Baccarat is the ancient game of two hands playing against one another with a goal of reaching 9 total or the so-called “9 natural”. The game was featured in pop culture extensively. But before we saw Baccarat in James Bond movies, the game already had rich history behind it. As it evolved through time and in different cultures, it picked up some of its most amazing variations and features. Today we bring to you Baccarat fun facts and some of the interesting moments in Baccarat history.
Baccarat and the Virgins Myth
Most resources mention the 18th century as the official introduction of the game. However, there are traces of Baccarat mentioning long before it hit the casinos.
Namely, 15th century gambler Felix Falguiere developed the game which relied on the old Etruscan myth. The myth says that the Nine Gods observed the throwing of a dice by the virgin whose destiny depending on the outcome of the dice roll. If she would throw an 8 or a 9, she would become a priestess. However, throwing a 6 or a 7 would mean that she was to be exiled from the community. Results below 6 meant death.
Falguire used the word “baccara” when referring to the game. It meant “zero” – which is still today the most wanted card in a deck since 10s, jacks, queens, and kings all add 0 to a hand’s total.
Although the Baccarat as we know it appeared much later in the 18th century France, in a way it resembles the myth. The fate of a gambler depends on the throw.
Baccarat Fun Facts and Movies
Can you name a movie with Baccart in focus? We can think of an entire array of James Bond movies which refer to Baccarat at some point. They say that the most legendary Baccarat scene is the one from the movie “Dr. No” (1962) when 007 lands a “natural” while playing Chemin de fer.
Rush Hour 3 with Jackie Chen and Chris Rock features Chemin de fer. You may remember the scene in which Chris Rock got 3 Kings and assumed he won, while in fact he got the worst possible hand.
Baccarat Coming to the USA
Believe it or not, Baccarat did not appear in the US before 1959. The first casino to introduce it was the “Sands” in Las Vegas. Interestingly, the players were eager to try it out and snatched a quarter of a million on the first night only.
The original 18th century Baccarat was called “Baccarat banque”. This variation featured one person as a banker and as the one to collect the losing wagers.
Soon afterwards, in the 19th century France Chemin de fer appeared as the new variation of the game. This time, there were several bankers who took turns. We can only assume that this change made the pace of the game a bit slower.
Possibly one of the most interesting and widely known variations appeared in Cuba. Unlike the previous versions “Punto banco” was not the variation designed for high rollers. This variation, which we also call “Mini Baccarat” proved to be more dynamic than Chemin de fer. It also developed into one of the most popular Baccarat variations where players bet against the house.
Baccarat Rules Reminder
As we said earlier, the goal of Baccarat is to get to 9 total. Naturally, sometimes this is difficult to achieve. If so, players should aim for the total closest to nine.
In cases when the total is a double-digit number the left-hand digit cuts off and the player is left with the lower number to be able to get as close as possible to 9.
For more details about the rules of the game we invite you to read Baccarat Basics on our blog. Moreover, we also explored some of the Baccarat Variations You May Not Have Heard Of . Once you have all the information you need, give Baccarat a try. Good luck!