The word baccarat is derived from the Italian word baccara, meaning zero, and refers to the zero value given to all of the face cards and tens. In Europe, the elegant game of baccarat is one of the most popular casino games. The game baccarat has long held the attention of gamblers and an early version was played with cards from a Tarot deck back in the Middle Ages. The game may have originated in Italy around 1490, but by the early 1950’s baccarat had become the game of choice for the French nobility. Eventually baccarat evolved into European baccarat and the French game chemin de fer. What is known as American baccarat actually originated in England and spread to South America. The version of baccarat that is played today came from the Capri Casino in Havana, Cuba.
When baccarat was introduced to Nevada in the late 1950’s, casino’s tried to instill the glamorous aura associated with the European game. In most casinos, baccarat is played in a roped-off area, is closely monitored and sometimes even guarded.
While the grandiose atmosphere of baccarat may attract the well-dressed high roller, baccarat is a simple game of chance that involves no degree of skill on the part of the player or dealer. Players may sit in any of the 14 open seats at the table, as seating position does not affect the play in any manner. Each seat corresponds to a number on the layout, one through 15, excluding a spot numbered 13 to avoid bad luck. Three dealers service each table. The dealer standing in the middle is known as the croupier or the caller. The croupier makes the calls on each hand as they are dealt, and directs the players on the procedure of the game. The other two dealers are responsible for handling the payoffs.
The casino dice game of craps is of American origin, Unique Casino adapted from the game hazard by Bernard de Mandeville in New Orleans in 1813. In hazard the banker, or setter, sets a stake. The player, or caster, calls a main (a number from 5 to 9, inclusive) and then throws two dice. If he throws in, or nicks, he wins the stake. Five is nicked by 5; 6 by 6 or 12; 7 by 7 or 11; 8 by 8 or 12; 9 by 9. The caster throws out, losing the stake, when throwing aces or deuce-ace (crabs, or craps ) or when throwing 11 or 12 to a main of 5 or 9, 11 to 6 or 8, and 12 to 7. Any other throw is his chance; he keeps throwing until the chance comes up, when he wins, or until the main comes up, when he loses. When a chance is thrown, the setter pays more than the original stake, according to specified odds. In French hazard the player throws against the house. In English, or chicken, hazard the player throws against an opponent.
Mandeville simplified hazard into the present game of private craps. Private craps then moved up the Mississippi river on steamboats and spread to casinos and gambling hall throughout the country. This original version of craps allowed only field and come bets, which made the game very vulnerable against fixed dice, which were often used. It wasn’t until John H. Winn, a dice-maker by trade, created an innovated version of craps, where players could bet for, or against the roller. This eliminated the usefulness of fixed dice and created the very popular versions of craps that are played today. By 1910, craps had become the most popular casino game in the world.