Like many casino games, the history of the origin of baccarat is not precise. The stories differ on how this game came about. Some historians believe that the game originated in the Middle Ages, and those who believe in this version maintain that we originally played Baccarat with Tarot cards.
Is baccarat the cousin of Blackjack?
Many people think that baccarat is a variant of twenty-one, the French game. This would make baccarat a cousin of blackjack.
In blackjack, players try to win over the dealer by obtaining a score as close as possible to 21 (without exceeding this number). In baccarat, players must bet on the hand (that of the dealer or that of the player), which, they think, will be the closest to the new. Although there are many differences between the two games, these similarities could indeed indicate a common origin.
There are many indications that suggest that the game started in Italy. Baccara, in Italian, means “nothing.”
In the modern game of baccarat, the ten and the dressed have a value of 0. The game apparently made its way at the end of the 15th century. King Charles VIII is credited with having reported this game to his compatriots.
Baccarat is a European game. It has become extremely popular in casinos on the French Riviera, and its popularity has generated different variants of baccarat.
Nowadays, most players from continental Europe prefer the version of baccarat from the game of “railroad.” This version of baccarat that we all know and appreciate comes from the British. As the British Empire spread throughout the world, more people got to know the game. The British version is the version that was exported to the United States.
In the 1950s, baccarat entered Las Vegas. It made its first appearance at Dune Casino.
Baccarat is usually associated with high stakes and high rollers. The next time you enter a casino, watch the action around the baccarat tables! Some players bet entire shipments of money on the one hand. And even if you can’t afford to play just one or two high-stakes hands, experiencing a live baccarat game is something to try at least once in your life.
Note that the two spellings (Baccarat or Baccara without T) can be found. It is said that in French, Baccara is written without T, which we add in English, but both versions are commonly accepted.
Baccarat is known to be a high society game, and even if this game has lost a bit of its chic side over the years, we still associate it with elegant men, dressed in a beautiful black suit and drinking a dry martini. In baccarat, three types of bets are possible: banco, punto, and equality. Banco and punto respectively offer an advantage of 1.06% and 1.24% – which is quite decent from the player’s point of view. However, if you decide to bet on equality, you give the house an advantage of 14.4%! Suffice to say that at this rate, you may not have a lot of money left to continue buying beautiful costumes.
How do we play baccarat?
Remember that at baccarat, the object of the game is to get a hand that scores as close to 9 points (inclusive) as possible. The dealer deals two cards to the players seated around the table, who are asked to predict their own win, that of the dealer or a tie. In some very specific cases, the croupier may have to distribute the third card to the different protagonists. All cards correspond to their face value. Aces are worth one point. The logs (valets, ladies, and kings) and the 10 are worth none. To determine the value of a hand, add the value of the two cards, and retain only the number of units. Example: 7 4 = 11. Your hand will only be worth one point. Another example: 8 7 = 15. Your hand will be worth 5 points. Last example: 9 valet = 9. You have the most powerful hand in the game! Easy, right?
In the 1980s, casinos introduced mini-baccarat.
Mini-baccarat follows the same rules as the larger and more distinguished forms of baccarat. The creation of mini-baccarat aimed to make this game more accessible to the masses, to less fortunate people. Classic baccarat tables usually have much higher limits than most other casino table games. These areas, whose access is limited, are generally reserved for high rollers. If you try to approach a baccarat table in a tank top and flip flops, chances are you will be asked to come back when you are dressed more appropriately.
This is not the case with mini-baccarat. Mini-baccarat is like other table games: casual.
In mini-baccarat, the croupier distributes the cards (players do not need to worry about how to handle the shoe). The mini-baccarat table is laid out like a blackjack table, and the action is much faster because there are fewer seats than on a full baccarat table.