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The History of Baccarat from BetMGM

Baccarat is one of the most popular casino table games played in USA online casinos today. It’s easy to play, has an attractive low house edge and received a shot in the arm when it was depicted as “a passion” of James Bond in four of the famous franchise movies. But did you know that baccarat has been around for hundreds of years?

Join us as we take a look at the fascinating history of the baccarat casino game, all the way from Ancient China, through Europe to the USA.   

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While we can’t be absolutely certain when or where the origins of baccarat lie, there are at least two games played in the ancient world that bear some resemblance to the modern game.

The first is Pai Gow, a game played in China during the Song Dynasty which lasted from 960 to 1279 BCE. It was played with tiles instead of cards, similar to those used in games of dominoes. Pai Gow means “make nine,” and since nine is the best score in baccarat, Pai Gow is often thought to be where the earliest forms of baccarat originated.

It’s interesting that Pai Gow was brought to Italy by Marco Polo when he returned from his famous travels around China. And Italy is where the game takes us next as we fast-forward to 15th-century Rome. This is where the game of baccara, meaning “zero,” was created by Italian croupier and tarot card reader, Felix Falguierein. It was named “baccara” because all the face cards and tens were worth zero.


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