Baccarat – (A Game Worth Playing)
One of the most popular and oldest card games across the world..
In 1330 Felix Falguierein, an Italian gambler, was said to have invented “bacca” during the middle ages when Tarot cards were used to play the game.
Before the invention of the printing press, card games were hardly a popular activity mainly due to the scarcity of playing cards. They had to be either hand-painted or block printed by using a carved wooden block as a stamp – a Chinese technique used for Pai Gow (make nine) tiles which Marco Polo introduced to Italy in the late 1290s. With the invention of the printing press, playing cards became more widely spread as they were printed in packs of 78. Known as The Devil’s Picture Books, playing cards were now more abundant. New card games proliferated and older games were adapted to be played with cards, Baccarat being one of them.
Nine Gods and the Golden Virgin
Although the game is now popular in casinos, history shows that it started as a private and social gambling game. According to legend, it was derived from an ancient Etruscan ritual [ROME] where nine gods prayed on toe tip to a blonde virgin who would throw a nine-sided die that decided her fate.
The virgin would be a priestess if she threw either an eight or nine. On the other hand, she would no longer participate in any religious activity if she threw either seven or six. Throwing any number less than six would mean she had to walk into the sea.
Baccarat made its way from Italy to France at the end of the 15th Century by soldiers returning from the Franco-Italian war. It was certainly in France that the game was popularized, becoming a staple among French nobility up until their 19th Century demise. From France the game made its way across the channel to England. It was here that a young Ian Fleming fell in love with Baccarat, hence 007’s affinity for the game.
Three versions of the strategy game have remained popular over the years: punto banco, chemin de fer and baccarat banquet.
Punto banco is a game of chance – dictated by the cards dealt to the player – in both chemin de fer and baccarat banque, strategy and skill play a part; although the odds are still in favour of the banker.
Punto banco is the game played in the majority of casinos, where the casino banks the game at all times and both hands are dealt according to fixed drawing rules. If neither the player nor the banker is dealt a total of 8 or 9 in the first two cards, the game continues with either the player or the banker drawing a third card according to the rules (tableau). The croupier then announces the winner and bets paid.
Chemin de Fer, meaning ‘iron road’, was the original version of the game, and was named as such because the cards were placed in an iron box. Players sit in a random order, and take turns to shuffle the cards before the start of the game. Each player takes a turn as the banker, and after wagers are made, the banker deals two cards to himself, and two held in common by the other players.
On November 20th 1959, the Las Vegas Sands made casino history as it opened its first Punto Banco table.
21 Century Baccarat (NO COMMISSION)
EZ Baccarat is a baccarat game created and developed by Robin Powell and Francisco Tejeda of Talisman Group. The game employs a revolutionary method of accelerating the speed of baccarat by eliminating the commission. Players can also make optional side wagers called Dragon 7 and Panda 8. The Dragon 7 is when the Banker wins with a total of seven consisting of three cards and pays 40 to 1. The Panda 8 is when the Player wins with a total of eight consisting of three cards and pays 25 to 1.
There are two hands – the Banker and the Player. The dealer will deal two cards for each hand. There might be a third card depending on the value of the two cards. The sum of the two or three cards is the basis of who is going to win the bet. The cards whose total value is closest to nine wins the bet.
Casino Royale Peter Sellers and H.G. Wells