History of Baccarat
Discussions between French and Italian origin of Baccarat
The history of Baccarat is very controversial. There are several points of view about the origin of this game. Italian word “Baccara” means “zero”. “Baccarat” is the French word for the Italian “Baccara”. Long-lasting disputes about the place of Baccarat origin were settled by gambling authorities, which stated that the Italian Baccara originated before the French analogue. It is believed that Baccarat was invented by an Italian gambler Felix Falguirein in the Middle Ages and initially was played with Tarot Cards. During Franco-Italian war in the 15th century Baccarat was brought to France by Italian soldiers.
Baccarat as a version of Blackjack
There is also another opinion on the basis of structural similarity. It’s suggested that Baccarat developed from Blackjack in the 19th century in France.
Etruscan origin of Baccarat
Some historians trace the origin of the game in religious rituals of the Etruscan civilization, which were a kind of fortune telling. The aim of the ritual was to choose the candidate for a female priestess. A blonde virgin threw a nine-sided dice and if the result was 9 or 8 she won and became priestess. Six or seven meant she was granted her life but couldn’t roll the dice ever again. Anything less than six meant the death of a young girl, as she had to drown herself in the sea.
Baccarat under the cover
Though it is possible to argue about the origins of Baccarat, it is obvious that present-day form of this game was formed in France. It was very popular in the 16th and 17th century among the French nobility. It was illegal in the earlier stages and was played secretly. It was played at the royal courts and in private houses and often in illegal gambling clubs everywhere from the royal courts to illegal gambling dens. In the early 1900’s Baccarat became one of the most popular games in the French Casinos.
While Baccarat was illegal in France, it became very popular in England. As Baccarat’s popularity was growing, it reached America in the 20th century.
Whatever the history of Baccarat, it is obvious that nowadays it is the most played game of chance both at land-based and online casinos. Even now, a few centuries later, Baccarat is still preferred by aristocratic people, eager to plunge in the atmosphere of French royal parlors.