Baccarat may not have the infamy of games such as blackjack or poker, but is still one of the most played casino games in the world. Casinos in Macau, in fact, attribute as much as 90% of their income solely to the game of baccarat. This may also be, however, due to the fact that baccarat is notorious for attracting wealthy high rollers.
In Macau, as well as many casinos across the world, and even in online casinos, a separate room is reserved for VIP players who wish to take part in high stakes games of baccarat. The private room is seen as a gesture of respect for these players, who often have the biggest bank rolls in the casino. Low stakes games of baccarat are also available at the same casinos, however, with no real restrictions on what minimum or maximum bets should be for the game.
This tradition of high stakes baccarat, interestingly, goes back to the games’ origins in France, where nobles were known for playing the game with notoriously high stakes rules.
Ancient Baccarat Origins
Before being adopted by French nobles, however, baccarat has a far more peculiar history, one that tends to be a bit hazy, with different sources claiming different stories. One such story that, although not confirmed to be true, is certainly interesting as well as having the potential to give nightmares.
The story says that in ancient Rome a ritual took place that determined the fate of young woman looking to become a priestess. A nine-sided dice was cast at the woman’s feet, and if an eight or nine showed, the woman became a priestess. If a six or seven was landed, she was banned from religious, but at least got to keep her life. If the number was below six, the woman was required to walk into the ocean and not return. Baccarat, apparently, was devised from this ritual in Italy before being adopted by French nobles.
From Nobles To The World
The priestess ritual story seems to be a matter that is not agreed on, with some dismissing it as myth. So it cannot be claimed as the true undisputed origin of baccarat. What is known for sure is that the game was prevalent in France in the 1800s, and a preferred game of high rolling nobles.
After some time the game began to appear in casinos, but remained as something played only by those with money to spare, so was not popular with common casino goers. It was not long, however, until low stakes versions were introduced to casinos. The game quickly became popular. Many casino goes at the time were eager to try out the game infamous for being played by the wealthy.
It was also around the mid 1800s that the game made its way over to the United Kingdom, where it retained its reputation for being a high stakes game. Notably, Ian Fleming wrote the James Bond books in the mid 1900s, with Casino Royale being focused entirely around a ludicrously high stakes game of baccarat. This stands as testimony as to how the game was viewed in the United Kingdom, even until as late as the 1950s.
It should also be noted, however, that in the more recent James Bond film adaptation of Casino Royale that the game of baccarat was replaced by poker, which goes a long way to showing how the reputation of baccarat chanced leading up to the 2000s.
Today baccarat is available to anyone who wishes to play, with the high stakes reputation of the game remaining only in certain parts of the world. There are still areas in which the game remains a very much high stakes affair, such as in the already mentioned Macau casino region, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
In modern online casinos baccarat is available to play in digital form, and has proven to be highly popular with online casino game players. There are a few versions of the game, but the Punto Banco version seems to be the most widely played in the online world.
Online Live Baccarat
A trend has recently arisen in which live online baccarat is accessible via digital feeds. The nature of the game allows it to be viewed and bet on, without any direct interaction from bet maker’s necessary. This means that all that is required for live baccarat game feeds to be broadcast is that viewers have fast Internet bandwidth speeds.
Live online baccarat has been increasing rapidly in popularity, with new broadcasting stations opening in many parts of Europe, as well as the United States. These live versions have been created without any leaning towards the game being a high stakes game, which is another interesting development in the evolution of the game. Baccarat is now more accessible than ever before.