealing highly to people of high social standings.


A New Kind of Baccarat

To make the live casino game more accessible to the general public, “Mini-Baccarat” was created. It has indistinguishable fundamental guidelines from the American baccarat which formed in the 1950s, however, the lower stakes drew in players with considerably less money than people of the social elite.

Lukas Mollberg

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