A lot has been written on the history of baccarat, but really all of it is myth. So, it’s necessary to dispel all that fluff and present the real truth. First of all, the myth that baccarat originated in France is just that—a myth. True, “baccarat” is a French word and is derived from the Italian “baccara” which both mean “zero.” The origins of this game are usually traced back to the 15th century to Felix Falguerein, a famous Italian gambler. A widely prevalent fact is that this game was first played with tarot cards rather than the 52-card deck we know.
Ten years after it came into existence, it was taken to France and soon was enjoyed in China too. However, it took long to be taken over to North America. Historically, Italy is credited with giving the game its name, though the French went on to design the ever popular Baccarat Chemin de Fer and Baccarat’s other variations. Once the game of French elite and the nobility, Chemin de Fer soon penetrated to the middle-class through illegal gambling dens. Baccarat was very similar to the British game Faro, making it hugely popular in Britain.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the French and English residing in the United States helped spread the game there. Its spread was slow because it was introduced at the same time as blackjack. Blackjack won the hearts and minds of the Americans hands down and continues to be very popular even today. In the 1950s, the casinos of Las Vegas brought out the game once again with just a few rules. This was called American Baccarat.
By the time baccarat achieved some measure of popularity in the US, it was renowned in the casinos along the French Riviera. Players in Europe couldn’t accept the rules of Punto Banco rules, just as the Americans found it difficult to get accustomed to the formal rules of Chemin de Fer or Baccarat Banque. So, online casinos usually offer two or three of the game’s variations.
Punto Banco is said to be the last major breakaway game among baccarat’s variants. However, the Americans, under the influence of blackjack, started the American version of this game and called it the Mini Baccarat. Mini Baccarat is nothing but Punto Banco played at a small casino table which is played without the game’s formalities by having a dealer deal the cards.
This game was born of necessity. Players of baccarat know that full tables are not only expensive to play at but equally expensive to maintain. Since US casinos weren’t earning enough for the space they occupied, they invented Mini Baccarat, which had lower starting stakes, took up less space to play and so made it more appealing to casino owners and players. Now, Mini Baccarat is the only form of baccarat played in Las Vegas.
Today, with the advent of the Internet, sites are hosting virtual baccarat which is attracting millions of people all over the world.
Related Baccarat Articles:
» Baccarat Glossary
» Baccarat: Game of Questionable Reputation
» Baccarat Chermin de Fer
» Baccarat Tips for Beginners
» Variations of Baccarat