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Player, Banker, Tie: A History of Baccarat
From Court game to online hit in 5 centuries.
Part luck, part skill - the aim of baccarat is to draw cards that total closer to nine than the banker's hand. It is commonly believed that back in the 15th century, an Italian named Felix Falguiere invented the game, originally played with tarot cards. The word 'Baccara' in Italian slang means zero, referring to the game rules where tens, queens, kings and jacks all have value of zero.
The Legendary Roots of Baccarat
So how's this for fantastical? Baccarat is said to be originally based on the Etruscan ritual used to select female priestesses. The Etruscans would pray to a blonde woman who would be asked to throw a 9-sided die to decide her fate. If she threw 8 or 9 she would indeed become a priestess; if she threw 5 or less she would be taken to sea and drowned!! and throwing 6 or 7 would mean she was freed. Spine-chilling....
Baccarat comes to France
In 1490, Charles VIII's soldiers bring the Baccarat game back with them to France. Here the variant Chemin de fer is developed among the nobility, where the game was exclusively played. Then the middle classes began to play and the game developed into a casino game.
Baccarat in Central and North America
Baccarat reaches Cuba in the early 20th Century, where yet another version of the game is born: Punto Banco. Here the rules are significantly changed so that the player is up against the bank and not the other players. Another rule change was - once the cards are dealt the player bets on 1 of 3 outcomes.
By the 1950s Baccarat was introduced to American casinos.
A more compact version of the game rose to popularity in American casinos: Mini-Baccarat is played on a smaller table, similar to blackjack. The game is run by a single croupier who turns over all the cards, making for a speedier game.
The latest stage of Baccarat's development, is ofcourse its online version, where it is only growing and growing in popularity.