History books show that Baccarat was played as long ago as the Middle Ages. History also tells us that the game started out using Tarot cards. The game began in Italy and then found its way to France where it became very popular among the noblemen and upper classes who enjoyed the gambling. Somewhere along the line it split into two slightly different games, the European version of baccarat and the French game of 'chemin de fer'.
In many ways Chemin de fer is very similar to the modern baccarat played in American casinos. The main difference is that the banker is one of the players and not a casino employee. The players take it in turns to act as banker, something like the way the dice are passed along among the players at the craps table. The casino is not really involved other than charging a fee to each banker.
Baccarat is popular in the Far East and this can be seen among the many Asian tourists who visit Las Vegas each year. Many of the really big rollers who call in at the Las Vegas baccarat rooms come from the Far East. The popularity of baccarat is unrivalled in the casinos of Portuguese Macao, a neighbor of Hong Kong.
The Portuguese casinos, allow multiple players to bet on a single spot at the same time because their dealers can mentally record the commission of each player as they win bets against the bank.
The version of baccarat that crossed the Atlantic from Great Britain to America is the modern game of baccarat played today in the United States. From the U.S. it drifted south and ended up in Nevada. In the late 50's the game was introduced in Dunes casino in Las Vegas. Now baccarat is a popular online game. This is its latest migration.
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