There is much controversy surrounding the origins of the game of baccarat. However, it is largely believed to date back to fifteenth century Italy or France.
The word 'baccarat' is actually a derivative of the Italian word for zero. Creation of the game is usually attributed to Italian gambler Felix Falguierein. During the middle ages, baccarat was played with a deck of tarot cards as opposed to the modern day cards used in the game today.
As the popularity of the game spread across Europe, rigorous opposition from the Church also rose. The Church regarded the game of baccarat, like most other forms of gambling, as the game of the devil and those who played it were carrying out the work of the devil. Nevertheless, baccarat became the game of choice for the upper classes and aristocracy and was played in secrecy.
Eventually, the game was legalized by the government and taxes were placed on it proceeds for the benefit of the poor. This actually served to increase the popularity of the game as its players rationalised that they were helping those in need.
The game was outlawed during the reign of Napoleon and remained illegal until the early 1900s. Upon being legalised once again, its popularity spread and casinos were constructed across France.
Baccarat was legal in England during the period that it was illegal in the rest of continental Europe and quickly gained popularity when Queen Victoria's son was caught in baccarat troubles. It was mostly played just for fun, however, some people started playing for money too.
The version of baccarat that reached England was different to the version that reached America. Baccarat was introduced to North America in the beginning of the twentieth century, however, had difficulty gaining popularity as blackjack was introduced during the same period. It began life in America as an unpopular addition to the selection of casino games.
Today, however, baccarat has become one of the most respected and famous casino games around the world. Like most other casino games, it has now reached the internet and is offered by most online casinos. There are many variations of the game depending upon the location in which you are playing, so it is important to check the house rules before playing.