Brief history of baccarat game

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Baccarat is one of the most popular casino games worldwide.

The game roots go back to the middle ages that’s why nobody knows the exact origin of baccarat.

They say the game has something in common with the ancient Etruscan ritual when they decided whether a blonde virgin would become a priestess or not. A girl had to roll a nine-sided die, that roll decided her own fate. If she threw an eight or a nine, she became a priestess; if there was a six or seven, that girl wasn’t allowed to take part in any religious activities, and if the result of the roll was a number less than 6, she had to be drowned into the sea.”

Nowadays, at least 2 nations – Italy and France claim to be the game fathers. First of all, the word “baccara” comes from Italian as well as French and means “zero”.

The most popular version is the following: the Italian gambler Felix Falguierein invented the game played with Tarot cards. A bit later, around 1490 the game appeared in France and French changed its name to “Baccarat en Banque” and after that “Chemin de Fer.” Chemin de Fer means “way of iron”, the game got this name because the cards were dealt from an iron box in France. That game had been very popular with the French nobility (baccarat is still considered to be the game for the wealth) before it became a casino game. Chemin de Fer was banked by the players,the casino just took a rake from winnings accumulated in the game.

Soon “Chemin de fer” went to England, where it was very popular with the elite. The rules were changed and it got the new name “European baccarat”. The casino became the banker in that game and the player could decide to take one more card or not.

After that, the game reached the US. It happened somewhere at the beginning of the 20th century. But the game was not a success because of the great popularity of blackjack. However, the game was well received by public in Argentine and it moved to the Cuban casinos from there. Just there a new version of baccarat was developed. It was named ‘Punto Banco’ or ‘North American Baccarat’. In Punto Banco the player can’t make any decision except who to bet on – Banker, Player or Tie. The game had gained a huge popularity in Cuba until Fidel Castro came to power and closed all the casinos.

Tommy Renzoni was the man who introduced the game into the United States. He played baccarat in Havana and after the casinos had been closed he brought this game to Las Vegas in 1958. He dealt with the Sands Hotel & Casino owners to put a baccarat table. Renzoni used the same rules (for Punto Banco) that were applied in Havana casinos that’s why just Punto Banco became the standard for most American casinos. They were some marketing problems with the game, but it remained in the US casinos. Tommy Renzoni wrote 2 books on baccarat – “Renzoni on Baccarat” and “Baccarat: Everything You Want to Know about Playing and Winning.”