It is thought that the game of Baccarat was born in Italy in the late 1400s (however, it seems that the original idea was imported from Macao), quickly acquiring considerable diffusion.
The origin of the word comes from the Italian "baccara" which means zero, and the value given to all cards with a face and those with a 10 is precisely zero).
Just under a century later, Baccarat arrived at the French court; the elite played the game, winning and (more often) squandering entire fortunes. The current baccarat rules originated in the Capri Casino in Havana, Cuba.
Baccarat arrived in America in 1959: the Dune casino (no longer in existence) in Las Vegas was the first to host the action.
Many variations were generated from the game of Baccarat, among which the most famous are Chemin de Fer (a term probably originating from the way in which the game continues like a train on the tracks around a table) and Punto Banco.
The difference between the two games can essentially be traced back to 3 points:
1) In Punto Banco the players do not compete against each other, but rather against the bank; in Chemin players compete against each other.
2) In Punto Banco players have no "action" other than betting. In Chemin players are asked to make decisions.
3) Punto Banco is a simple game within everyone's reach. Chemin is a violent and "elite" game.
Punto Banco can be played on different types of tables:
Mini Punto Banco: usually offers no more than 7 gaming places and the cards are drawn by the croupier.
Classic Punto Banco: the player who made the highest bet (or in case of equal sums, the one sitting in the lowest numbered seat) receives the cards face down and looks at them himself. The limits are generally higher.