The name “baccarat” means Zero, and old Roman legends spoke of a young virgin who was to roll a nine-sided dice. These legends were written down before the 1st Century. If the virgin rolled a Nine or an Eight she was to become a high priestess, other wise, if it is was a Seven or a Six she was to be banished from religious services, but if she rolled any lower number she was killed, a sacrifice to the gods, who sentenced her fate by the nine-sided dice. This legend is the first literary piece which describes a game similar to Baccarat.
Most evidence point that baccarat history evolved from Pai Gow, a Chinese tile game. In this game players had to “Pai Gow” – Chinese for “make a nine”. It is possible that the game migrated to Italy with merchants from the Far East, and there it was played with tarot cards instead of tiles, soon it became popular and it spread with merchants and pilgrims.
Though little can be said about the baccarat history with complete confidence, it is most likely that modern baccarat had evolved from the game played with the Tarot cards. It was played in Italy in the 14th Century and later on it migrated to France, where it was accepted by the aristocrat class. From France baccarat had split to two versions: One is “Chemin de Fer”, a baccarat variation which is played solely in France, and the second is the European baccarat.
The European version continued to develop in Great Britain through the centuries and from there it moved to South Africa and to Nevada in the beginning of the 20th century. I Nevada baccarat had settled for the first time in the USA. The main versions of Baccarat played today are Chemin de Fer, Banque and Punto Banco.
Josh Wilson, Editorial Staff 14/12/05