The beginnings of Baccarat [bah-kuh-rah] are hard to determine due to its popularity and variations. The three main variations are Chemin de Fer, Banque, and Punto Banco. Baccarat is believed to have originated in Italy, where an Italian gambler, Felix Falguierein, created the game using Tarot cards. The name of the game itself means zero in both Italian and French.
A popular story, based on mythology, is that Baccarat’s creator Felix Falguierein used this game to predict the fate of a blonde virgin. The game used a nine-sided die. If she threw an 8 or 9, she would become a priestess. However, if she threw a 6 or 7, she would be banished and could no longer participate in all sacred activities. As for all numbers less than 6, she would have to walk into the sea and perish. Quite the story, but this version of Baccarat is nothing like present-day Baccarat.
Around the 1490s, Baccarat was believed to be introduced in France. The game was called “Chemin de Fer”, which serves as the template for modern-day baccarat. After its introduction, it took hundreds of years before becoming legal in France. Its popularity grew immensely and made its way into all of Europe and even South America.European Baccarat, known as “Baccarat-en-Banque”, is similar to Chemin de Fer. The key difference is the way the cards are dealt. Fast forward to the 20th century, in the 1950s Tommy Renzoni brought the game to the US. Renzoni combined both Baccarat-en-Banque and Chemin de Fer to create the now popular game known as, mini baccarat or just simply Baccarat. The reason for mini baccarat was because the original game was played on big tables and needed players that had similar wagers. Mini Baccarat can be found in majority of the casinos around the US.