Baccarat was introduced to the French by the Italians in the 1500s, while there are some that claim that baccarat was invented by the French. Both theories contribute to the fact that baccarat was an immense hit with the French nobility of the time. The nobility were constantly looking for new and exciting pastimes and they welcomed the game into the courts.
While the French nobility were leaping from charitable gaming to covert baccarat sessions, the game was spreading around the continent. British aristocracy was very keen on baccarat and the game was very popular in Victorian England. Baccarat was played in exclusive venues like Crockford’s Club in London and the Queen’s court was also hosted by John Aspinall for games playing.
Baccarat made its way to Argentina and a variation called Punto Y Banca evolved. This form of the game migrated to Cuba where it was renamed Punto Banco and also underwent some minor rule changes. This type of baccarat became known as American baccarat – the European version of the game allowed players to bet against each other and the house took a percentage, while in the American form all players were able to bet against the house.
In the 1920s in France, baccarat was once again legal and bettors were occupied with trying to find a way to master the game and crack the casinos. One group known as the Greek Syndicate, a superb team of baccarat gamblers, was lead by Nico Zographos. Zographos was an engineer who had done an in-depth mathematical study of the game and his team, made up of a two Greeks, an Armenian and a Frenchman succeeded in breaking casinos’ banks across France. By reading body language and counting cards, this team made over $5 million in gambling loot.
In February 1990, Akio Kashiwagi, also nicknamed “The Warrior” made baccarat betting history when he won $6 million in Atlantic City’s Trump Plaza casino. Kashiwagi had been wagering $200,000 per hand and this method seemed to pay off. However, the famous bettor also managed to break another betting record, but less successfully. In May of the same year, Kashiwagi participated in a six-day gambling stint, wagering similar stakes each time, ultimately loosing $10 million. As they say – you win some, you lose some.