History of Baccarat

Baccarat is an incredibly popular card game, in casinos worldwide, and unlike other casino games, which tend to have spread in appeal to all classes of society, Baccarat is one gambling game that has retained its prestige and appeal principally with the upper sections of society. The name ‘Baccarat’ is thought to stem from the Italian ‘Baccara’, which translates as zero, and therefore refers to the zero card value that is given to all face or picture cards as well as ten value cards in the game. However, the word ‘Baccarat’ can also be traced to the French word for zero and so both countries continue to stake claim over the origins of this increasingly popular casino game.

One of the most popular explanations of the origins of the game, lays with the Italian gambler Felix Faljuierein, who is credited with inventing the game in the middle ages period, most probably around 1480. It was though to have been first played using tarot rather than playing cards. Of course the effect of European westward migration during later centuries, along with the effect of moving military campaigns saw the game spread quickly across the European continent.

Once it spread to France, the game was quickly adopted by the aristocracy and nobility who were attracted by the individuality of the game. They gave to name ‘Chemin de fer’, which translates as railroad, which is how the game to still referred to, even in France today. It then moved across the channel to British Isles, where slight variations to the rules and changes to the game play earned it the name ‘European Baccarat’, in order to signify its difference with the original game.

It was only as late as the fifties that this card game finally reached the United States of America, when it was brought to the famous Dune’s casino in Las Vegas. Yet again another variation of game play evolved, which was in essence a combination of the ‘European’ and ‘Chemin de fer’ Baccarat game play. The game maintained its appeal to the wealthier sections of American society, since only the ‘high-rollers’ could afford the great risks and odds of the game.

Baccarat has now spread throughout the world, and every region has adapted to its own variation of the rules and play, which has resulted in the many different names for what is basically the same card game. However, the game retains its appeal with the wealthier members of society, with some casinos even sectioning off the gaming areas where Baccarat is played, keeping out the ‘general public’ so to speak.

Baccarat is a very expensive game, as far as gambling goes. In late February of 1990, Akio Kashiwagi entered the record books at the Baccarat table; through playing two-hundred thousand dollar hands he managed to secure winnings of well over six million dollars, at an Atlantic City casino, known as ‘Trump Casino’. Unfortunately, Kashiwagi’s antics at the Baccarat table also earned him a second entry in the record books, since just six days after his record breaking winnings, he also became the highest ‘loser’ of the Baccarat table, losing well over ten million dollars in one hit.

Although Baccarat remains a card game for the more wealthy, the expansion of the online internet gaming industry has seen it spread in appeal to the more regular gambler, who can access the game from the comfort of their home in virtual casinos.