The origin of Baccarat can be recorded back to the 19th century. However, the origin of the game is never completely detailed. Many hold the belief that it was founded and formed in China with the name “Pai Gow.” This is a game that was played in the hopes of getting to the number 9 like in Baccarat. However, others suggest that it’s roots can be traced back to Rome, Italy. Where women would cast a die of faith. If they rolled an 8 or a 9, then they were given the future of a high priestess. The roll of a 6 or 7 meant that they had been dismissed from their religion. However, if they rolled any number other than 6, 7, 8, or 9; they would have to walk into the sea and drown themselves.
So, how did Baccarat gets transferred into a card game when the Chinese, Italian’s, and French played it with dice? Well, the popular theory is that when Marco Polo came back from China, he brought back the knowledge of how to create cards. He taught them how to use the Chinese method of woodblock printing. This was reportedly used by the Chinese as early as 220 A.D. and could print on any material they desired. Marco Polo showed Europeans how to use this technique and thus card-playing became a normalcy in Europe during the 1290’s A.D. This is when Baccarat transformed into a card game as many other dice games did at the time.
Baccarat became extremely popular to soldiers and noblemen alike in the 12th century. In many parts of Europe and Asia Baccarat became the game of choice. King Louis Philip banned gambling including Baccarat in 1837. The banning of gambling in France didn’t halt the popularity of the game though. The game was just moved to people’s houses or in underground rooms where the French soldiers and Nobility placed their wagers on Baccarat. The banning of gambling only fueled their desire to play, as is human nature, and thus became more popular.
So, when did Baccarat officially make its debut in America? Well, official press reports that it came to America in 1911 in the name “Chemin de Fer” in French or “Chemmy” in English. However, it didn’t become widely popular in the United States until the 1950s where it was incorporated as a high-roller’s game in Las Vegas. At this time Tommy Ronzoni brought the version of Baccarat called “Punto Banco” to America in 1959 from Argentina. It became popular soon and was overwhelming enough to almost close some casinos. By the 1970s only 15 casinos had a Baccarat table and you had to be rich and famous or possibly both in order to get a seat at these elusive tables. Even the 15 casinos that housed “Punto Banco” were only open part-time. Making it the most exclusive table game in Vegas. Soon thereafter, they created Baccarat and what followed was mini Baccarat. Mini-Baccarat allowed for people who had an average bankroll to have the ability to play this once elusive game.
Today, many people enjoy playing Baccarat. It is possible for everyone to sit at a table at their local casino and enjoy the experience of the live casino game. It is no longer an exclusive game and you don’t have to be rich to play the game. So, the next time Baccarat is played have a seat. Join in on the fun of the game. Relish in the history of the game. Who cares where it originated from? It’s a game that is fun for everyone to play today. One can even play from the comfort of their own home at one of the many live online casino tables.