Baccarat, like many casino games, has a long history and, again like most casino games, its history starts all the way back in 15th century Europe. I’m sure you could have guessed that by the name, of course, much like roulette. However, the whereabouts in Europe is open to debate. There are people that say baccarat originated in France, there are other people who say baccarat originated in Italy; the word baccarat translates to “zero” in French and Italian, so that really doesn’t clear it up.
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When the game was originally brought to France, it was known as “Chemin de Fer” because of the iron box that the cards used to play the game came in. This game was a lot different to the casino game that we all know and love, involving multiple players, multiple hands and one player representing the bank. However, there is skill involved in Chemin de Fer, with players being able to decide whether to take a card or to stick with the hand they have.
After it was introduced in France, Chemin de Fer became popular throughout Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, where the rules were altered slightly so that the house plays the part of the bank, not one of the players. This version became known as European Baccarat, unsurprisingly. It still retained the slight skill factors of Chemin de Fer and it was still quite different to the game you can play in most casinos, online and offline, today.
Finally, European Baccarat made its way to North America via various other colonies. The rules changed in North America, removing the skill elements from the Chemin de Fer and European Baccarat versions. In North American Baccarat, the casino employs an “optimal” strategy so that the first two cards predetermine the actions of the bank’s hand and the actions of the player’s hand. It can also be called Punto Banco, translating to “player” and “bank” from Spanish, embracing the South American roots of North American Baccarat.
The general ideas behind all three variations of baccarat are the same, but it could be argued that throughout the history of the game, baccarat became a more player friendly game, that allows more hands to be played and doesn’t punish a player for not knowing the best strategy. However, it can then be argued that throughout the history of baccarat, the game has been ruined, favouring luck more than skill and it has went from being the only real game of skill in a casino to just another random game like roulette.
Baccarat then became a staple for online casinos, being one of the “casino standards” with its counterparts roulette and blackjack. You can find it in nearly every casino in the world in same way or another, as well as at online casinos, proving the popularity of baccarat has not changed over the last 500 years. In fact, with the introduction of live dealer baccarat to online casinos, it’s proof that baccarat has a place in the hearts of gamblers and that it shows no signs of dying out.
In fact, baccarat has been popular with people because of the glamour associated with it. There has been many references to it in popular culture, with the most famous being James Bond playing baccarat (actually Chemin de Fer) in the original Casino Royale. There was actually a bit of an uproar from Bond purists when baccarat changed to poker in the updated version of Casino Royale. Bond also plays the game in other films, but Casino Royale is the most famous instance of baccarat on film. There are other times baccarat has been played in films, all of them with a glamorous feel to it. That is the one thing that has stayed with baccarat throughout its history – people see it as the glamorous high-roller game.
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Additional Baccarat History Questions:
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