Baccarat is a popular game at traditional and online casinos but what most people don’t know is that it’s got a long history and may actually be the world’s oldest casino game. Baccarat games date back to around the 15th century by an Italian gambler named Felix Falguirein.
Back then it was named “Baccara”, the Italian word for zero. It was known as a game for aristocrats but, after the launch of online casinos, more people have begun playing it, leading to a surge in popularity. From Italy, the game moved to France where it earned the name “Chemin-de-fer” and was played by King Charles VIII.
Around this time, the game became increasingly popular and spread throughout Europe. It eventually caught on in Cuba where the game was called Punto Banco and then spread to the Americas where it earned the modern-day name Baccarat.
Some experts have claimed that Baccara was based on the old Etruscan legend of a virgin who had to roll a nine-sided dice to determine her fate. If she threw an eight or nine, she was elevated to the glory of being a priestess. If the virgin rolled a six or seven, she would be allowed to live. However, if she rolled anything lower than a six, she would be banished to the sea to drown.
Baccarat games are all about numbers and learning how to play Baccarat is simple since it doesn’t involve any strategy or particular skills. The aim of a Baccarat casino game is to get a set of hands that add up to nine or as close as possible to the number nine. To achieve this, Baccarat players must add the value of their hands together by the either the face value of each card (Cards one to nine) or by adding one point for Ace Cards. Depending on the version of Baccarat being played, the Jack, Queen, King and cards with the face value of ten are NOT counted or have a value of 10. Why do they do this, you ask?
Well, if a player exceeds the value of nine with their hands during a Baccarat game, the first digit is dropped and only the second number is used. For example, if a player’s hand totals 18, the first digit is ignored making the value of the cards eight. This is why cards with a value of ten and the King, Queen and Jack cards actually have a value of zero when playing.
How to Play Baccarat
According to Baccarat rules, there can only ever be two Baccarat players at the table: the banker and the player. However, other players can stand around the table and bet on who they think will win.
At the start of the game, a wager is placed on the table and two cards are dealt to the player and the banker. Depending on which version of Baccarat is being played, the player’s cards will be dealt face-up and the banker’s cards dealt face-down.
The player’s cards are then added together and if the score totals to a value between three and give, another card will be dealt to the player. After this, the banker will be required to add their cards together and take a third card if needed. The banker will then reveal their cards and a winner will be declared.
Baccarat casino games tend to follow the same rules as those found at real-life casinos. The only difference is you’ll be tapping or clicking on a screen to draw a third card, make bets and possibly win the game.
We’ve mentioned that other players can make bets on the outcome of the round. To do this, players are required to place a chip at the relevant box to bet on the player, banker or a tie. Players should look out for specific hands which may affect the outcome of the round. One such hand is the “natural” in which the player or dealer has a hand of eight or nine.
Punto Banco and Other Variations
We’ve mentioned above that Baccarat went under several different names as it became popular all over the world. But did you know that each variation has different rules?
Punto Banco became popular in Cuba around the 1950s. According to Punto Banco rules this version can feature up to 14 players and is one of the most popular variations of Baccarat. In this version, players are called Puntos and the banked called Banco. Six to eight decks of cards are used and the dealer does the shuffling, distributes the cards and announces the winner. Players are unable to choose whether or not to draw a third card.
Baccarat Chemin-de-fer is the French version of Baccarat and differs slightly from the original. It’s played with six decks of cards instead of the normal seven and the dealer is solely responsible for shuffling cards. In addition to this, all cards are dealt face-down rather than face-up. The decision to draw a third card depends entirely on the player. Chemin-de-fer was the Baccarat variation favoured by James Bond, the popular secret agent, and was featured heavily in the 1953 film Casino Royale in which Bond plays a game of Baccarat against SMERSH agent Le Chiffre.
Baccarat Banque is another popular variation of the casino game. In this version, the role of the banker is determined at the beginning of each round and players are dealt two cards while the banker is only dealt one. The rules for drawing a third card depend entirely on the player and banker as this variation doesn’t follow traditional rules. In fact, many people make up their own Baccarat rules for this version.
Live Baccarat is also a popular game to play at online casinos. The rules are mostly the same, but players compete against a real-life dealer who is being streamed directly to them over the internet. Players can interact with the dealer through a chat room or messaging system and the dealer can then respond back to the player through the stream.