01st Jul2019

The History of Baccarat

by James Smith

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As is the case with plenty of games out there, regardless of whether they’re new or old, popular or never heard of, competitive or casual, their origin often becomes misplaced or forgotten. This is especially true for old games since their history can easily get clouded in conflicting or incomplete information, cultural appropriation or even straight-out banns just like what happened to the game of Macao under the rule of King Victor-Amadeus III in 1788. More often than not, political strife leads to opposing powers both placing the claim on what they think is rightfully theirs, which is exactly what happened to Baccarat.

Early History

If you thought that quarrelling over the origin of a card game is petty and inappropriate for two major powers, you thought wrong. Both France and Italy claim Baccarat to be their cultural heritage. It is often thought of as a card game of French origin, even though it was in Italy that French soldiers learned to play the game. After the Franco-Italian war of the 15th century ended, soldiers brought it home to France, which was under the rule of Charles VIII at the time. Another story that purports Baccarat as a game that came from Italy dates back even before the age of Romans.

An Etruscan legend speaks of a virgin that rolled a nine-sided die to determine her faith. Anything less than six would be her death, horrible death by drowning. If she rolled six or seven, she would go on living but be barred from spiritual life. Eight or nine, and she would become a priestess. Suffice it to say that neither one of these two stories has any factual background to them, except for the war taking place. Some say that the aforementioned game of Macao is the direct predecessor of Baccarat and that it came from Asia in the 19th century. This seems highly unlikely as it’s not really the same game. Instead, only a subset of rules is similar to one another, which doesn’t really necessitate any association.

The Basics

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Since there are different versions of Baccarat that support different rules in terms of betting and card drawing, it’s important to note that they all value the cards in the same manner. Jokers are not used, Ace is worth 1 point and card ranks 2 through 9 are worth their face value in points. As for 10, Jack, Queen and King, they’re worth nothing, zero. They’re worth baccara, which is how the game got its name. Of course, the way players win in this game stays largely the same. Get as close as you can to number 9!

Variations

Another thing that happens too often is that a certain game gets so many regional variations that it’s really difficult to keep track of them. That is why it is best to consult online casinos in order to determine what is played frequently, and what is nowhere to be found. Having said that, online casinos most often host the version called Punto Banco, which means player banker. However, most of these casinos will just refer to it as Baccarat, and you probably won’t even care about other variants, or run into them by accident. Speaking of these ‘other Baccarat versions’, two most prominent ones are Chemin de Fer and Baccarat Banque. They’re not that popular at online casinos, and most of their player base is still located in France and some other European countries. For this reason, we’ll focus more on Punto Banco.

Punto Banco

This version is not called player banker for no reason. Its appeal lies in its simplicity and a very low house edge. Both of these things stem from the player only being able to place a bet on the winner of the round. Before we mention the infamous tableau, you can visit JackMobileCasinos mobile baccarat page for a brief rundown of how this version is played.
If you have checked the rules or already know how Punto Banco is played, we can proceed to the tableau. We keep mentioning it without any explanation, and you’re probably tired of it, so here it is! The tableau is a chart that describes how both the player and the bank should proceed. This version is devoid of almost all decision making. Everyone should act based on how the chart prescribes it. The only real choice you have is what you will bet on.

Punto Banco Variations

Of course, there are different sub-variations of Baccarat that further modify the way you play or bet.

  • Mini-Baccarat. The rules of Mini-Baccarat are largely interested in different, lower betting options for players and smaller table sizes.
  • Super 6 / Panda 8. There are dozens upon dozens of these special features that allow you to place different bets, making for more varied payout options.

Conclusion

There are so many ways in you can play Baccarat and its most famous subset called Punto Banco. Many online casinos, if not most of them, prefer this version and it’s obviously the right call as it attracts more players than other forms of the game. However, if you’re interested in other forms, make sure to take a look at how Chemin de Fer plays since it’s the second best version out there.

Over the course of this game’s history, it has changed its player base very much. It was considered by many to be a pastime appropriate to members of the upper class alone. Obviously, it became widely accepted by all over the years, and online casinos definitely made it available to all.
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