Baccarat has come a long way from when it first was invented. Do you know the horrible beginnings of this highly popular game? Keep reading to find out.
You Know, I Know, Everybody Knows
Traditional card games like Poker and Blackjack have made their way into most people’s lives at one point or another. I would even go as far as to say that I don’t think there are many people you or I know that have never heard about the two. As a matter of fact, I bet they also know more or less what the basics of the game are all about, am I right?
Flying Under the Radar
While Poker and Blackjack are without a doubt the most commonly known casino games, involving cards, there are others that fly under the radar and get a lot less attention. Baccarat is one of them.
Funny enough, baccarat is actually one of the most popular card games around the world and if you have followed 007’s adventures over the years, you’ve most likely watched him play it on several occasions.
An epic Baccarat scene in Thunderball in 1965
Bond, James Bond
Baccarat was actually introduced to 007 fans in the very first ever James Bond movie, Dr. No, released all the way back in 1962. After that, the game made its way onto the screen in Thunderball (1965), In Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) and Golden Eye (1995).
Your Life Depends on It
But enough of the MI6 super agent, the history of Baccarat began quite dramatically. We’ll have to go back about 600 years and a pressure filled old legend that includes an Italian virgin having to cast a dice. What’s so dramatic about that, you may ask?
Well, the result of her throw would be what determined the poor girl’s faith. If she threw an 8 or a 9, she would be on the glorious path of becoming a high priestess. So far so good, right?
Should she instead end up with a 6 or a 7, her status would be revoked and she could no longer be a part of the church and partake in any kind of religious events. Now that’s pretty bad, especially back in the 1400’s.
Death by Drowning
Are you ready for this? If the girl would throw any other number, she would be banished to the sea and sent to a horrible death by drowning. Savage!
You think American Idol or similar auditions means a lot of pressure, imagine your life literally depending on a pair of dice. No thanks, I’m good!
Early days Baccarat
Medieval Italy Is Where It All Began
Often considered to have originated in France, most evidence actually points to medieval Italy, as mentioned in the harsh story above. An Italian man known as Felix Falguiere is the one getting credit for inventing the game.
Falguiere named the game Baccara, meaning zero in Italian because of the fact that all tens and face cards were worth just that, 0.
The French do have an impact on it because Baccarat ended up being the French name, which it still goes by.
Rules of the Very Beginning
Just like many of our favorite games, the rules were a little bit different in the early days. In the very beginning, there were as many as 4 different dealers dealing cards and each of the players could be the banker.
As a player you could also bet against other players as well as the house. Today, only one dealer is allowed and generally you can only bet against the house.
How fun wouldn’t it be using tarot cards
Tarot Card Baccarat
Fun fact, originally some of the Italians actually played the game using Tarot cards. Using Tarot cards would make all games more exciting I think. Perhaps it’s time for a comeback?
Viva la France
Baccarat eventually made its move from Italy to France with the help of soldiers in the late 1400’s. It didn’t take long before it was picked up by the French socialites and it soon became a new favorite for King Charles VIII and his friends.
At the time, there were two different versions being played. One was called Baccarat en Banque while the other Chemin de Fer.
King Louis Philippe said no more casinos
Staying off the Grid and Away From the Authorities
Before the French Revolution in 1848, King Louis Philippe made sure to make all casinos illegal in 1837. This didn’t stop people from playing Baccarat. Instead it was played more than ever, mostly in private underground gaming rooms.
Say Hello to Punto Banco
Baccarat slowly made its way across the Atlantic and into both South America as well as to the Caribbean Islands. However, it wasn’t known as Baccarat any longer. Instead it was given the name Punto Banco and often also with its own local rules adaptations.
The rich and famous owned Baccarat in Vegas
Baccarat Hits the Las Vegas Strip
When Fidel Castro decided to shut down all Cuban casinos in the 1950’s, just like the other famous casino games, Baccarat found its way into the hot Nevada desert and onto the Las Vegas Strip.
On November 20th, 1959, the first Punto Banco table was opened but If you think it was all smooth sailing from there, you would be wrong. There were actually some rough times early on and the casino owners ended up losing a lot of money, the game stuck around all the way into the raving 70’s.
By now, you could still only find as few as 15 tables in the entire city. Since the game had become popular, with a lot of help from the Bond movies, playing it became a privilege reserved for the well-dressed rich and famous. With a very limited number of seats, this was the only way to get in.
Play wherever and whenever you want
Available to Everyone Thanks to Online Casinos
For a long time, Baccarat continued to be a game exclusively for the celebrities due to the high stake requirements, scaring away the “normal” people.
So how come it’s so popular today then? The emergence of online casinos changed everything! No longer did people have to worry about travel expenses to Vegas and online casinos would also offer much lower betting minimums.
As we all know, today Baccarat is accessible to all of us. You can enjoy the game of the wealthy and famous from home on your favorite couch and maybe even on your phone while on the move.
You can call it Baccarat, Punto Banco or even Chemin de Fer, it doesn’t matter. The game has come a long way from that poor young virgin.
If you want to work on your Baccarat skills, you can find it at most casinos. Give it a go at Fortune Jack, BitStarz, 7Bit, FightClub Casino and mBit Casino.