Punto Banco is a baccarat variation that is widely played in the United States. It was originally developed in Argentina in the 1950s and spread throughout the world soon after. Nowadays, you can play Punto Banco at many casinos worldwide and even online for real money.
Punto Banco is known to be one of the easier variations of baccarat to learn. Unlike in Chemin de Fer, where you can play against other players, you only play against the dealer in Punto Banco. This makes it easier to determine which hand wins.
The main aim of Punto Banco is to guess whether the banker (the dealer) or the player has a hand closer to a score of nine. You aren’t playing to beat anyone, which indicates that it is solely based on luck.
Punto Banco is a lot to play and offers great returns if you use a good betting strategy. If you would like to find out more about the game, read on below. In our dedicated game guide, we explain all you need to know about how this game works. We also provide a list of online casinos with a load of baccarat games, including Punto Banco. So, scroll on to begin today!
As explained above, in Punto Banco, you play against the dealer and not other players. The main aim of the game is to guess who has a hand closest to nine. You can bet on either yourself, the dealer, or a tie, meaning that you aren’t always trying to get a better hand than the dealer.
How Hand Values Work
The game is played with a standard 52-card deck and an 8-deck shoe. Hand values sometimes confuse newer players, but it’s fairly straightforward:
Aces are worth one point.
Card with a number (2-9) retains its face value.
Tens and face cards are worth zero points.
Initially, players are dealt two cards, but you can get a third card depending on your hand’s score. In baccarat, your hand score cannot exceed 9. So, if you get a score that exceeds 9 (i.e., 10 to 18), the second number becomes a score.
For example, if you are dealt two 9s, your score is eight because 9 + 9 = 18, and the second number is 8.
Punto Banco is a casino game with one of the lowest house edges. Here are the percentages on all of the most popular bets:
Player bets – 1.24%
Banker bets – 1.06%
Tie bets – 14.44%
Punto Banco: Step-By-Step Walkthrough
Here is a simple walkthrough of an average Punto Banco game:
At the start of a round, you will place need to place a bet. You can either bet on yourself, the banker, or a tie.
The banker will then deal one card to you and one to themselves and repeat the process for the second card.
You and/or the banker could qualify to get a third card depending on the score of your hands. (The rules detailing when a third card is dealt are explained below the walkthrough.)
When you and the banker have both received all your cards, your scores will be tallied, and correct bets will be paid out.
Rules for Getting a Third Card
Before we get into when you get a third card, we must state the following rules about hand scores:
If either the player or the banker is dealt a natural (a score of 8 or 9) with their first two cards, their hand wins.
The banker must always stand on 7.
You get a third card if:
If you have a hand value of 0-5.
The banker gets a third card if:
The banker’s hand value is between 0 and 3.
The banker’s hand is 4, but yours is between 2 and 7.
You have drawn a third card and have a score of 6 or 7, but the banker has a score of 6.
Punto Banco Strategy
There are two popular Punto Banco strategies:
Focus on Banker Bets
The banker has a higher chance of winning hand due to the in-baked house edge in casino games. Naturally, the banker is going to win more hands. As such, you have to pay a commission on each banker bet you win.
Look for Patterns
Sometimes (but not always), hands work in patterns. So, the banker will win a long string of rounds, and then suddenly, the player will win a round. Usually, it is recommended that you switch to betting on the player for a few rounds in such situations.
Statistically, it has been shown that players may win a string of rounds following a long banker streak. As already stated, this is not guaranteed, though.