Baccarat History and Future

Among all the gambling games, there are clearly a few games that immediately come to your mind when gambling is mentioned: poker, blackjack, roulette, even loto. But the world of gambling does not end with these games, otherwise these games would soon have become predictable and tedious. Hope that you mentally supplemented this list with Baccarat, which is certainly one of the most popular casino card games. You can find it in many land-based gambling houses and their online analogues. The simplicity of rules, pop culture references (Casino Royal movie) and low casino odds made this game popular not only among casino visitors, but also made it famous for people who are not interested in the world of gambling.

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Image Baccarat History and Future


Wesley Murphy


Popularity of Baccarat

 In the gambling houses of MacauSingaporeMalaysia, the Philippines — baccarat tables occupy up to 80% of the total area of the gaming hall. Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines casinos have baccarat tables almost throughout their gambling houses. Only in Macau casino, an unimaginable 91% of total revenue came from the game of Punto Banco, another name for baccarat. Baccarat is definitely the leader among different casino card games in Asia. The game is also popular on the territory of the United States, however, in strict competition with other gambling entertainments, it does not bring such profit. To explain this phenomenon, it is necessary to refer to the history of the Baccarat, which can allow us to clarify the present and the prospects for this game. Baccarat was known for a long time in many different countries, where people used local names for the game, changed the rules but kept the meaning of the game. In an attempt to establish where exactly baccarat was invented, explorers went deep into history. The results of the numerous researchers connected the appearance of this game with certain rituals of ancient civilizations. These rites were held about 3 thousand years ago, and could be ended with an execution. The purpose of these rituals was to identify a suitable woman for the role of high priestess. The woman’s fate was decided by the result of a toss of a nine-sided dice. The number 9 wasn’t chosen by chance. There were 9 gods to whom sacrifices were made. However, the connection between these events is almost negligible. Moreover, there are a lot of contradictions and many scientists continue with the more reliable baccarat origins theories.

Italian Theory

The game of cards was first described in the beginning of the 14th century in a French manuscript. Before the invention of the printing press, first playing cards were quite different from the modern ones, because they were made by hand. And immediately after the invention of the printing technique by Gutenberg cards gained immense popularity. Historical information indicates that baccarat was invented in italy. Back then in Italy there was a popular card game tarocchi. Despite the fact that tarocchi wasn’t a direct ancestor and had a little in common with baccarat, this game could probably be the ancestor of all card games. Tarocchi is required tarot cards for the game. It’s considered that the italian Felix Falguier was the inventor of the modern baccarat game prototype. Besides, there were a lot of other italian games in that old time that had a lot in common with modern baccarat. For example, macao, another popular italian card game at that time, was aimed at gaining a certain score, that must be equal to 9. These games had the same purpose to win to have a certain score with cards nominal.

Delayed Invasion of America

If you try to trace the footsteps of baccarat in America, you can find some documents and articles that it was first played in 1911. This theory is confirmed by many famous authors and experts of gambling, who examine the baccarat game closely. However, this declaration can be refuted by tiny local newspaper articles of 1871. The “New York Times” article described the illegal “Long Branch” gambling club that attracted visitors with “games of pharaoh, roulette and baccarat”. There was another newspaper article that demonstrated the fact that baccarat appeared in America before it’s considered. This article was published in 1899 and tells about french immigrants that were arrested because of playing baccarat. Despite the fact that these newspaper articles are a reliable source, it is believed that the game of baccarat appeared in America only in the beginning of 20th century. However, after a couple of years it was eclipsed by similar card games that were more popular among American soldiers after World War 1 blackjack and craps.

A few years ago in 1931, a law of the legalization of gambling was issued. But there was no baccarat among the games described on this list. The second attempt to play baccarat was in 1958, when “Sands” casino opened the tables for baccarat, or, should we say, a version of this game Chemin de Fer. This time an attempt was successful, and the game had become popular. This version provides that any player could be the banker, and a casino received a percentage of each win. A year after, another baccarat game was introduced in Vegas Punto Banco. This variation was invented in Cuba. The day of introducing Punto Banco in “Sands” casino was quite deplorable.

Some say that the casino lost over $200 000 for one night. Punto Banco doesn’t offer a player an opportunity to influence the game process. Taking cards are regulated by the rules of the game, so as cards have been dealt, a player just needs to wait for the results, that is informed by the dealer. This game replaced the previous version of baccarat and from that moment became the main version. Because of the simplicity of the rules, low casino odds, only 1.06%, and different side bets this variety was especially beloved by visitors and still has huge popularity in the USA, UK and Australia. Even in that time, baccarat was an exclusive game and there were only 15 gaming tables in Las Vegas. In the 70’s one of the features of baccarat tables were luxurious dressed dealers and elegant young girls that sometimes casinos used as a bait for wealthy players.

Today almost every casino holds baccarat tables. And now this game can be divided into 2 variations: traditional american baccarat (Punto Banco) and mini-baccarat. Mini-baccarat can be represented in many land gambling houses and online casinos, which allows you to play even with a small bet. These games have equal rules, but there is a little difference. Mini-baccarat cards are dealt only by the dealer, not players. It is interesting to see how baccarat stood against competitors and received a rightful place among other gambling games, even with similar sense and aim. Having existed for about 500 years, baccarat ceased to be an illegal game and became famous throughout the world.

French theory has a Noble, but Illegal Past

The modern baccarat had clearly emerged in France in the middle of the 19th century. People can argue a lot about the origins of the baccarat, but undoubtedly it had its final form and rules in France. Firstly, this game was introduced to French people at the end of the 15th century by soldiers. After that it had become a very popular game for nobility and aristocracy and also in gambling houses for about 2 centuries. During the reign of Napoleon there were 2 versions of baccarat that were popular in France at that time: Baccarat en Banque (Baccarat Deux Tableaux) and Chemin de Fer. These games were so popular that even after the prohibition of the casino in 1837 they were played in illegal gambling houses of Paris.

A Chinese Ancestor

Another interesting theory states that baccarat has Asian roots. It may come out of the Chinese game Pai Gou, which requires dice. The main connection between Pai Gou and Baccarat is the total number of points that players need to score during the game 9. However, this theory does not have decisive historical facts.

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