The History of Baccarat

history-of-Baccarat-150x180The history of baccarat dates back all the way to medieval times in Italy, about 500 years ago. Baccarat is one of the oldest casino games in the world and has gone through numerous significant changes over the years.

Baccarat has always had something of an elegance and wealth about it, often referred to as the game of aristocrats. Because of this, the game was not often played by the common man, although thanks to the power of the internet, baccarat is now one of the most popular and accessible games to play at an online casino. It is even possible to play live baccarat games at online casinos for a realistic experience, or head to your local land-based casino for a chance to play this renowned game.

The Origins of Baccarat

Unlike blackjack, researchers and historians can actually pinpoint the exact origin of baccarat. The game was created in Italy in the 1400s by Felix Falguiere. That said, there has been heated discussions and debates over the exact date and even its location is often argued.

At the time, the game was called baccara, which translates to zero in Italian. It was only later that the French renamed it baccarat, and the named was officially adopted and now used all over the world. Soon after it was created in Italy, the game gained popularity in France, being a favourite of King Charles VIII and his French noblemen. The game was exclusively played by upper-class members of society during this time and evaded the regular man on the street. The game grew in popularity, which soon meant changes to its rules and even its name, as it was referred to as Chemin de Fer in some places, especially France.

Baccarat eventually reached England, where it drew particular interest of one Ian Flemming, who would later go on to create the most famous spy in the world and avid baccarat player, James Bond.

Chemin de Fer

Chemin de Fer is a slightly altered version of baccarat that was popular in France and still played in various parts of the world. One of the main differences between this version and the original is that the role of banker is played by the players. Every player will get a chance to be the banker at some point during the game. Because players are competing against each other, this version was enjoyed as it was more challenging and entertaining.


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Other Baccarat Variations

Baccarat has travelled to many countries since it was originated, including the United States, China and South America. That said, it was always regarded as a game for the wealthy and played as a form of entertainment, perhaps due to the high stakes of the game, meaning the average man could not afford to play. When it reached England, the name was changed to European baccarat, which, along with a name change, also featured some rule changes as well. In European Baccarat, players can draw an extra card on five while the banker is not considered a player in the game.

Baccarat finally reached America in the 19th century, although it wasn't as popular as it was in Europe, mainly due to the popularity of blackjack in the States. Later, Cuban players found an interest in the game and a variation called Punto Banco was created to appeal to the American market. This would become one of the most famous versions of the game and is often called North American Baccarat. These days, it is possible to play this version at land-based and online casinos. The difference with this version is that there are established rules for drawing additional cards and the banker is performed by a casino employer not a player.

Baccarat and Land-Based Casinos

The Chemin le Fer version made its appearance at Las Vegas casinos in the 1950s. Because of its reputation as being a game for the rich, the stakes were unusually high, which mean it could not contend against established games like blackjack, roulette or other mainstream games. Soon, casinos would try various approaches to get players interested in baccarat, including introducing the Punto Banco version, also known as North American Baccarat, which turned out to be successful. These days, baccarat is one of the most well-loved and rewarding games to play, for both the player and the casino.

Online Baccarat

Online casinos landed in the mid-1990s, which now meant players can enjoy the thrill of gambling without having to leave home. This, of course, meant that various casino games would be getting the online treatment, including baccarat. Online gambling proved to be one of the most successful and lucrative industries in the world. Thanks to the internet, everyone can now have access to a wealth of casino games, including baccarat, a game that was once considered to be too prestigious for the average man.

Baccarat variants have been developed over the years, with technology making it more accessible and entertaining than ever before.  Playing online also meant that players can place lower bet and player at lower stakes than they could at land-based casino, causing the game to thrive. Technology has also allowed players to enjoy fast, efficient and realistic gaming anywhere, anytime, directly from the comfort of your home or while on the move from your mobile device. Live casinos mean that you can play via your computer but with the most realistic atmosphere as the game is played in real-time.


Baccarat is one of the oldest casino games in the world and has gone through many changes since it was first created in the 1400s. Because of this, players can enjoy a wealth of variations to suit all needs, preferences and even budgets. It remains a sophisticated game, although it is now played by everyone across the world instead of just an elite few. It is no longer exclusive to the upper-class members of society, with numerous versions appealing to new, experienced and expert players. These days, almost every online casino features at least one baccarat game, proving its popularity at modern casinos and among a new generation of gamblers.


What is the association with James Bond and baccarat?

If you have ever watched a James Bond movie, you would know that the suave superspy is quite a fan of baccarat. In fact, Chemin de Fer is the casino game of choice for this fictional secret agent. Bond plays baccarat in numerous novels, most notably in the famous 1953 novel Casino Royale. Other instances of baccarat in James Bond novels include Dr. No, where Bond is first introduced to the game, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, GoldenEye and For Your Eyes Only. Interesting fact: For the 2006 movie version of Casino Royale, the game of baccarat was replaced with Texas hold’em poker as poker was experiencing a boom in the mid-2000s.

What is the Royal Baccarat Scandal?

In 1891, the Tranby Croft affair hit the headlines, which were referred to as the royal baccarat scandal in the media. This was due to King Edward Vii, then the Prince of Wales’ involved in the incident. Due to the scandal, baccarat became widely known, with its rules being published in the newspaper along with accounts of the scandal.

Last Updated: December 16, 2018