Punto Banco is a casino game that grew out of Baccarat in Latin America. Punto Banco has no history of being a home game; it has always been a game strongly associated with casinos.
If you are already familiar with Baccarat, you will find it very easy to learn Punto Banco because the two games are very similar. They do for example use exactly the same card value system and they both calculate hand value in the same way.
During a game of Punto Banco, the dealer will deal two hands on the table: the Punto hand and the Banco hand. Before this takes place, you get to make your bet. Do you think Punto will get the best hand, or Banco? Or do you think there will be a tie (Egalité)? As you can see, you have three different betting options: Punto, Banco and Egalité.
If you bet on Punto and Punto’s hand wins, you are paid 1:1 on your wager. If you bet on Banco and Banco’s hand wins, you are paid 19:20 on your wager. If you bet on Egalité and there is a tie between the Punto hand and the Banco hand, you are paid 8:1.
As a player, you don’t get to make any decisions about the hands during a game of Punto Banco. It is not like Blackjack, where players have their own hands and get to make decisions about them. In Punto Banco, the hands are dealt according to strict rules. Each hand gets a minimum of two cards, and a third card is only dealt to a hand in cases where certain requirements are fulfilled, as outlined by the rules.
Card values in Punto Banco
- Ace 1 point
- King 0 points
- Queen 0 points
- Jack 0 points
- Ten 0 points
- 9 9 points
- 8 8 points
- 7 7 points
- 6 6 points
- 5 5 points
- 4 4 points
- 3 3 points
- 2 2 points
- Ace 1 point
The suits and colors are of no importance in Punto Banco.
Hand values in Punto Banco
You calculate the value of a hand by adding the card values together. If the sum exceeds nine points, the rightmost digit determines the final value of the hand.
Example #1: Punto’s hand consists of a three and a six. 3 points + 6 points = 9 points. This hand is worth 9 points.
Example #2: Punto’s hand consists of a three and a nine. 3 points + 9 points = 12 points. The rightmost digit is 2. This hand is worth 2 points.
Which hand is the best?
The best hand in Punto Banco is a 9 point hand. The closer a hand is to 9 points, the better the hand. So, if Punto’s hand is seven points and Banco’s hand is eight points, Banco wins over Punto because eight is closer to nine than what seven is.
Dealing the cards
As mentioned above, strict rules governs the dealing of each hand in Punto Banco.
Each round starts with the dealer giving Punto two cards and Banco two cards. All cards are dealt face-up.
- If Punto’s two-card hand is worth 0-5 points, Punto gets a third card.
- The rules for determining if Banco gets a third card or not are more complex, since they are based on the value of both hands.
|If Banco’s two-card hand is worth||…then Banco gets a third card if Punto’s hand is worth:|
|0 points||0-9 points|
|1 point||0-9 points|
|2 points||0-9 points|
|3 points||0-9 points|
|4 points||2-7 points|
|5 points||4-7 points|
|6 points||6-7 points, but only if Punto’s hand is a three card hand. If Punto’s hand is just two cards, Banco gets no third card.|
|7 points||Banco never gets third a card when Punto’s hand is worth 7 points|
|8 points||Banco never gets third a card when Punto’s hand is worth 8 points|
|9 points||Banco never gets third a card when Punto’s hand is worth 9 points|