Baccarat is one of the most popular table games both at brick-and-mortar and online casinos. It is not really difficult to see why it has attracted a massive community of devoted players from all parts of the world.
Out of all main baccarat variations, it can be said that there is one that shines brighter than the rest. It's called Punto Banco and it is hugely popular at some of the world's largest casino hubs, including Macau, Las Vegas, and the UK.
What is Punto Banco Baccarat
Punto Banco is one of the easiest casino card games, even easier than classic baccarat variations. As mentioned earlier, it is a game of chance where players simply have to predict an outcome.
Punto Banco is a baccarat version that's been played for decades at land-based casinos in the USA, UK, and Australia, and is a popular live dealer game online today. Originally developed in Argentinian casinos, the game was introduced in the USA in the 1950s, changing the world of gambling forever. It's still a player favorite today, offered in exclusive VIP casino halls and a linchpin in the US gambling market. Many baccarat games online are called Punto Banco and follow its gameplay.
Punto Banco Rules & How to Play Punto Banco
Punto Banco is played with 6 or 8 decks of cards that are shuffled together. Before a new coup (round) of Punto Banco kicks off, the dealer will burn or remove the first card from the shoe face up. The dealer will then burn as many cards as the value of that first card. This is done so that card counting is prevented.
In Punto Banco, the number cards 2-9 are scored at their face value, tens and picture cards are scored as zero, and aces are scored as 1.
As mentioned above, a winning hand in the game is the one closest to nine. If the sum of the cards dealt within a hand exceeds 10 points, the tens are not counted. In other words, if a hand has an 8 and an 8, totaling 16, then it counts as 6.
At the start of each hand, players are asked to place their bets on either the Player's or the Bank's hand. Or if they think both hands will have the same total, they should place their bet in the égalité box.
Two hands comprising two cards are dealt to the Player and the Bank. The values of the two cards in each hand are added together. If the Player or the Bank, or both, achieve a total of 8 or 9, the hand is over and the result is announced. This is known as a natural win.
However, if neither the Player, nor the Bank has achieved a total of 8 or 9, the game continues and the sides can be dealt an additional third card. An additional third card is dealt under the following rules:
- 0 to 5 score – the Player is dealt a third card automatically
- 6 or 7 score – the Player stands
- 8 or 9 score – the Player stands and the round is finished
|Player having a two card total of:||Third Card Determination|
|0,1,2,3,4,5||Player dealt a third card unless Bank has 8 or 9 (natural)|
|6 – 7||Player Stands|
|8 –9||Stands – no third card dealt to either hand|
The Bank gets a third card:
- If the Bank's total is 0,1, or 2, regardless of the Player's total from three cards
- If the Bank's total is 3 and the Player's total is less than 8
- If the Bank's total is 4 and the Player's total is 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7
- If the Bank's total is 5 and the Player's total is 4, 5, 6, or 7
- If the Bank's total is 6 and the Player's total is 6 or 7
|Player having a two card total of:||Third Card Determination|
|0,1,2||Bank dealt a third card unless Punto has 8 or 9 (natural)|
|3||Bank dealt a third card unless Punto third card is an 8|
|4||Bank dealt a third card unless Punto third card is 0,1,8 or 9|
|5||Bank dealt a third card unless Punto third card is 0,1,2,3,8 or 9|
|6||Bank stands unless Punto third card is a 6 or 7|
|8 or 9||Bank stands – no third card dealt to either hand|
The Bank stands
- If the Bank's total is 6 and the Player's total is 6 or 7 from two cards
- If the Bank's total is 7, 8, or 9
Once the dealing and drawing of cards is over, the hand closest to nine is announced as the winning one and the house pays out all winning bets. If the Player's and the Bank's hands are even, the house pays out all égalité bets.
In case of a tie, all losing bets on the Player and the Bank remain active for the next coup.
Punto Banco Odds
There are three types of payouts in Punto Banco depending on the winning hand and whether there's a tie. Even money, or 1:1, are paid out on Player bets. Winning Bank bets are paid out at even money minus a 5% house commission, which results in a payout of 0.95:1.
Winning égalité bets are paid out at 8:1, which makes them particularly attractive, even though the chance of a tie is minuscule compared to the other two options.
Even though it can be said that Punto Banco is an even-money game, it still has a house edge due to its drawing rules. Bank bets have a house edge of around 1.17%, Player bets have a house edge of 1.36%, and égalité bets have a house edge of 14%.
Punto Banco Strategy & Tips
Some players believe that the principles of the Martingale system can be applied to the game of Punto Banco, using a 1-3-2-4 or 1-3-2-6 sequence of bets. According to this strategy, players should increase their bet every time they lose.
And increasing the bet should cover the losses when players eventually win. However, a losing streak can last for a while and if a player continues to raise their stake, they risk emptying their bankroll or reach the table limit before the Martingale strategy finally pays out.
Once you understand the basics, establishing your own strategy will make the game quite easy and enjoyable, and in no time winning will be a routine. The basics of this game are that you are required to score as close as possible to the number 9. You have three options to bid on; the banker, the player or tie. Let's have a look at some of the strategies you can employ to ensure a win.
- In order to win, you must understand the way the game works. Most players are against betting on the banker because they view it as betting against themselves. However, you should remember that in Punto Banco, the winner is the person who bets on the winning hand and not the one who plays.
- It is often better to bet on either the player or the banker. In most cases the odds are always in favour of the two, considering that they provide even odds. Betting on a tie rarely yields a win. The most common winner is the banker because of the third card rule.
- Spot a pattern. Spotting a pattern is often helpful in learning your opponent's strategy. This will make it easier for you to effectively implement your winning strategy. You may observe and record the winnings and losses of opponents with a hope of spotting a pattern. You can then adjust your strategy to combat your opponents appropriately.
- It is important to note that no hand is a winning or a losing in this game. This ensures that the game retains a bit of suspense and makes it all the more enjoyable.
- Bet on the hand that previously won. Streaks are a common occurrence in Punto Banco, and this strategy may increase your chances of a win.
- Use the evens chance gambling system to raise your stakes. This system involves betting your winnings in a 1-3-2-4 series. In this system, bet 1 is 1 unit, 2 is 3 units, bet 3 is 2 units and bet 4 is 4 units. If you lose, revert back to bet 1. The advantage of this system is that you risk a low number of units with a chance of winning a higher number.
- You can reduce the house advantage by looking for games with smaller vigorish (casino's commission). This will increase our earnings when you bet on the banker.
- Bet the Banker – As with most other types of Baccarat, the Banker bet in Punto Banco Baccarat is the best one in terms of the house edge, even with the commission factored in. Therefore, the majority of your bets should be on this, some players always bet the Banker until it loses, wait for 1 round and then start again hoping for a winning streak.
- Avoid the Tie – Although the Tie offers the best odds by far, this bet also has the highest house edge and should be avoided at all costs – in the long run, you will lose more than if you bet on the Banker and/or Player.
- Control you bankroll – As in any game at a casino, when you start a session of Punto Banco Baccarat, ensure you have a bankroll that will last at least 40 or so hands to ensure you maximize your chances of winning the session and enjoying it at the same time.
Using Punto banco strategy will make the game more fun and help you win. It is easy to learn as long as you are interested. You can increase excitement by playing the game using betting systems. You can also take advantage of any available bonuses to enhance your playing experience. The more you play, the more you become an expert. This is the main way to increase your chances of winning.
Live dealer Punto Banco games can't be played in demo mode, so real money accounts are required to access these live dealer suites. You can also play mobile baccarat games, including Punto Banco on your smartphone and tablets.