The History of Baccarat

Baccarat has come a long way since it was originally invented. These days, players all around the world are able to take part in the game, thanks to the rise of the internet; however, players were not so lucky to have such an easy way to enjoy the game when it first came into existence, way back in the middle ages.

Quite where the game was first developed is a matter of some debate. Whilst it is known that the first references to the game date back to the 1400’s, both the French and the Italians believe they can lay claim to having been the first to invent the game. Part of the reason for the dispute lies in the meaning of the word baccarat, which could just as easily have derived French as it could have Italian; this is because in both languages, the word baccarat means “zero”.

It was given the name in reference to the picture cards (Jacks, Queens and Kings) and tens all having the value of zero; furthermore, any hand that adds up to ten, such as an eight and a two, is also equal to zero.

Over the following centuries, the game increased in popularity and by the 19th century it was considered in Europe to be one of the premier casino games. Its popularity was particularly prevalent amongst the French royalty.

Different versions of the game developed around this time, with three of these versions having survived the test of time best of all. The differences between the games are fairly minor, are largely concern the dealing practices. These games include chemin de fer, baccarat banquet and punto banco. The last of these three games – punto banco – was especially popular in England and is the version of the game that present day casinos in the United States are most likely to feature.