Baccarat has always been everyone’s favourite in the casino industry. It's because it's easy to understand and play. And most importantly, it has a low house edge which means that the players can have an upper hand over the casino. Online Baccarat has been entertaining the online casino players since the time the gaming companies have included it in their gaming list. Even in the mobile casino, Baccarat’s popularity is growing strong. The history of Baccarat is a fascinating read. You have to thank the genius and benevolence of James Bond to introduce the world to the lovely game of Baccarat. Baccarat has undergone a lot of changes; from being a 15-century hobby of the soldiers to gaining a place in the glitzy and colourful casinos of Las Vegas, this simplistic game stands the test of time. As players, let’s dive deep into the alluring chapter of the history of Baccarat.
The history of Baccarat Part 1: Inspired by Chinese games and ancient Roman rituals
The history of Baccarat is wrapped under mystery and uncertainty. As of now, we all know that Baccarat is one of the oldest games in the history of casinos. It is very difficult to trace the exact origins of Baccarat. But there have been numerous mentions of this game in different historical sources. The game originated somewhere near the 19th century. However, this fact has not been proved yet. Many interesting theories have been concocted studying the humble beginnings of the game. The most popular theory is that the game is a derivative of a well-known Chinese card game called Pai Gow, which was played with tiles instead of cards. Historians drew parallels between both the games with Pai Gow meaning 9 in Chinese and nine being the winning score in Baccarat. Again, this is just a theory. It is still required to be proven with concrete evidence.
This game was used as a part of a ritual by young, chaste women of Rome to unravel their fate. A 9 or 8 meant the life of a high priestess, 6 or 7 meant that she will remain a chaste woman throughout her life and any other number meant bad omen as she had to drown herself in the ocean. Baccarat was played with cards and not with dice. There has not been sufficient evidence about the subtle changes and transformations in the structure of the game. So now, let's jump to the 13th century Italy when Marco Polo returned from his tour.
The history of Baccarat Part 2: Italy vs France
A French manuscript described Baccarat as “play of cards at the table”. During that time, card games did not receive much recognition due to the lack of a printing press. The game was imprinted or block-printed on a wooden block which was a Chinese technique of block printing that was introduced by Marco Polo in the early 13th century. When the printing press came into the market, card games started to witness a steep rise in its popularity. Now, at every corner of the street, you would find a group of people gathered around the table playing cards. Baccarat was one of the few card games that quickly appealed to the masses.
France thinks that Baccarat is their creation but Italy begs to differ. Many sources suggest that Baccarat has been invented in Italy by an astrologer named Felix Falguire. During the early 13th century Rome, playing card games were considered to be fun, recreational activities. Tarrochi, a famous card game of that time, is said to be the predecessor of Baccarat. Others say that Macao has given birth to Baccarat as it was played on a game of 9. Le Her is another game that may have inspired the fruitful creation of Baccarat. 6 centuries later, Vingt-et-un games were linked to the origins of the Baccarat. Now the interesting fact is that the games in French meant 21 which is similar to Blackjack. However, in the latest edition of Hoyle books, the Official Rules of the Card Game has elucidated the differences between Baccarat and blackjack and therefore listed the former as a separate game.
The history of Baccarat Part 3: Baccarat as an illegal game
In modern times, people still believe that Baccarat is a French creation. The game was seen as a favourite pass-time among the soldiers who returned from wars. It quickly rose to the ranks of nobility, meaning that the nobles and aristocrats developed a special liking towards the game. So much so, that they further invented two versions of the game that were played during the Napoleonic era. Owing to its high addictive levels, Louis Phillip placed bans on casinos. Underground casinos mushroomed like anything which invited players to fulfil their secret desire of playing Baccarat without getting caught. The ban could not curb down the rising popularity of Baccarat as it started reaching the deepest parts of Europe. Another group of people assumed that the game was named after a popular railroad in France in 1823. Once again this source, like many others, lacks evidence and credibility. The game made a presence in one of the papers of mathematical analysis called the Album Des Jeux.
The history of Baccarat Part 4: Baccarat hits the shores of the USA
Now from Europe, Baccarat travelled all the way down to America thus paving its way into one of the gambling establishments in 1911. Many respected gambling experts of today who teach how to play Baccarat, have credited the land of the freedom to come up with Baccarat. Newspaper publications and periodicals had a different story to tell. The printed source of this game could be traced to 1871. One of the articles described the clubhouse at Long Branch to be a gambling hotspot attracting thousands of visitors every year towards Baccarat. Some say that in the history of Baccarat, the game made its first appearance in the early 1900s. During that time, Blackjack and craps were ruling the world of gambling, with Baccarat receiving bare minimum attention among the players. Despite several inconsistencies, there is no doubt that Baccarat had taken the American casino industry by storm in the early 20th century.