From Ancient Italy to Your Smartphone: The History of Baccarat

Baccarat” (CC BY-ND 2.0) by World Poker Tour

Despite occasionally sitting in the shadow of its more renowned siblings roulette, poker, and blackjack, baccarat is a card game with an intriguing history and some famous fans.

Historians believe the story of baccarat began in Italy during the 1400s when it was invented by Felix Faliguirre. Faliguirre called his game baccara, which translates to ‘zero’ in English, and relates to the way that the face card cards and the four tens have a zero value in the game.

Baccarat has a fascinating history, and it has now evolved to become very popular in media as well as the online gaming world. Let’s explore the story of an iconic card game by looking at it within modern and ancient societies.

Baccarat on the big screen and online

Baccarat’s popularity as one of the best casino games may be in part due to its appearances in the James Bond movie series. The game is played by the iconic secret agent in several 007 classics, such as On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and GoldenEye. Outside of this franchise, it also featured in Rush Hour 3. These have proved particularly popular in the English-speaking world, and alongside them, the interest in playing baccarat. 

The game of baccarat has appeared on a wide variety of casino websites since. Alongside poker, roulette, and blackjack, there are many versions of baccarat available to players. One of the most popular versions is First Person Baccarat, which is the same basic game with a unique perspective. There’s also Live Speed Baccarat for those that like a faster experience.

Baccarat through history

Following what many see as its creation in 15th century Italy, the game spread throughout Europe and eventually reached France. It was an immediate hit with the French people, and even King Charles VIII was a fan. This made it extremely popular amongst the richest people in French society.

The game eventually reached America through parts of South America and the Caribbean. Their version was of the game was named Punto Banco and became a part of local culture and was later introduced to Las Vegas around 1950 by Tommy Renzoni. When first played by Americans, very few would have envisioned it being played today.

How many are playing now?

Baccarat Bar, Wynn Las Vegas” (CC BY 2.0) by Andrew Milligan sumo

Across Nevada alone, there are 376 tables to choose from. This indicates its popularity in the area and has given it a huge presence in the gambling haven, even if the awareness is perhaps not as high as other iconic casino games. Its European origins and inclusion in the James Bond movies have also meant it has remained popular in that area of the world.

The appearances on so many online websites show the big casino brands still have faith in it. Its eventual evolution into many different variations has helped its ongoing popularity and should continue to do so.

About the author

Ankit Gaba

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