How to play Baccarat Punto Banco
In its Chemin de fer and Banque forms, Baccarat is a game widely considered aristocratic, one that high rollers backed by fortunes play for bets of thousands at a time. In fact, in many casinos, the game attracts such an exclusively wealthy demographic that it is normally played in its own private room. The game was first brought into mainstream pop culture by the James Bond novels.
In a nice, approachable juxtaposition, Baccarat Punto Banco is just about as accessible as a card game gets, where players do not have to rely on the strategy of the game, but instead simply bet on the outcome. You can find this version across the world in land-based casinos, especially in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, and it takes out all the pressure of actually learning how to play.
The hand values are determined by a method unique to Baccarat despite its similarity to Blackjack. The game pits the Banco, or the Banker, against the Punto, or the Player. Each are dealt two cards, and the game either ends there or moves forward based on perfected mathematically odds. Number cards 2-9 are worth their face value, 10-King are worth zero, and Aces are worth one. The score of each hand is determined by the right number of the card values being added together. For example, a hand with a King and a 4-card is worth 4, but a hand with two sevens is worth 4, not fourteen, because the hand value is the digit on the right. This makes strategy for building the strongest hand a little more involved than Blackjack, but the strategy doesn’t matter, since the game plays automatically.
How to Play
Punto Banco is an observation game, wherein players simply bet whether the Banco hand or the Punto hand are going to win. The betting areas are clearly marked, and both result in a double or nothing, 1 to 1 payout. Betting on the Punto has a relatively low house edge similar to that in Blackjack, and betting on the Banco gives an edge to the player. Because of this, if you win the Banco bet, you have to pay the house a small 5% commission. Which of the two you bet on is up to the player, and you can even bet on both at the same or different amounts, because you can also bet on a tie. Tie bets, because of their lower likelihood, payout better, and if the game ends in a tie, it’s a push, and the player receives their Banco and Punto bets back.
One of the most common strategies is to place a larger bet on the Banco or the Punto and a smaller bet on the tie as an insurance bet and for the chance that it will result in that 8 to 1 payout. Despite the fact that you have to pay out a commission, the Banco bet is mathematically guaranteed to eventually win out more than the Punto bet.
Players also utilize the Progressive Betting system, the most common of which is the Martingale System or a variation of the Martingale. Progressive Betting systems involve increasing or decreasing your bet based on whether you win or lose, so that you are either only betting with money you won, or recuperating all your losses when you win. Be careful with the Progressive Betting though, because it could potentially require a large bankroll, and be sure to look at all the betting strategies before implementing one to find one that might be right for you.
The best strategy, bar none, is simply knowing how to play, because Baccarat Punto Banco is based purely on luck.
Baccarat Punto Banco combines the classic setup and unique rules of the Banque and Chemin de fer variations and gives it a much more laid back, casual feel that appeals to players who have little interest in dealing with the complications and etiquettes that come with the other two. Whether brand-new or a veteran, online is a great place to give it a go, and many casinos even give you the opportunity to try it out for free.