Bond, James Bond.
Chances are that you first encountered baccarat (pronounced bac-car-ah) with a fleeting glimpse at the baccarat table over the tux-clad shoulder of Agent 007. Long before you were legally able or financially fit to approach a baccarat table in person, you could catch the action in a James Bond film. Handsome and beautiful double-agents and triple-agents, often evil and always dripping in diamonds, won and lost obscene sums of money in the bat of an eyelash.
Even though most of us first discovered baccarat on the silver screen, the game predates Hollywood and Ian Fleming. Sean Connery and all who followed him enjoyed baccarat centuries after its introduction.
Baccarat is, without question, the casino's most elegant and prestigious game. You'll find it tucked away in a quiet, out-of-the way corner of the casino, guarded and roped off from the rest of the common games and the casino hoi polloi. Even today, baccarat remains almost the exclusive province of the couture crowd from one end of the globe to the other.
Like most casino games , baccarat's exact origin is shrouded in mystery. What separates baccarat's history from the history of the other casino games is that it retained its exclusive image on its worldw >While there is some debate about whether baccarat originated in Italy or France, most agree that it originated in Italy. Baccarat dates back at least to the Italian middle ages, where legend places its birth sometime in the 1480s. Wandering like a nomad from continent to continent, baccarat remains extremely popular among European nobility and in China. Baccarat's moderate popularity in the United States is probably due to its relative short tenure in the American casinos and its exclusive nature.
European and American versions differ widely, with the most important difference being who banks the game. In Europe, it is common for actually players to bankroll the game while the house simply takes a percentage. In the United States, the casino bankrolls the game.
You can view a brief synopsis of baccarat's fascinating timeline below:
* Italy, Middle Ages ? The earliest version of baccarat was born in Italy in the 1480s from a deck of tarot cards. The Italians called it baccara, the Italian word for zero. Most of the cards in baccarat's deck hold a point value of zero-tens, Jacks, Queens and Kings of all suits. Legend credits Felix Falguierein as the first baccarat player. Many of the modern casino games point to Pagan or Christian spirituality as instrumental in their development. Early accounts of baccarat claim that it was:
". based on an old Etruscan ritual of the nine gods, who prayed to a blonde virgin on their tiptoes waiting for her to throw a nine-sided die. The result of the die decided her fate. If an eight or a nine was thrown, she would become the priestess; if she threw a six or seven, she would be banned from any further religious activities; if she threw any number less than six, she would walk into the sea."