Punto Banco: Exciting Baccarat Variation

Punto Banco is a very popular variation of baccarat, an iconic card game that owns the hearts of millions of casino enthusiasts. Punto Banco is adored by gamblers worldwide and played at online and land-based casinos all over the globe. If you’re curious to learn how to play Punto Banco, go ahead and check out this guide. Together, we’ll look at Punto Banco rules, history, tips, and tricks. Let’s get started!

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About the Punto Banco game

Along with Chemin de Fer, Punto Banco is a world-known baccarat variation. Invented in Italy many centuries ago, baccarat gained a wild popularity on the European continent before conquering the United States. As for baccarat Punto Banco, it’s not exactly a newcomer in the gambling market. It dates back to the first half of the 20th century. The game is believed to have been invented in Argentina. In the 1950s, the Punto Banco card game became popular in America, taking the US gambling market by storm. Gamers got an instant liking to this simple yet rewarding game. Indeed, Punto Banco boasts simple rules and engaging gameplay.

punto banco

You might be wondering what the words “Punto” and “Banco” mean. Well, it's very simple! Since the game originated in Argentina, it’s only logical that it has a Spanish name. The word “punto” stands for a player, while the word “banco” means “bank”, i.e. the casino represented by the dealer. Like in blackjack, in baccarat Punto Banco players bet not against each other but against the dealer.

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of how to play the Punto Banco card game, let’s clarify the goal of the game. The player must aim to collect a hand of 9 (or as close to 9 as possible) before going bust or before the dealer reaches 9.

Punto Banco rules

Playing the Punto Banco game is not challenging at all. Even if you have never played classic baccarat online before, you won’t have the slightest difficulty mastering Punto Banco rules on your own! Let’s see how to play Punto Banco step by step.

  • The game is played with six to eight decks, 52 cards each. The dealer shuffles the cards before each round of the game.
  • If you take a look at a Punto Banco table, you’ll see that it has two dedicated areas for Punto and Banco bets. Also, you can see a box for Egalite (Tie) bets. Before the live dealer baccarat deals cards, the player must place their bet. A player has three betting options. They can wager on Punto, Banco or Egalite (Tie). Keep in mind that you can’t change your bet after the cards have been dealt. It’s worth nothing that you can also wager on the so-called Individual Egalites. Be advised that you can't place this wager alone. It must always be paired with a Punto/ Banco bet.
  • Once the bets have been made, the dealer deals 2 cards to the player and two cards to themselves. The cards are placed face up on the table.
  • As the next step, the player and the banker evaluate their respective hands. Let’s see how much each card is worth. King, Queen, Jack and 10 are counted as 0 points each. Ace is worth 1 point. Cards 2 through 9 are worth their respective numerical value. Depending on their total, the player and the banker can take additional cards. The rules for drawing extra cards vary for the player and the banker.
  • If the player’s hand totals 0 to 5, the player must draw an additional card. If the total is 6 or 7, the player must stand. If the player has a Natural (8 or 9), they win. The total of 8 is called a small Natural, while the total of 9 is called a big Natural. Keep in mind that if your hand total is more than 9, you must only take in consideration the last digit. That will be your total.
  • As for the banker, there are more rules in place because the banker’s move depends not only on their hand total but also on the player’s hand total. If the banker's total is 0 to 3, they must draw a third card regardless of what hand the player has. If the banker has a 4, they must only draw an additional card if the player’s total is 2 to 7. If the banker has a total of 5, they must take an extra card if the player’s total is a 4 to 7. If the banker has a 6 and the player has a 6 or 7, the banker is only allowed to draw a third card if the player has already drawn their third card. If the banker has a 7, they’re not allowed to take another card, i.e. they must stand. If the banker has an 8 or 9, they must also stand.
  • After the player and the banker have drawn (or not drawn) their additional cards, their hands are compared against each other and the winner is announced. The hand that equals 9 or comes nearest to 9 wins the game. If the hand values end up being the same, it’s a Tie. In case of a Tie, the player only gets paid if they wagered on Egalite. But what if you wagered on Punto or Banco? Well, in this case you can choose between two options. You can either claim your bet back, or let it stay in the game for the next round.

punto banco rules

Punto Banco payouts

Now let’s address the most exciting part and see how much Punto Banco bets pay.

  • If you bet on Punto and the player’s hand wins, you get paid 1 to 1 (even money).
  • If you bet on Banco and the dealer’s hand wins, you get paid 19 to 20 (or 1 to 0.95). Keep in mind that the casino charges a 5% commission on your Banco bet winnings.
  • If you bet on Egalite and the game ends in a tie, you get a whopping 8 to 1 payout.
  • Payouts on Individual Egalite bets vary from 45:1 to 225:1.

Keep in mind that Punto Banco payouts may vary depending on the software manufacturer. For example, if you choose to play Punto Banco from the world-famous NetEnt, you can count on a 9 to 1 payout on your Egalite bet. As for betting limits, they also vary between games by different software providers. But don’t worry! The minimum bet in Punto Banco usually starts at as low as $1. So even if you’re on a tight-string budget, you’ll be able to enjoy the game for a really long time!

Also, you have an amazing opportunity to play Punto Banco with live dealers. This is the best option one can think of. Choose a table with a comfortable betting range and off you go! Feel the vibes of a land-based casino, communicate with other players and the dealer, and enjoy a crispy HD stream on your desktop or mobile!

Wrapping up

If you’re a hardcore fan of card games and baccarat in particular, you're sure to enjoy Punto Banco! Classic baccarat, Punto Banco and Chemin de Fer are all super exciting casino games that are easy to play. And if you’re lucky, you stand a chance of locking in a nice profit! Unlike baccarat or poker, Punto Banco doesn’t require any skills or strategy. There is no way of predicting whose hand is going to win. It’s a fine example of a guessing game. Total unpredictability is what makes Punto Banco so exciting to play. Be sure to explore the Punto Banco game at a legal online casino of your choice!