Punto Banco, otherwise referred to as Baccarat, is an age-old gambling game that dates back to the 15th century. To illustrate the popularity of the Punto Banco card game, it was estimated that throughout the course of 2014, more than 91% of all gambling revenues in Macau were attributable to the game. In a nutshell, the Punto Banco card game is a face-off between the Punto (Player) and the Banco (Banker).
Punto Banco Card Game Overview
The overarching objective is to score the highest card total, with potential numbers ranging from 0 to 9. As such, 9 is the strongest hand that you can get. Before delving in to the basics, it is important to note that Punto Banco is a forced casino game. In other words, there is no Punto Banco strategy, as the cards are dealt based on the current total that either the player or banker holds.
Therefore, with no Punto Banco strategy in place, the game is based on sheer luck. Before you begin your Punto Banco journey, it is important to first make sure that you have a good understanding of the rules. In the next section, we’ll cover the basics.
How to play: Is there are Punto Banco strategy?
Before getting started, it is important to recognise that you have the option to bet on the player (you) or the banker (the dealer). There is an ultra-thin margin between the house-edge of the player and banker, so essentially, it is a pure guess. Moreover, no matter which option you go for, winning selections are paid at a fixed rate of Even money.
Once again, this means that there is no Punto Banco strategy. When you play Punto Banco at a land-based casino, you can normally place a minimum bet of £5. However, when playing at an online platform, this is usually reduced to a few pence when playing the game in software format. Moreover, you also have the option of playing the Punto Banco card game in live dealer mode. Once you have determined your stake size, alongside whether you want to back the player or the banker, the dealer begins to deal the cards.
No matter which format you are playing, the player will always have their cards dealt first. In total, the player will receive two face up cards, which need to be tallied up to get the total score. Before moving on, it is important to clarify the value of each card, as they are somewhat unique to the game.
Punto Banco card game range
Firstly, cards ranging from 2-9 are represented by their own value. Ace cards are simply 1, meaning that unlike blackjack, they cannot be taken as an 11. Finally, all 10-value cards, which includes the Jacks, Queens and Kings, have a value of 0.
For example, if your opening two cards consisted of a 4 and a 5, then you would have a total of 9, which is the best score you can get.
Alternatively, if your first two cards consisted of an 8 and a Jack, then your total would be 8, as the Jack has a value of 0. As we mentioned earlier, Punto Banco only has a value range from 0-9. What this means is that should your total exceed 9, then it reverts back to 0.
For example, if your opening hand was a 9 and a 4, then your total score would be a 3, as you have to take in to account the 0.
The third card
Moving on, the player’s hand does not automatically end once the initial two cards have been dealt, as there is the potential for a third card. Take note, if the player gets an initial combined total of 6, 7, 8 or 9, then a third card is not dealt. As a result, the player’s score remains in place and the game moves on to the banker.
However, if the player has a score of less than 6, then the third card is dealt. Once it is, the player’s turn ends and no more cards are dealt. Therefore, the player has no say in the distribution of cards and thus, they cannot utilize a Punto Banco strategy.
Now that the player has taken their turn, it is now over to the banker. Much like in the case of the player, the banker will deal themselves two face up cards. Once again, depending on what score total the banker gets, a third card might be dealt. However, the underlying rules are slightly different in comparison to the player, which at times seem a bit confusing.
Firstly, if the two face up cards amounts to a total value of 7, 8 or 9, then the banker will not receive a third card. If this is the case, then the total is compared with that of the player.
Alternatively, if the banker has a total card value of 0, 1, 2 or 3, then the dealer will distribute a third card.
Next, if the banker has a total card value of 4, and the player has a total value of 2-7, then the banker will take another card. If the banker has a total of 5 and the player has a total of 4-7, then a card is also taken. Finally, if the banker has a 6, and the player has a total value of 6 or 7, then the banker takes a third card.
Punto Banco outcome
Now that both the player and banker have finished their turn, it is now time to tally the two totals up. Essentially, the winner is determined by the higher score. If you backed the winning player/banker, then you are paid out at Even money. For example, if you staked £10, then you would receive £20 back.
Moreover, if the player and the banker get the same score, then you receive your stake back as it is classed as a ‘Push’.
Ultimately, as the player cannot control whether or not the third card is dealt, there is no Punto Banco strategy. As such, it is purely a game of chance.
Punto Banco card game summary
Punto Banco is a fun, fast are highly popular casino game that dates all the way back to the 15th century. Not only does the game offer one of the best house-edges in the industry, but you also have the choice of backing the player, or the banker.
Whilst at times the rules might seem complex, especially regarding the banker’s third card system, there is no need to worry, as the dealer automates each and every hand. Moreover, it is likely that you will pick up the third card system along the way.
Due to the nature of the ‘Force Rule’, there is no Punto Banco strategy. As a result, if you prefer casino games that allow you to control the hand, then you might be better off playing blackjack or video poker. Nevertheless, if you do like the sounds of what the game offers, then you can play it in both software and live dealer form at the vast majority of leading online casinos.