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Punto Banco is one of the simplest casino games to play and it’s those easy game rules that help to attract a large following of fans. Punto, which means player, and Banco, which means banker, is actually a close relative to Baccarat. However, the game strips away a lot of the Baccarat rules and then leaves you with a much quicker format. The low casino house edge and simple player vs banker gameplay make this a perfect option for any level of player. Punto Banco has been linked to being a “high roller” game in the past, but we can assure you that this is a game that anyone can play. Read on as we guide you through how to play Punto Banco, explain the payouts, and then offer a few expert tips to get you off to a confident start.
What is Punto Banco and how is it different?
Punto Banco is a simplified version of Baccarat and apart from one or two rules being removed the overall objective remains the same. Therefore, given the fact that Baccarat is a fairly simple game in itself proves just how easy a game Punto Banco actually is. The central difference between this game and its close relative Baccarat is that there are clear and established rules that must be played through in each round, and there are also no optional plays available either.
It means that in Punto Banco all the moves by the player and the banker are dictated by the player’s cards, as opposed to the various choices given to players in the main Baccarat game. In summary, you bet on an outcome and then the game round plays out with a predefined set of rules. This is exactly why Punto Banco has become the preferred option in many casinos. You bet on one of three options which are the Player, the Banker, or the Tie (known as egalité), and then you sit back and wait for the outcome to see if you have won or not.
How to play – Punto Banco rules
The objective of the game is to bet on who you think will get closest to 9 with the cards they hold, either Punto “player” or Banco “banker”. There is also the Tie bet. We will explain later why you should always stay clear of the Tie bet if you want the best chances of winning. Once you have decided on your choice then you can place your bet money on the selection and hit “Deal” to start the game.
Both the player and the banker will receive two cards and from here on in the game rules of Punto Banco will take over. The objective is to get as close to 9 as possible. You do this by adding together the value of your two cards. Punto Banco only plays to single figure numbers. So the value of the cards are worked out as follows: Aces equal one point, two to nine equal their face value, and 10 to King are all counted as zero. For example, if you had two cards showing two 8’s then this would total 16. You would then take the value of the second digit to give you a Punto Banco score of 6. If you held an 8 and a Q then you would still have a score of 8 to play with because Queens equal zero.
If the player or banker lands a 9 from their first two cards then this is known as a “natural” and they instantly win. If there is no natural outcome then the game rules play out with various situations known as the “Tableau”, and this indicates whether the player and/or the banker stands or takes further additional cards. Here are all the possible outcomes from the Tableau:
- Player draws a 2 or 3, banker will draw with 4 or less.
- Player draws a 4 or 5, banker will draw with 5 or less.
- Player draws a 6 or 7, banker will draw with 6 or less.
- Player gets an 8, banker draws with 2 or less.
- Player gets a 0, 1 or 9, banco draws with 3 or less.
The two main bets in Punto Banco are returned as even money. Keep in mind that a 5% commission is deducted from the Banco/Banker bets and so this will always slightly reduce your overall profit. In other words, the player bet offers a 1:1 payout. The banker bet offers a slightly smaller 0.95:1 payout. Then, the tie bet offers you an increased payout of 8:1. As we will later conclude in the house edge section, the tie bet is really not worth putting your money on if you are looking to play sensibly.
Here are some in-game situations to help you understand the payouts better. If you placed a winning €10 bet on the player then you would receive €20 back in total with your stake and winnings. A winning €10 bet on the banker would return €19.50 in total, and a bet on the tie selection would return €90 in total with your stake and winnings combined.
Punto Banco strategies and other helpful tips
Playing the game is a simple process. Due to the automated rules, there is very little room to implement a Punto Banco strategy or ways to increase your chances of winning. However, we do have some free Punto Banco online tips that you should try and follow if you want to enjoy more of your sessions.
GoodLuckMate’s best tips for playing Punto Banco are:
- The Banker bet offers slightly better chances of winning with its 1.06% house edge.
- Leave the Tie bet alone and don’t get tempted by the larger payouts.
- If you are in profit, then take a rest and play again another time or on another day.
- Bet consistently and do not change your amounts to win back losses.
House edge – what are your chances of winning?
The house edge on the Player and Banker bets are set at 1.06% for the banker and 1.24% for the player. These are some of the lowest house edges in the casino and it is a huge reason why many players love to play the game. However, we mentioned the tie bet earlier on and how you should try and stay clear of the bet. The reason behind this is the fact that the house edge is a huge 14.4%. Keep that in mind before you think about putting your money on that particular bet selection.
Of course, the tie bet may come in as a winner but the odds and house edge clearly suggest that either of the Player or Banker bets are the wiser options out of the three. One thing is for sure and that is the overall payouts are nice and easy to keep track of which helps to manage your bankroll during your Punto Banco session.
Play Punto Banco at online casinos
The Punto Banco game may come under various names at an online casino. Some are using the name American Baccarat and others simply using the Punto Banco name for its main Baccarat game tables. If you are searching your online casino lobby and struggle to find it then take a look at the Baccarat table and check to see which of the game rules are being used. The chances are that it will be using the Punto Banco rules as this is what players now prefer to play. Many of the casinos still offer free Punto Banco online games which may be useful to those of you who don’t want to risk their money learning the rules at the start.
Your betting options when playing the game will range from micro stakes that are likely to be around €0.10 per bet and then these can up to the high-limit stakes for the high rollers where thousands can be placed on each bet. It will be up to you to determine which table limits suit your budget but you can be sure that the best online casinos provide their players with a wide range of limits. The older RNG games are still available to play if you prefer solo gaming, but the live casino Punto Banco tables are also widely available with live dealers and real-life casino atmospheres to experience and enjoy.
Live dealer games vs RNG games
There is no right or wrong answer between live dealers and RNG games and it all comes to preference. Playing a solo RNG game of Punto Banco will give you the same payouts and game rules as playing along with live dealers in the live casino. It is the atmosphere and experience that is the major difference and we would suggest trying out both to find out which one you prefer. If you enjoy the interaction and social experience then live dealers are a great choice but if you prefer to play at your own pace then the RNG games will suit you better.
If you are new to the Punto Banco online game then we would advise playing the RNG version first. This will allow you to get to grips with the rules, which won’t take long because they are mostly automated, and then you can decide whether you want to step into the live casino for a more realistic experience. Due to the running costs of the live casinos then you will find the minimum bets are higher and so again you should keep your budget in mind when deciding between Punto Banco RNG and live dealer.
The positive to take away here is that they are both popular games and they will both be available to play at all the top casinos. Be sure to check out our casino reviews here at GoodLuckMate because we can show you where to find the best Punto Banco casino sites.