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Baccarat History

Baccarat is one of the various popular casino games today. The exact origin of this game is not clear but in most places it is considered to have some similarities with ancient Etruscan ritual where it had to be decided if blonde virgins would become priestess or not. In this scenario girls were supposed to roll a die that has nine sides and this decided the girl’s fate. The girls would become priestess only if they threw a 8 or a 9, a 7 and a 6 meant that the girls would not be able to take part in any religious activities and anything below 6 meant that the girls would be drowned in the sea.

There are two countries which are identified with the origin of this game and these are Italy and France. The word “baccarat” is an Italian and French word meaning “zero”. This game has gone many transformations since its inception and the most popular is the Felix Falguierein who was an Italian that invented tarot cards to be used in playing this game. This was the first known edition of this game and it later spread to the neighbouring France where its name was changed to “Baccarat en Banque” and later to “Chemin de Fer” which means “way of iron” and this was because the game used an iron box to deal the cards. In France, this game became very popular especially among the wealthy people but it later started being played in casinos.

The casinos only took a rake from the winnings that the games accumulated. After several years the game spread to England where it was also popular among the elite. It was here that some of the game rules were changed and thereby acquired a new name “European Baccarat”. Here the casinos became the bankers in the game and the players were supposed to decide if they would take one card or not. After being played in England for several years the game then reached the US in the beginning of the 20th century but did not have much success as in the previous countries at first and this is because of the more popular game at that time which was Blackjack.

However, the game started moving to other countries such as Argentina and Cuba where a new version was introduced known as “Punto Banco” which translates to “North American Baccarat”. In this version players were not allowed to make any decisions except betting on a banker, a player or a tie. The game had gained a huge following in Cuba until all casinos were closed under the leadership of Fidel Castro. Tommy Renzoni is one of the gentlemen accredited with the development of the game as it was him who reintroduced the game in the US. He had been playing the game in Havana until the casinos were closed and he moved to Las Vegas in the late 1950’s. He used the same rules for “Punto Banco” and he has also written two books about the game.