Why is Baccarat so widespread? Some might point to the obvious – such as it’s easy to play, it’s beneficial to players with its low house edge, or that or James Bond made it look unbelievably cool. But unquestionably it must take more than just simple gameplay for it to stand the test of time and move from the 15th-century soldier encampments to the glitzy casinos of Las Vegas as well as today’s cutting-edge online platforms with dazzling live dealers.
The history of Baccarat is said to go all the way back to medieval Italy. Over 500 years ago, Baccarat started as a card game for the upper class and aristocrats. Now it’s three variants (punto banco, chemmy and Baccarat Banque) are played by many in casinos around the world.
Where It All Began
While the common belief is that Baccarat originated in France, some notable historians have suggested that the game’s roots may be traced back to ancient China as well as Rome. Pai Gow (with translates as ‘make nine’) was a popular game in ancient China that utilised tiles in order to denote numbers in which nine is the maximum score which can be achieved. (This indicates a potential link with Baccarat.)
Meanwhile, it is claimed that various games were played in ancient Rome which involved rolling a nine-sided dice. Those who rolled an eight or nine would receive prizes. This has led some individuals to suggest that the significance of eight or nine (which is a ‘natural’ in Baccarat) giving the best outcome could have had a formative impact on the rules of the game.
Who Was Felix Falguiere?
The very first official set of rules, for the modern version of Baccarat, was devised by a man called Felix Falguiere in 15th century Italy. It is believed that Falguiere was mainly influenced by games including Macao (which is today known as a Baccarat variant) as well as Le Her. Le Her was a game in which the players would draw a card from the deck and the individual with the highest rank (with the King being highest) would end up being the winner.
How Baccarat Has Changed
The initial version of https://canadianslotsonline.org/baccarat/ presented a side bet on natural hands as well as no Tie bets. Rather than chips, casinos accepted cash wagers. For the sake of ease, the dealers would apply a soap-like material to the bills, which made them lie flat on the table. The wax bills, however, weren’t recognised in some banks and shops. Thus, by the early 1970s, most Baccarat tables were operating using chips. But this wasn’t the only difference from today’s gameplay as well as overall ambience.
Part of the attraction of the game was owing to the glamorous shills – lovely young ladies who essentially played on the table with minimum wagers and drawing the cards from their shoes – as well as the interest of gamblers. Nowadays, you won’t see casino employees such as these except at some poker casinos.
Baccarat has morphed a lot through the years and its popularity in Asia has made it more vibrant and dynamic, although heavily reliant on superstition. There are different variations with fast-paced gameplay, additional features and side bets which take the excitement up a notch.
Falguiere named the game Baccara (Italian for zero) due to the fact that the majority of cards are worth zero. When the game became popular in France, the French spelling Baccarat was predominantly adopted worldwide.