It is not easy to unravel the origin of the game of Baccarat, because of the assumptions and the accounts which are sometimes divergent historically speaking. This game made its first appearance in the 19th century but some historians argue that it originates from the Middle Ages. Others claim that this game was exported from Italy while other groups insist that it came straight out of France.
Despite these rather controversial opinions, baccarat aroused the enthusiasm of players especially after the release of the James Bond movie Dr. No 007. Through the episodes of the secret agent, there is talk of a game similar to this game of hazard. In this article, we will try to uncover the theories surrounding the design of this game. Some of the facts cited here may be disproved by some people. But since researchers are still groping about the game’s authorship, it is important to collect all possible versions.
The game of the Middle Ages
The first theory states that baccarat has been around since the Middle Ages. At that time, people were already playing a game similar to baccarat. On the other hand, according to some rituals related to this era, young virgins would throw something resembling a tarot card or a dice to decide their fates. If the number indicated 8 or 9, women could become priestesses. If by bad luck the die or the card showed the number 6, the player deserved the death penalty. And for the number 7, it should no longer be part of the temple. Although chance is involved in this decision, it is still difficult to conceive the link between this card thrust of the Middle Ages and baccarat.
According to the work of the poet Joseph Méry, the practice of this game began in the south of France. According to this author, the word baccarat is a Provencal term. It means natural or even “to be at zero”. Being natural means “to be at the end of your tether” or “to be ruined”. It sounds plausible indeed, especially since it looks like Blackjack. In the 18th century, blackjack did not yet exist, but people played “chemin de fer” or “French farm” in casinos in Paris. The principles of these two games are identical in certain respects, hence the birth of this theory on the origin of the game of baccarat.
Some references to the beginning of this game also come from Italy. In the Italian language Baccara means “nothing”. Specialists then deduce a connection with the meaning of the number 10 and the figures. In the game, these two have a value of zero. Two groups even argue over the true origin of this game. The first attributes the creation of the game to Felix Falguiern, a man not well known to those around him. The second group maintains that the authorship of this game goes to Lino Bussoli. The latter was a banker renowned for his trickery. According to the little story, we even cut off his ears because of his bad deeds. A storyteller might find the narrative amusing, but anyway it’s unclear which country deserves the birthright of this game.
A European game
If the nationality of the game is neither French nor Italian, it is indisputable that it is nonetheless European. Quite simply because in the 17th century it was already popular in establishments on the Riviera in France. After his birth in the Italian peninsula, King Charles VIII would have brought him to France. The king himself was an avid follower of the game. Nowadays, in Europe, players readily indulge in the Chemin de fer version of baccarat. Its popularity began with the expansion of new English colonies across the Channel. The English imported their cultures and games with them to their colonies. The product also quickly charmed the country of Uncle Sam where it rubs shoulders with the casinos of Nevada.
The practice of baccarat in the casino
In the 19th century, gambling was just for the entertainment of the aristocracy and the wealthy bourgeoisie. Now it has become a flagship game in casinos. In the 1880s, the Court of Cassation banned this game in France. But that did not prevent the development of the game. It was actually around 1905 that this game of chance was made available to the public. It made its debut in Las Vegas around the 1950s. Around the 1980s, mini-baccarat began in casinos. The limits of this game are less restricted compared to the original baccarat. You don’t need to be wealthy to bet on a game of mini-baccarat. If you ever want to feel like one of those movie stars, play big baccarat. The feeling of being a very important character is worth it!