What are the rules of Punto Banco and how do you play it? The game is one of the most popular casino table games, both live and online, simply because it offers a very small house edge, giving players a high chance of doubling their money very easily. Punto Banco is very easy to play as the player just has to choose whether to bet on Punto (player) or Banco (bank).
How To Play Punto Banco?
Unlike Chemin de Fer where players bet against each other, without the casino being financially involved, Punto Banco is a game where players bet against the dealer, similar to blackjack . The name of the game accurately describes the two opposing sides: punto - meaning "player" and banco - meaning "bank". The object of the game is to reach nine or nearly nine before the opposing team does or at least get closer to 9 than the other.
Both Punto and Banco are dealt a minimum of two cards each and from there there are rules for when the dealer must draw more cards for one of the two. The winner of the hand is determined by which of the two reaches nine or the number closest to nine. There is also the possibility that a tie will be achieved, where the casino takes advantage, but the chance of a tie is very small.
In real or brick and mortar casinos, only the players at a table are allowed to place bets, while online you can already place bets when you are in a PuntoBanco game. You will then place a bet on either Punto or Banco to win the game and once all bets have been placed the game will begin. Players can also bet on a tie, but very few do, as it is a rare occurrence given that the casino uses eight decks of cards in the game.
The dealer then deals two face up cards to both the Punto and Banco sides and according to the rules will either deal another card or leave the game as is. The total value of the cards is then calculated and the side closest to nine wins and the players are paid. A very easy game to understand once you know what the card values are. In the next section we will explain how the value of each card is determined.
Let's take a look at the card values so you'll understand exactly what each card is worth when the dealer deals them to both sides:
- 10's, Jacks, Queens and Kings are worth 0 points
- 2-9 count as their natural value
- Aces are worth 1 point
Now you're probably wondering how the game can only count to nine, since both Punto and Banco are dealt two cards, which can easily yield values above nine. In the next section we will discuss the rules of the game and we promise that everything will make a little more sense to you after that.
Punto Banco Rules
The most important rule to understand at Punto Banco is that anything over nine starts again at zero. This means that if the dealer deals Punto two eights, the value will not be 16 but only six instead, and so on. With this rule in mind, there are several rules for when Punto and Banco must draw another card on the tables, which are explained below:
- 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 in value: Draw one card
- 6 and 7 in value: Don't draw any more cards and stay put
- 8 and 9 are “naturals” and always stay down
- 0, 1 and 2 is always a tie
- 3 draws if Punto has 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 9
- 4 draws if Punto has 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7
- Draw 5 times if Punto has 4, 5, 6 or 7
- 6 tied when Punto has 6 or 7
- 7 remain standing
- 8 and 9 are naturals
These are the basic rules of Punto Banco. It may take some time to fully memorize all of these, but you'll get the hang of it in time. The dealer will also always announce which move to make, so in an online live casino you can follow the action just as easily as you can online.
The payouts when playing live Punto Banco depend on which of the options you choose to place your bet on. If you place a bet on Punto to win then you will be paid even money on your bet if you win, while placing a bet on Banco will pay out 19-20 in odds meaning there is a 5% “tax” or “commission” is deducted from the winnings of winning bets placed on banco.
If you want to place a bet on a tie, you will get even higher payouts, because the probability of winning is very low. Most new casinos will write that a tie pays 9:1, which is actually 8:1 on your money. The casino house edge on tie bets is a whopping 14% compared to 1.27% on Punto or Banco, so keep this in mind if you want to place a tie bet.
Punto Banco is played at large baccarat tables with seating for up to 12 or 14 players, two dealers and a bank. Sometimes, in smaller venues or online, you can play at smaller tables, such as those used in blackjack or mini-baccarat.
There are two designated areas on the table for betting on the Punto (player) and the Banco (bank). There may also be a third box for Even bets – or Draw bets. The game is played with six or eight decks of cards shuffled by the dealer before each round. Players place their bets on the Punto, Banco, or Egalité slots.
When all bets have been placed, the player in first place (or first to the dealer's right) draws four cards and hands them to the dealer. The dealer then places them face down on the table – one card for the player, one for the bank, and then the same again – one for the player and one for the bank. In Punto Banco all dealing is handled by the casino staff unlike Chemin de Fer where the players shuffle and deal the cards.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are the PuntoBanco rules difficult to learn?
No, it might take you a while to learn them all, but they're not hard.
Is there a bet with a higher house edge at PuntoBanco?
Yes, a tie has a very high house edge and therefore it is not recommended to bet on it.
Can you give a tip to always win this game?
Unfortunately not, because it is a game of chance .
Does every online casino offer Punto Banco?
Almost every casino does indeed offer the game.
Can I practice Punto Banco for free?
Yes, this is possible with the exception of the live casino.