There are many debates pertaining to the history of baccarat, particularly where the game was invented: France or Italy. It's difficult to trace back the origins of this game mainly because slight variations of it name are used in both countries, each wanting to claim it as theirs. According to many, the game was first invented in Italy by a gambler Felix Falguiere, where it acquired the Italian name 'baccara', meaning zero in English. It's been suggested that the game was first played with a deck of Tarot cards in the middle ages. It was later on introduced in France around 1490 A.D. and remained an exclusive game to the French nobility for some time before becoming a casino game. Eventually, baccarat evolved into European baccarat and the French game 'chemin de fer'. To learn more about the various games, go to baccarat variations.
Falguiere based the game on an old Etruscan ritual of the nine gods, who prayed to a blonde virgin on their tiptoes waiting for her to throw a nine-sided die. The result of the die decided her fate. If an eight or a nine was thrown, she would become the priestess; if she threw a six or seven, she would be banned from any further religious activities; if she threw any number less than six, she would walk into the sea. The basis of this game is very similar, but the rules and payoffs are much less dramatic.
What is known as American baccarat originated in England and spread to South America before it made its way to the United States in the late 1950s. It was Tommy Renzoni who introduced this fancy game to the Americans, which is a combination of two variations of the game: European baccarat and the French game 'chemin de fer'. All throughout its history the game remained a pleasant invitation to high rollers and individuals with high social standings. Not requiring much thought or ability, baccarat forced the players to leave everything to chance.
There exists quite a diversity today, especially so since it has made its way onto the world wide web. Although a few rules have been changed here and there to accomodate the individual taste of a certain country, the style has remained the same. It has kept it's elegant trait and is still one of the most appealing games to the well situated individuals in our society. Today, an average gambler can also have a go at the baccarat table, since some casinos offer the game with lower betting limits in the effort to attract more people. There is also mini baccarat, which is an imitation of the real game, but played on a much smaller table with significanly lower bet requirements.