Origins of Baccarat
Baccarat, a comparing card game, has a long history that goes back to the 1400s. This ancient casino game was first documented following its appearance in France although it came from Italy. Indeed, its name is an Italian word meaning zero.
The strategy game was so named because zero plays a key role. All jacks, tens, kings and queens have a zero value. The term also refers to anything whose value is zero. The strategy game is played between two hands, which are referred to as the “banker” and “player” respectively. The value of a hand is determined by the rightmost digit of the sum of the cards. For example, a hand with a three and seven has a sum of 10, which equals zero or baccarat. There are three possible outcomes in the game: player, banker or tie.
Nine Gods and the Blond Virgin
Although the game is now popular in casinos, history shows that it started as a private and social gambling game. According to legend, it was derived from an ancient Etruscan ritual where nine gods prayed on their tiptoes to a blond virgin who would throw a nine-sided die that decided her fate.
The virgin would be a priestess if she threw either an eight or nine. On the other hand, she would no longer participate in any religious activity if she threw either a seven or six. Throwing any number less than six would mean she had to walk into the sea and become history herself!
Who invented Baccarat?
Felix Falguierein, an Italian gambler, was said to have invented baccarat during the middle ages when Tarrot cards were used to play the strategy game. It was later introduced in France by 1490 where it was exclusively played by the royalty for a while. Later, the game was introduced in the casinos.
Different Versions of Baccarat
There were several versions of baccarat, two of which stood out. Punto banco was popular in England while chemin de fer was played in other parts of Europe. The English version was the one that first made its way to South America and finally the U.S.
Three versions of the strategy game have remained popular over the years: punto banco, chemin de fer and baccarat banquet. Punto banco is still the most popular one in American casinos.
History seems to repeat itself because the game is commonly played by the casino royalty. The high rollers can exchange millions of dollars in a session.