History of Baccarat – From Early Days to Live Dealer Casinos
As one of the oldest card gambling games, baccarat has a rich history. Kings and noblemen first played it across Italian and French courts over half a millennium ago.
But, although it was created so long ago, the game didn’t catch on among the general population until the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Still, to this day, baccarat remains a game played mostly by high rollers. So, how did this game crop up, and how did it evolve through the centuries? Read on and learn the essential facts on the history of blackjack.
Renaissance Italy – The Early Days of Baccarat
Like most other casino games with a history spanning several centuries back, baccarat’s origins are still discussed today.
Most historians believe the game came up during the 15th century, in renaissance Italy. It was first called baccara, which translates to “zero” in Italian.
It was called this because all of the face cards and tens were worth zero in the game. Initially, the game was played with tarot cards instead of the standard card deck.
This original version had some noticeable differences compared to the modern one we play today. The most noticeable one is that the cards were dealt by four different dealers.
Not only this, but each of the players had the opportunity to be the banker. Players could also choose to bet against other players or the house.
Oppositely to all of this, there’s only one dealer in today’s baccarat version, the house is the banker, and bets are generally placed against it.
Soon after the game became popular in renaissance Italy, travelers, gamblers, and noblemen brought the game into neighboring France. It quickly became a favorite of the upper class in the country and was regularly played in the French royal court.
It became known as Chemin de Fer and remained one of the most popular gambling games for several centuries.
After the French King Louis XIV banned all forms of gambling, the game went underground. Between the late 17th century and early 18th century, baccarat became prevalent among the local peasant population.
It started spreading further across Europe, eventually crossing the English Channel to find its way into the UK. And, as this period marked the time of rapid global colonization, baccarat speedily spread to other countries across the world.
19th Century – Making Its Way Across the Pond
In the late 18th century and the first years of the 19th century, baccarat migrated across the Atlantic Ocean to find its way into the Caribbean and South America.
As France and Spain were active colonizers at the time, the game promptly spread through the South American continent.
In many Latin American countries, it became known as Punto Banco. The game became a big part of the local culture and developed unique rules that differed from the European version.
Players could only bet against the house, not each other. Additionally, players could no longer be bankers, making sure the house kept its edge. This version was the one that became popular in the US as well.
The 20th Century – Introduction in the US
Baccarat arrived relatively late in the United States. It made its way into the country only in the first decades of the 20th century. At this time, games like poker, blackjack, and roulette were already immensely popular among US gamblers.
Some historians say that baccarat arrived in the US in 1911.
It remained fairly underground during the first half of the 20th century. Baccarat wasn’t a part of the big gambling wave that came about when prohibition ended and Las Vegas started opening up.
Only when famous baccarat player Tommy Renzoni brought the game into Vegas casinos in the 1950s did the players have the opportunity to try out baccarat in a casino setting in the US.
That said, when talking about baccarat in the US, this game never quite managed to reach the popularity of poker, blackjack, roulette, and slots. However, Las Vegas operators came up with the idea to make the game more exclusive.
They increased the bets, created luxurious and high-end baccarat rooms, and presented baccarat as an alluring foreign game only meant for the high rollers.
This quickly caught on, and by the 1950s, baccarat was viewed as one of the most upscale casino games you could play in the US.
Late 20th Century – The Rise of Online Baccarat
The emergence of the first online casinos in the 1990s significantly influenced the global popularization of baccarat.
It quickly became a widespread game equally enjoyed in all corners of the globe. Online casinos opened the door for players from all regions to come together and play a game they all love.
The internet changed many players’ approaches to baccarat, as the game became more convenient and easily accessible.
Before the invention of online casinos, the game was often challenging to find, as it was not always available in every casino, like games such as blackjack and roulette were.
With online casinos sites, baccarat experienced another surge to become one of the most popular games.
As the online industry evolved over the next two decades, baccarat kept pace with the changing trends. This brought upon another revolutionary stage that changed online gambling as we know it today – live online casinos.
The Addition of Live Baccarat Games
As much as online baccarat brought up a new dimension to the game, the addition of live baccarat games made online gambling even more enjoyable.
In essence, live baccarat games play precisely the same as traditional baccarat. The objective is still the same, and you still have all of the same betting options.
Live baccarat games are broadcast from purposefully built studios created to emulate the authentic casino atmosphere.
You can interact with professional dealers and enjoy a high-class setting like in an actual baccarat room, but without any inconveniences. Live online baccarat rooms are the latest trend of the gambling industry that constantly evolves to keep us entertained!