Baccarat was introduced from Italy to France during the reign of Charles VIII of France who ruled from 1483 to 1498. It became a very popular game amongst French nobility. Although baccarat has always been extremely popular in European and Latin American casinos, baccarat never really caught on as strongly as black jack in casinos in the United States.
In the 1950s, baccarat became more popularized in Vegas largely because of the efforts of Frank Sinatra who was a co-owner of The Sands at that time. The game of Baccarat was targeted to high rollers-the tables for baccarat were exclusive territories that were roped off and had dealers dressed in tuxedos.
In more recent years, many US casinos are offering ‘mini baccarat’ with lower stakes and played on a standard blackjack shaped table. Baccarat is really a simple game with only three possible outcomes-player, banker and tie. The term player does not refer to the gambling customer, banker does not refer to the house, and it is simply an option on which gamblers can bet.
It is an unusual game in that any score of 10 is worth zero, or baccarat. Nine is the highest score that can be achieved. Two face cards would have a score of zero, a nine and six would not equal 15, but rather equal five (minus the first digit). Aces count as one and the rest of the cards retain their face value.
There are 3 accepted variants of baccarat: Baccarat Chemin de Fer (railway), Baccarat Banque (or a deux tableau) and Punto Banco (North American baccarat). Punto Banco is played in the United States, Canada and Australia-a variation of baccarat in which the casino banks the game at all times. Gamblers may bet on either the player or the banker, the designations for the two hands dealt in each game. The object of Punto Banco is to bet on the hand with the highest total, remembering that two face cards equal zero (10 plus 10 equals 20, minus the first digit is zero or baccarat).
Mini baccarat is a fairly popular game because of the lower stakes. It is essentially the same game as Punto Banco, but played on a table similar to a black jack table. Baccarat and mini baccarat can be found at many casinos across the United States and Canada, although it is not as popular as some of the other illustrious gambling card games like Texas hold ’em poker and Blackjack.