Baccarat History

What comes to mind when you think of the games that dominate the casino floor and gaming landscape? Is it poker? Roulette? Slots? How about baccarat? It’s a game that not everyone is familiar with. However, it’s one with a rich history and a proud place in both classic casinos and their modern, digital counterparts. So where does this game come from, and how did it grow in popularity to become one of the top-played casino games?

The Beginning of Baccarat

As with all games played for centuries, it can sometimes be a little difficult to pin down exactly where they began. This is usually due to the unreliability of information over such a long period, as well as disputed origins as different cultures and societies look to claim games with similar rules and gameplay. Baccarat is no different with several varying tales of how it started as a humble card game.

One area that has staked its claim to the beginning of baccarat history is Asia. When sailors from Europe were making trips to the Far East in the 1700s, they brought back a game that was known as Macao which bore some very clear similarities to what we now know as baccarat and looked extremely similar to many other card games that were popular in Asia.

History of Baccarat in Europe

Some people think that the game actually originated in Italy and was passed throughout Europe, first via France, by soldiers during the Italian Wars in the 1400s. From there, it was continually played and would become increasingly popular with the higher classes in France and beyond throughout the 1800s into the early 20th century, when gambling in the European nation was legalised.

France legalised gambling in 1907 but that doesn’t mean that the game of baccarat didn’t move forwards before that. Instead, the game made its home on the underground casino circuit and became what we now know. Baccarat Banque is the variant that developed in these private circles as a three-player game. It remains a popular choice throughout Europe, particularly in the casinos of Monte Carlo. Obviously, though, the game wouldn’t begin and end in the Old World. It wasn’t long before it made the important leap across the Atlantic.

Baccarat Moving to the US

As mentioned, it was only a matter of time before the game of baccarat made its way to the New World and the United States. After it had found a home in England, there was no way that it wouldn’t make the switch. Much like the many men and women who made the long journey to find a new home and a new start, the history of baccarat is defined by this transatlantic story. We likely wouldn’t have the many different variants of the game that we do now if it weren’t for its North American adventure.

The 20th century and the late 19th century were when the game really made a place for itself on the continent. Due to its growing popularity there, it became known as American baccarat, which many would say is a little strange given its long and storied history in Europe. However, the citizens of the US would hop on to the South American variant of the game Punto Banco that was brought from Argentina and Cuba after World War II.

After that, the casino floors of Las Vegas Nevada became the new home of baccarat and its introduction by Francis Renzoni began a boom for this one player versus dealer comparison game. While it couldn’t initially challenge established games like blackjack and poker, the much simpler Punto Banco variant flourished and became exactly what we expect when we sit down at the table or online casino to play.

Modern Baccarat in Live Casinos

Ever since the very first online casinos were catapulted onto the scene in the mid-1990s, the catalogue of games that have been hosted there has regularly grown and evolved. As expected, though, the staples of the casino world have been welcomed with open arms online. Baccarat is no different and it became a key game for any good web-based casino and that meant that it would continue to see innovation as the internet became an even bigger part of the casino landscape. One way that it has changed in particular is its adoption in the live casino.

The introduction of live-dealer-presented online games using high-quality video streaming and high-speed connections where players were connected with real staff preceded the development of unique variants that you can find online today. Now you can find a whole host of different options alongside the more standard game types that you would expect. From Live Baccarat Squeeze to Lighting Baccarat, the live casino has given new players a chance to experience a classic game in a variety of different ways.

Despite all of this growth and evolution in the game, the rules and gameplay have largely remained the same, with the ultimate goal of the game being to bet on the right outcome of a winning hand. In Punto Banco, for example, you will bet on either the player (punto) or the dealer/bank (banco). Even in these newer iterations of the game, this will be the same outcome but with slight differences, such as the speed at which rounds are played and with side bets that cover even more possibilities.

New Versions of Baccarat

We’ve discussed how the internet, live casinos and the move from country to country have helped develop new variants and versions that have influenced baccarat game history. So what are these games and what are the differences?

Punto Banco

This is the game we’ve covered the most. The biggest difference between this and the original game is that it removed elements of strategy that were present in other variants like chemin de fer. As this was a straight comparison between the player’s hand and the banker’s, it became a pure game of chance.

Baccarat Squeeze

Squeeze has become a popular choice due to its way of revealing values slowly, little by little. Instead of overturning the cards in one quick move, the banker or player will slowly bend the card, displaying the suit but not the number of the card. This gives other players the chance to bet in-play based on what they have already seen.


Where did baccarat originate?

There are multiple origin stories for the game of baccarat. Some believe it began in Rome, Italy and others say it has its origins in Macau, China.

You can play this comparison card game online here at Pink Casino, with various versions available to select from.

In the game of baccarat, you can place bets on either the banker or the player winning with the hand closest to 9. In some variants, you can place other side bets that cover more specific outcomes, like over/under on the value of the hand.

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