The History and Evolution of Baccarat: From Italian Origins to Global Casino Floors

Baccarat is a game that has stood the test of time and has evolved into something far greater than perhaps may have been planned as part of its humble beginnings.

Hailing from Italy and created more than six centuries ago, the game has since evolved into a casino classic and is still widely enjoyed today. A reason why it has managed to achieve the success that it has is because of how simple it is to play and enjoy.

Baccarat’s Origins and Humble Beginning

While there is wide acceptance that Italy was the birthplace of the game, Baccarat’s origins and history are a little harder and more complex than many of the other traditional casino games that can be found today.

Although validating the claims that have been made has proven difficult, it is believed that the game was created in the 1400s by an Italian named Felix Falguiere, although even the spelling of his name has been disputed as it has been spelt Falguierein. The name baccarat is likely to come from the word ‘Baccara’ which is Italian for ‘zero’, thus relating to the values that the number 10 card and royals hold in this particular game.

It is also believed that his version of the game was very different to the version that is played today. It is thought four players were all dealers and had their own chance of being the banker. They could also bet against each other and not just the house.

The game took off over the world in the centuries to come, perhaps as a result of colonialism and globalization. It gained popularity across Europe – in particular, France – in the 1800s, while the US and China also embraced it. The Chinese culture highlights how lucky the number 9 is, and with the aim of the game being to obtain a score as close to nine as possible, it is likely that many Chinese were influenced by this.

Baccarat’s Global Evolution

Following the global evolution that was being observed, baccarat has since become a game that can be found almost anywhere. Traditional casinos have made it available, as have their online counterparts. If you take a look at any live casino in Canada website, you will find a lot of Baccarat tables featuring a variant of the game available to play, many of which can be enjoyed conveniently on any preferred device.

The availability of the variants to choose from helps to highlight its global evolution, too. Although baccarat may not get the same fame or have the same reputation that other casino titles have, there is no denying the love some players have for it.

It is believed to be a game that is popular with high rollers. In the US, Las Vegas is said to be willing to accept bets of up to $150,000 on a single hand. In Asia, a Singapore casino might accept bets of up to $550,000 on a single hand that is played.

To highlight its global evolution, Forbes published an article in 2017 that stated baccarat was “the number one casino game in the world”, with each of the 40 casinos in Macau at the time making $33.2 billion, with 88% of that total revenue coming from the game.

How Simple is Baccarat to Play?

Given how much the game appears to appeal to high rollers, is baccarat really that simple to play? As highlighted already, it is a game with basic rules that are easy to understand, but can players win big when they bet big on it?

The game’s rules require players to try and predict successfully who will have the hand that is the closest or equal to the value of nine. They can choose between the ‘Player’ or the ‘Banker’, while most variants will also offer the ‘Tie’ as a betting outcome.

The 10 and royal cards (Jack, Queen, King) will all be worth zero as the one is dropped from the front of the 10, while any cards totaling more than 10 combined will also lose the first digit. For example, 7+5 might equal 12, but in baccarat, it is worth 2.

This makes the game easy to follow and understand, hence why there are so many willing to place big bets on it.