How to Play Punto Banco


How to Play Punto Banco

Punto Banco is closely related to the more famous game of Baccarat, which also has a more complicated cousin named chemin de fer. Unlike these, Punto Banco has very rigid guidelines as to the draw of the cards, eliminating the possibility of a dealer having the option of drawing or sticking on any one hand. The principle of each is the same, however. Two hands of card are dealt (the Player, or Punto, and the Bank, or Banco, from which the game draws its name), and players seated at the table may bet on which is likely to win the round. A third option, that of Egalite, is also given: tennis fans will recognize the word for “draw”, an uncommon enough occurrence, but one on which winnings can still be collected.

Baccarat Basics

Punto Banco can be played on one of two styles of table: either the simple blackjack table, with a single dealer, or the larger kidney-shaped table, which can accommodate 12 punters and three dealers: while the punters are each given the chance to deal cards from the shoe, the casino dealers will arrange these, call the scores, and determine when a third card can be drawn by each hand.

The aim of each hand of two cards is to achieve a score as close to 9 as possible. The cards are added, and in the case of double digit sums, the first is simply discarded: thus cards of 8 and 7, when added together, might give a score of 5, and the player would draw a third card. Any score of 8 or 9 is a Natural, and unless matched by the Bank, the Player will win this round. There are a number of variations on which each side may draw a third card: those of the Bank are more complex than those for the Player, resulting in slightly greater profit for the house and punters in playing as the bank. Payouts are always at odds of 1 to 1, although there is a 5 percent surcharge on winnings for the Bank. While a draw is far less common, betting on this does offer odds of 8 to 1, although the house still profits on these odds.

Drawing a 3rd Card

It is not entirely necessary to know when each hand is allowed to draw a third card, since these rules are fixed in Punto Banco, and do not ultimately affect the odds, from hand to hand, but it is worth knowing these out of interest. Each table should display the statistics of each side’s winning, which again gives little information as to any trends in play, as well as the minimum and maximum bets permissible.

Play Punto Banco Online

What this means is that Punto Banco provides a great sense of spectacle and theatre to punters: bets are placed, and cards are called and dealt. All you need to do is enjoy it, collect your winnings, or trust to chance on the next hand.