Punto Banco is a somewhat elegant variant of the ever popular game of Baccarat. The main difference and key thing to remember when learning how to play Punto Banco, is that the game is left more to chance with players only having to choose which bet to make and every other aspect of the game is determined by the rules.
Punto Banco was said to have been introduced into America as early as the 1940s, and has since gained great levels of popularity for high rollers. This game as well as instructions on how to play Punto Banco are now available online.
When learning how to play Punto Banco it is important to understand the object of the game, with up to 14 players at a Punto Banco table and each deal only involving two hands, namely the Punto (player) and the Banco (bank).
Some casinos will host a number of tables that look a lot like the blackjack table which will only host a single dealer who will handle everything, while other casinos provide 3 dealers to overlook the game and players will take turns to deal the cards. Regardless, there will always only be two hands dealt, Punto and Banco.
How to Play Punto Banco
In Punto Banco, players place their bet, which is either Punto, Banco or tie, before the deal and the goal here is to obtain a point count of 9 or as close to 9 as possible. First, 2 cards will be dealt face down for Punto as well as Banco and the Punto cards are then revealed. Here, Ace is 1 point, 2-9 are given points at face value and cards 10 to King are worth 10 points. If the sum of the cards exceeds the number 10, only the last digit of the hand will be used.
Thus, receiving a picture card and a 9 is in fact the highest possible hand, however two picture cards would give a point count of 0, making it a very poor hand in this particular game. Whilst learning how to play Punto Banco it is important to become familiar with the terminology, such as the word natural which refers to a point count of 9 as well as 8.
The Third Card Rule
Most players will learn how to play Punto Banco with the 3rd card rule included. This rule applies when both Punto and Banco don’t receive a natural. In this case, Punto will be handled first whereby if they have a total point count of 7 or 6 they need to stand and if they have one of 0 to 5 they need to draw a card. Here there is no option for the Punto player and they must play according to the rules.
While Banco’s actions are also forced by the game’s rules, their actions are a lot more complex when it comes to the 3rd card rule. Banco’s actions are determined by both Banco’s hand and Punto’s 3rd card, meaning that Banco must stand when Punto’s 3rd card is an 8, and their hand is a 3 and much more. Thus, according to these predetermined rules, if Banco’s hand stands at a point count of 6 and Punto’s 3rd card is a 6 or 7 then Banco must draw another card, and so on.