The objective of the game is to reach a point total of eight or nine before the banker (banco). When playing, you’ll be referred to as “punto” (player), and your bets are placed in that section.
When you start the game, you’ll need to place a bet on the banco, the punto, or an Egalite (tie). While tie bets aren’t recommended by expert players, they pay out the most.
Play by the Rules
A punto banco game has similar rules to classic baccarat, which is great news if you’re already familiar with that version. Traditionally, it’s played with eight decks of cards, and the hand values are calculated similarly to classic baccarat.
For example, you have an eight and a six, which gives you a total of 14, but you’ll take ten off. So, your final point total will be four (8+6=14-10=4).
During gameplay, you’ll also have to follow the rules about your next move when you have specific totals.
How to Play Punto Banco Baccarat
When you’re ready to open up a game, you can follow these rules/steps:
Place your initial bet and any side wagers on the table (within the table limits).
Then, your first two cards are dealt by the dealer, who also receives two cards.
If you get a natural nine, or the banco does, the game will end, and you’ll lose your bet.
If no one gets a total of nine, you can ask for another card, at which point these rules apply:
0-5: draw another card
6/7: you have to stand
If the banco’s hand total is:
0-3: they draw a third card regardless of the punto hand
4: they draw if the player hand has 2-7
5: they draw if the player has 4-7
6: they can draw only if you have 6/7 and drawn a third card to make up a three-card hand
7: the banker’s hand has to stand
8/9: the player and banker stand
Payouts & Odds
Winning bets at a punto banco have some of the lowest odds in baccarat, though the 5% commission still stands on banco bets. These are the standard wagers you can place, with the typical payouts for eight decks of cards:
If Banco wins
0.95 to 1
If Punto wins
1 to 1
If ties (8-to-1 payout)
8 to 1
If ties (9-to-1 payout)
9 to 1
Punto Banco Baccarat Strategy
There are hundreds of casino game strategies out there, including systems for punto banco. But any tactic claiming constant wins is lying, so take it with a grain of salt. From high rollers to budget players, the experts recommend keeping things simple, like this:
Spot patterns in the game so you can hedge your side bets on things like red/black.
But keep in mind that every game played is unique, and the outcome is never influenced by previous hands.
If you’re at a live casino, ignore the other players’ hands and bets, it won’t impact yours.
Try a betting system like the Martingale, Paroli, or James Bond if you’re feeling lucky.
Playing Punto Banco Baccarat
If you’re not comfortable with the rules of the game yet, you can try it for free at most Internet casinos. While it’s not as exciting, it’s less costly to make mistakes while you’re learning.
Once you have everything in order, you can switch over to real money games.