Image from “Speed baccarat with dealer Marika”, Youtube.
From The Beatles to James Bond, baccarat has been around for centuries now. Even though, under the shadow of more popular games such as Texas Hold’em y Blackjack, Baccarat is as easy to pick up as the before mentioned card games. The game is known for being packed with emotion, being extremely fun and you can actually get great prizes if you are lucky enough.
As in most of century old games, their origin is uncertain and disputed. Some sources claim that the game is more than two hundred years old, around the 19th century. Other sources datum its origin in Italy, but actually four centuries before, and then was introduced into France by soldiers during the Franco-Italian War. It has found its way into French nobility, though in private rooms since we are positioning this in the Napoleonic era before casinos became legal. The Italian origin is backed by the game’s name. It is said that the name comes from the word baccarrá, an ancient Italian word that meant zero and it was also used to call the worst hand in the game, the one with zero points.
Know how to count your points
When you visit a casino there are options for everyone. You have roulette, a dozen of slot machines, and a huge variety of card games including blackjack, poker, and of course baccarat. To play baccarat you must know the points in value of the cards: two through nine cards in each suit are worth face value, always in points. You get zero points for the 10, jack, queen, and king. Aces count as 1 point and no jockers are used.
It’s quite simple to count the points. You only need to add the numbers of your cards, but since the biggest point number is 9 when your cards add up two digits the first one is dropped. For example, if you have 3 and 5 your total points are 8. And if you have a 7 and an 8, you drop the first digit and your total points are 5.
The dealer deals the cards face up. Two cards for each player and two for the bank. The hand that’s closer to nine wins. You have the option to bet on the player hand which pays double what you bet. If you bet on the banker’s hand it pays 95 percent, which is not bad at all.
Now, if the player gets 5 or less a third card will be dealt. If both banks or players have eight or nine points they will stand. You can the option to bet on a tie, which pays 8 to 1. Hey, that’s what you get for being so cold-hearted.
Punto banco is the simplified version played at most casinos around the world, though it’s usually called just Baccarat. Also, you can find mini-baccarat, which is a simplified version mostly found in smaller places. It features a single croupier and the table is as big as a blackjack Table Minimums/maximums are smaller too.
There’s also Super 6/Punto 2000, which is a variation where money is paid on banker bets. The payment depends on the bank’s points.
Chemin de fer appeared in the late 19th century. The name comes from the French term railway due to the game speed. Of course, back then, there were no cars or planes, and trains were the fastest method of transportation. Chemin de fer version is the one that Mr. Bond likes to play and the most played variation in France.
Royal baccarat scandal
Everyone loves scandals, even more, when there’s royalty involved. So we will discuss the Tranby Croft affair. It happened in the late 19th century and involved the Prince of Wales and future King Edward VII. It was during a house party in 1890 where a lieutenant colonel in the Scots Guards, Sir William Gordon-Cumming, was seen cheating by one of the guests.
It is said that during a Baccarat game Gordon-Cumming was seen illegally adding to his stake. This took place at the home of Arthur Wilson, a prominent shipowner.
Gordon-Cumming was confronted and forced into never playing cards again, all signed in a document. In exchange, the guests would remain secretive about the scandal. Unfortunately, the secret was not kept for long, so William Gordon-Cumming blamed the Wilson family and requested for the document to be retracted. All this sounds like a great plot for a Netflix show! The story ends with Gordon-Cumming being dismissed from the army and he was expelled from society for life. That was a high bet to lose, unfortunately for him.
Jumping to the present
Now that you might be intrigued and even excited about Baccarat, let’s discuss where you can play the game. Of course, there are casinos all over the world where you can enjoy this exciting game. It’s fast and very easy to pick up. But in the present, online gambling is gaining popularity and it’s being one of the favorites ways to gamble. Players just enjoy it better since they can find amazing bonuses, a great amount of games, and it’s very comfortable to play whenever you want to. For instance, 888 Casino, being one of the most popular and trusted casinos, offers a great experience to enjoy Baccarat online at the comfort of your home.
What used to be accessible to the French and English nobility only is now accessible to you at the tip of your fingers from your phone, tablet or PC. Fortunately, you don’t need to wear fancy clothes and have rich friends to enjoy Baccarat. Hey, you don’t have to be a secret handsome spy either.
Baccarat is more accessible than ever, and it is out there for you to discover it. It’s fast, it’s fun, and easy to pick up. It fits all betting styles given the options available within such a simple game. It’s very intriguing how games from two centuries ago are still relevant. The only response for this to happen is that the game is fun and accessible to everyone. When we play baccarat remember that two hundred years ago it was only accessible to the rich among the rich.
If you are bored from always playing and visiting the same tables, where all you see is poker and blackjack, maybe you can pour yourself the secret spy drink of your choice and enjoy the world of baccarat while listening to a Hard day’s night.