Punto Banco

Baccarat is called Punto Banco in many casinos in South America and Europe. "Punto" means "Player", while "Banco" means "Bank", in reference to the two principal bets of the game. Play Now!

Punto Banco History

Punto Banco, originated from George Raft's Capri Casino in Havana, Cuba before Fidel Castro took over. The game's creator, Tommy Renzoni, stated in his book that Punto Banco, as it was called in Cuba, was brought to Las Vegas by him in the late 1950s.

Renzoni wrote that his game owed its roots to European "Chemin de Fer" via Argentina. He claimed that the night of the game's first modern American play, the Sands casino lost $250,000.

Baccarat was said to have been conceptualized in Italy in the 1480s from a deck of tarot cards. The Italian word "baccarat" means "zero" because most of the cards then hold a point value of zero-tens, Jacks, Queens and Kings of all suits.

Early Baccarat stories claim that the game was:

"... based on an old Etruscan ritual of the nine gods, who prayed to a blonde virgin on their tiptoes waiting for her to throw a nine-sided die. The result of the die decided her fate. If an eight or a nine was thrown, she would become the priestess; if she threw a six or seven, she would be banned from any further religious activities; if she threw any number less than six, she would walk into the sea."

In the 1500's, Baccarat was introduced to the French by the Italians. The game was then called "Chemin de Fer."

However, the French also claim credit for inventing Baccarat. Either way, the French aristocracy, always seeking new and different idle pastimes, warmed to the game immediately.

In the early 1900's, Baccarat was introduced at the famed Saratoga racetrack and at the Palm Beach resort. However, the game received a less than lukewarm embrace and made little impression upon casino patrons.

Then, in the 1950's, Baccarat made the long voyage from France to Argentina. It landed at the casinos of Mar del Plata, home to the South American upper echelon.

In February, 1990, Akio Kashiwagi, also known as "The Warrior," entered Donald Trump's Atlantic City Trump Plaza casino to play baccarat. Mr. Kashiwagi wagered $200,000 a hand until he won $6 million. At one time, The Warrior was the highest roller in Baccarat history.

Unfortunately, Mr. Kashiwagi didn't know when he'd had enough of a good thing, and he returned to Trump Plaza in May of that same year. That time, however, the tables were turned, and after six days at the baccarat table, Mr. Kashiwagi left the casino $10 million poorer, the largest recorded loss in baccarat history.

Today, Baccarat (including variations such as "Chemin de Fer", "Baccarat Banque" and "Punto Banco") is established throughout casinos around the world.

Baccarat has also made the leap to the Internet. Most online gambling establishments include Baccarat among their offerings.

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