The History of Baccarat and Its Types

Baccarat has been popular for centuries, even appearing on the big screen in the famous James Bond films.

However, before you decide to try your luck in this game, let’s learn a little about it.

A brief history of Baccarat

Baccarat is one of the most popular offline and online casino games today, but its exact origins are hard to trace. Many historians disagree on where it was invented, and different variations of the game have been popular since the 19th century.

Some sources claim that the game was invented in Italy about 500 years ago based on an Etruscan legend known as “Nine Gods”.

It tells of a virgin whose fate was determined by the throw of a nine-sided die. If she rolled an eight or a nine, her status would be raised to that of a priestess, but if she rolled less than a six she would be banished to the sea.

These same sources claim that French soldiers adopted the game from Italy after returning from the Franco-Italian War during the reign of Charles VIII at the end of the 15th century. Whatever the reality is, there is little doubt about the immense popularity of the game today.

In the 19th century, Baccarat was popular throughout Europe. It was a game for the aristocracy and French royalty enjoyed that. There is even a town in France called Baccarat, famous for its crystal and glass making, which was founded by King Louis XV in 1764.

The word Baccarat comes from the Italian “baccara” and refers to the number zero.

The French developed a version called Chemin de fer, which takes its name from the new railway system popular at the time. In England, Baccarat became Punto Banco and interestingly, this version of the game made its way to America before the turn of the century.

Types of Baccarat games

Whether you play Baccarat online or offline, it’s immensely popular. Let’s take a look at the most common versions of the game.

Punto Banco

This version of Baccarat literally translates to “player-banker”, and is the most common version found in casinos in America, Great Britain, and in Europe.

Often referred to simply as Baccarat, in this version of the game the casino banks during rounds and plays hands according to standard rules using eight decks in one shoe.

Most online casinos use this version of the game.

Chemin de fer

This version of Baccarat is popular in many casinos in Europe, especially in France.

The key difference is that players play against each other instead of against the bank. The role of the bank rotates counterclockwise from one player to another.

In addition, each player has the option to ask for a card or stand at five, unlike Punto Banco (the player must ask for a card).

Chemin de fer is often considered a more formal version of the game. 

Three card Baccarat

This version of Baccarat is the most popular in casinos in Macau and Asia.

In this version, a single deck of 52 cards is used. Both the player and the banker receive three cards per round, with the highest possible hand being three face cards.

Also, this version follows the standard Baccarat rules: If both player and banker have a hand with the same number of points, the hand with more face cards wins. Otherwise, a tie occurs.

Mini Baccarat

This version of Baccarat follows the Punto Banco rules, and follows all aspects with one exception: the use of a single dealer. As in blackjack, players do not touch the cards.

The reason for its popularity in the US is its low table limit and that it’s ease to play.