A History Of Online Baccarat

Baccarat playing cardsSource: pixabay

Along with Roulette, Baccarat has a reputation as one of the more sophisticated casino games. When Ian Fleming demonstrates James Bond’s suave gambling skills in Casino Royale, the original 007 novel, Baccarat is the card game chosen. As a result, many players with less experience in online or mobile gaming find it mysterious and intimidating.

However, the basics of online Baccarat are simple, and they have their roots in games from days long gone by. Let’s take a look at this classic card game’s history, see where it came from so many centuries ago, and how it has evolved to what we know and love playing today.

Origins Lost In Time

The first reliable written record of Baccarat is in the 19th Century, although hearsay lists several forms of the game much older than that. However, all of online Baccarat’s origin stories are legendary, and thus unsupported by historical evidence. The ancient Chinese game Pai Gow, played with tiles, literally means “make nine”, so there may even be a vague connection there.

Chinese block printing was certainly used to produce the first tarot and playing cards in Europe, after cards were brought back from the Middle East by crusaders. Their expense restricted them to the nobility, until the printing press was invented in the mid-1400s, making decks of playing cards cheaper and widely popular.

Baccarat playing cards Source: pixabay

The late 15th Century was also when Italian gambler Felix Falguiere invented the card game Baccarat, which he fancifully linked to an ancient, grisly Etruscan ritual in which a priestess threw a nine-sided dice to decide whether she would become a servant of the gods, or a human sacrifice. More probably, he based it on early Italian card games like Macao, Tarrochi or Le Her.

Social Climbing In France

French troops returning from Italian wars in the 1490s took the game of Baccarat to France, where it was adopted passionately by the aristocracy in a variant called Chemin de Fer; alternately adored or banned by French rulers for 400 years thereafter. This version also made it to England, where it remained popular even in Victorian gaming circles.

Although Chemin de Fer, or “Chemmy”, was known in the early United States, it never really took off throughout the 19th Century. Baccarat also spread to Spain, then South America, and eventually in the 20th Century to Cuba, in a version called Punto Banco. It was here that American casino moguls rediscovered it in the 1950s.

Vegas And Beyond

Betting on Player or BankerSource: pixabay

Punto Banco – meaning Player/Banker and referring to the 2 hands players must wager on, debuted at the Las Vegas Sands in November 1959… and immediately lost the casino a quarter of a million dollars!

Luckily, they persevered until the game turned a profit, and so began the era in which Vegas casinos kept at least one secluded Baccarat table for serious sophisticates. The game’s reputation allowed high-stakes, exclusive patronage, and was often a matter of casino prestige as much as profit.

In the mid 1990’s the first online casinos emerged, and online Baccarat suddenly became a very real possibility.  By the late 1990’s the game had been digitised, and over the years it has improved as technological advances were made.

Now, online Baccarat can be enjoyed in many different forms, and players can enjoy it on desktop and mobile device. There are classic game variants, speed Baccarat and even games with ever-growing progressive jackpots. The next frontier of the game has also been breached, with live dealer online Baccarat games bridging the gap between playing this classic card comparing game in a land-based casino against a real dealer, and online!

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