Live Baccarat History
Baccarat is one of the oldest games around; it has a long history which is all based around the number nine, which is also the basis of the rules of baccarat. The Etruscans (who weren't known for their leniency) would decide whether their virgins would become priestesses or to drown them on the throw of a nine sided dice. We would have to guess that a nine was rolled every now and then; otherwise the Etruscans would have become an extinct civilisation very quickly.
Later on, the game was played with cards, firstly with a tarot pack (which was invented by Felix Falguierein in the 14th Century). The name 'baccarat' comes from the Italian word for zero. The Chinese, who became fans of the game in the early 20th Century, call it Pai Go (make a nine).
The Legality of Baccarat
A lot of people think that baccarat was illegal for a long time in Europe, a lot of people would be wrong. Casinos were definitely illegal for most of the 19th Century but the game of baccarat itself wasn't. The most famous example of this mix-up was with the Prince of Wales, later to be known as Edward VII.
The story goes that he cheated curing a game of baccarat by changing his bets after he had seen his cards, when confronted with this, he accepted the fact that he cheated and vowed never to play cards again. It would've ended there, except that Lady Brooke (also known as Babbling Brooke as she had a bit of a loose jaw for gossip) let the wrong people know and the story came out, ending up with a court case for slander.
Having the Prince of Wales in the witness box was a scandal, and many historians recorded the turn of events and claimed that baccarat was illegal at the time. This however wasn't the case, the game was being playing in a casino (a small and private one, but nonetheless) and this was the illegal part of the story.
Baccarat in Pop-Culture
Baccarat has had its fair share of screen time. It's featured in James Bond films as well as the TV series 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' and other Sci-Fi's. This is probably because everyone assumes that the game is quite complicated to play. This is probably because of the layout of the game, having three dealers (one to deal the cards and two to regulate winnings) and as many as fourteen players all betting on two hands. With all this in mind, it can seem quite exotic and complicated.
Playing Baccarat With A Live Dealer
Although you can play games of chance like baccarat digitally, using computer emulated graphics - there is no experience that can replace the allure of having a dealer and a real shoe of cards. Playing live baccarat ensures the cards you're being dealt are purely random rather than a computer generated, which will eventually work out in the houses favour. Some casinos will allow the players to be the dealers, with the turn of 'croupier' rotating after each game. However there will still be a dealer present to ensure the game is played fairly.
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