Baccarat: A History of The Game

Baccarat is one of the most popular games in casinos. It also has a reputation as being one of the most exclusive casino games, tucked into a secretive portion of the casino hall away from the eyes and reach of regular players, with the high rollers seated and ready to dish out large amounts of cash as they are served by tuxedoed dealers.

Baccarat's origin is obscure, although the Italians and French both claim that the game started from them. Baccarat was believed to have begun as a pagan ceremony that involved young, blond, and virgin girls. It was a ritual that was done to determine whether the young girl's destiny was to become a temple priestess or to die. Priests would gather around her and watch as she tossed a 9-sided die. If the die came up with an 8 or a 9, she was to become a priestess. If however, the die turned out with a 7, she was to be excluded from any other religious temple activities. The worst was turning up with a 6 or below, since this meant that she was fated to walk to the sea and to her death.

The earliest baccarat game was actually played using tarot cards. The first game in 1940 was attibuted to an Italian, Felix Faulguierein. He developed the game and it was brought to France after ten years.

The French loved the game instantly, esepcially the nobility. They created a few modification to the game, and called it Chemin de Fer. The changes in the rules were probably one of the main reasons why the French think of the game came to think of the game as their own original creation.

The game was taken to England where more modifications to the game were made, most notable the change in name from Chemin de Fer to European Baccarat. Another difference was that in the French game the players take turns controlling the bank. In European baccarat the house controls the bank, and came with a dealer provided by the casino.

The game did not have much luck in America. Gamblers were not impressed with the game and interest in the game quickly died out. It made its way into Latin America. It became a popular game in one of Argentina's top casinos, the Mar del Plata. From then on it came to Cuba, where it became known as Punto Banco, and finally back to America, where it became known as American baccarat. The man credited for bringing the game to Las Vegas was casino exec Tommy Renzoni. Baccarat's stateside return was stronger this time, although it never gained the same mass appeals as the other games have, partly because of it exclusive nature.


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