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What we know about this today

Its glamorous appeal means that Baccara is highly sought after, one of the best known card game and one of the most thrilling casino games. It remains the players' favourite. Its rules are simple and mastered in a matter of minutes.

Long regarded as the game for the “top” of the social ladder (the aristocracy), it is known today not only as the "king of all casino games”, but also as the oldest. Nowadays, it is played at every casino, including the world's finest establishments. Due to very similar basic rules, it is also known as the "cousin" of the game Blackjack. Two other games are played very much like Baccara, namely Faro and Basset. Three Baccara variants are played nowadays: Chemin de Fer (shimmy), Baccara Banque, and Punto Banco. Nonetheless its origins remain vague, little known, varied and debated over. As times went by, the game has been developed, diversified, altered and played in various manners, with variations, depending on the parts of the world it has moved to. For some, the game Baccara dates back to the Middle-Ages; for others it originated somewhere during the second half of the 19th century.

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What did really happen?

Italian researchers and historians agree to saying that Baccara originated in Italy, in the Middle-Ages. The French, on the other hand, proclaim themselves as the founders of this very popular and world famous game. For some, it was introduced in France under the reign of Charles VIIIth (after 1483), by knights returning from the wars with Italy. For others, someone called Falguière is said to have introduced Baccara in Italy using Tarot cards. The legend has it that this game came from an Etruscan ritual. In this game, a dice with 9 sides was thrown by a virgin, a blonde one preferably! If she pulled an 8 or a 9, she became a priestess, a 6 or a 7 and she was banished and could not claim to any religious ritual any more, and if it was a number below 6 she was drowned in the sea. Do not worry though; today the game is free of any danger, thank goodness!

Another one of the best known Baccara variants is the game Chemin de Fer Created by the French, it would be a type of game having drifted from that of Baccara. Highly popular in the United Kingdom and in the United States, this game is extremely close to that of Baccara.
But let us go back to the origins of Baccara... In Italian, Baccara means "zero". Just as a remainder, court cards and the number 10 normally regarded as being the highest cards, are – in the case of Baccara – those having a zero value.

As previously mentioned, statements have this game first appear in the 16th century within the French nobility and the aristocratic elite.
Until the 19th century, it crossed over the English Channel, the Atlantic then landed in Argentina prior to continuing onto Cuba.
That was when it changed from Baccara to Chemin de Fer and ended up being called Punto Banco.

Baccara variants, in terms of rules, were levelling out: until then players would bet against one another. The bank used to take a commission. Then, rules changed and each player would start by playing against the croupier. Baccara continued on its journey towards Las Vegas, Nevada, in the United States. Until then unknown, it became quite popular among informed players, before targeting average players and conquering beginners.

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