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What Is Punto Banco?

Round Head IconJune 30, 2024 - CasinoChick

Baccarat, like every other card game, has variations, making it hard for players to choose the best game versions. The three most popular baccarat variations are Punto Banco, Chemin de Fer, and Baccarat Banque. Punto Banco is the most similar to baccarat, and as such, is the most widespread variant in general.

With this article, we’ll show you some of the key defining traits of Punto Banco, give a few examples of the best tables you can visit, and give you a list of casinos with the best tables online.

Defining Punto Banco

What is Punto Banco? How does it compare to Baccarat?

For starters, Punto Banco is a variant of baccarat, which means it derived from the baccarat game and has slightly different rules. Luckily, the difference in rules is not big at all. In fact, most baccarat players quite enjoy the switch to the variant as it does not include any kind of special skills or anything like that.

The game’s origins are traced back to Italy, but quickly transferred to France. However, the path of evolution included influences from all parts of the world, from Italy to France, to England, then Cuba and ultimately the USA. While Chemin de Fer became the go-to option in France, Punto Banco became the world’s closest thing to modern baccarat.

Punto stands for the player, while the banco means the banker. Punto Banco was the first version to introduce the Player and Banker as two designations for the hands at the table. Unlike its previous versions, these two now had nothing to do with player-drawn hands (which was the case in earlier variants – players and the house could only refer to their respective hands, so the players could not bet on anything else except the Player hands).

In other words, Punto Banco is the first-ever baccarat variant that had the Player and Banker hands in the game as separate betting options on which all players could wager on any round.

Earlier baccarat versions were different in the regard that gamblers had limited betting options and were related to Player hands only. This game changed that, which ultimately forever changed baccarat.

Another thing that emerged with the novel variation is the tableaux, or the paytable. Casinos offering Punto Banco agreed to pay out both hands according to pre-determined, fixed drawing rules.

Key Traits

Punto Banco is a card game with a 6-8-deck shoe. The entire goal of the game is to wager on a winning hand from two possible betting options – the two hands, Player and Banker. The dealer deals two cards to each hand, and the one that has a total that is either 9 or 8, wins. The hand that is over 9 is an automatic bust.

This is a game of pure chance, and as such does not include any involvement in the game from the players (outside of placing bets, that is).

Moreover, the game has one of the lowest house edge rates in all of gambling games. The Player hand edge is 1.24%, while the Banker hand has a 1.06% house advantage. Punto Banco tables take a 5% commission on the Banker hand win, though.

Between 12 and 14 players can join a Punto Banco table in real casinos, while most online casino tables do not put restrictions to this. Moreover, in brick-and-mortar casino venues, Punto Banco tables have a dealer and a banker.

Lastly, the three only bet options in the game are Punto (Player), Banco (Banker), and Egalite (Tie).

Here’s a short overview of the key traits of Punto Banco:

  • 6-8 decks in shoe
  • Three betting options – Punto, Banco, and Egalite
  • Game of French-Italian origins
  • Hand total of 8 or 9 wins
  • Lowest house edge ever – only 1.06%
  • 12-14 players can join in real casinos, unlimited in online casinos
  • Tables come with a dealer and a banker
  • 5% commission for Banker hand

Scroll down to see how to play Punto Banco, the most player-friendly version of baccarat.

How to Play Punto Banco

A typical round of Punto Banco is very easy to understand even with rudimentary knowledge of baccarat as it is quite easy and simple.

Basically, at the start of each session, the dealer will first shuffle the cards and place the cut-card, then burn cards. Once that’s done, dealers deal the cards for the first round (coup). Cards are drawn until one of two hands reaches 8 or 9 in total. Once the coup is finished, the dealer announces the outcome and pays out the winnings. Then the table gets ready for a new coup.

Card Shuffle & Cut Card

Card shuffling is done before each coup (round). Once the entire shoe is shuffled, the croupier places a cut-card in front of the 7th from last card in the shoe. The cut-card, when drawn, signals the last coup of the shoe.

Card Burning

At the start of the shoe, the dealer burns the first card that is face-up. Depending on its value – Aces are 1, face cards 10 in value – the croupier will burn that many cards face-down.

Placing Bets

Players can place bets during the card shuffle and card burning. These two do not take too long to complete, but there’s more than enough time for the players to decide what hand they want to wager on. Three options exist – Player, Banker, and Egalite (Tie).

Card Dealing

The dealing is the most interesting part, as that’s when the hand totals are revealed. At the start of the round, the player on the right side of the dealer will take 4 face-down cards and give them to the dealer. The dealer then takes the 4 cards and places 1 card on the Player hand, the 2nd to the banker, then the 3rd to the player again and the final to the banker.

The hand that has the higher total – 8 or 9 – wins. However, if no one is close to the target, then the dealer might have to deal a third card to the hands – but that depends on the round. Typically, two cards are more than enough for a coup to be completed.

The Outcome

Once the total for each hand is clear, the dealer acts as a caller and announces the outcome. Wins are paid out according to the paytable (tableaux) – Punto pays 1:1, Banco pays 19:20 (or 1:0.95) because of the 5% commission. The payout for the Tie bet varies from table to table, but it’s either 8:1 or 9:1.

What Punto Banco Tables to Visit

Playing Punto Banco is easy both in real life and online. Honestly, the choice between the two modes solely depends on the players’ preferences. Some players like to visit casinos IRL and experience the thrills in person; others prefer to stay in the comfort of their homes. Both are great, and both offer you exquisite chances to play the game.


Things you should remember – the rules may vary from casino to casino. Moreover, in live casino mode, there are not too many Punto Banco tables. However, as this is basically a carbon copy of classic baccarat (with slight, almost imperceptible differences) so you get a Punto Banco game even if you pick a random baccarat live casino table. The only thing you do get de facto is a lower house edge, but again, it’s not that big of a difference. If you are a card counter or enjoy dabbling in advantage gambling, that difference might play a bigger role for you, though.

So, to sum it up – no matter what  you pick, be it online or land-based Punto Banco tables, you won’t be making a mistake. Just please register and play at a reputable gambling brand.

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Angie is the Lead Editor at Casino Chick, specializing in helping women find their place in this male-dominated industry. She is a powerful leader with positive energy and a can-do attitude that inspires others to succeed. In her free time, she likes to go on walks, spend time with her husband, and dream about making pottery.