Punto Banco vs. Baccarat: What’s the Difference?

Baccarat is a casino game that doesn’t come in many variants. In most cases, you will be able to choose from Classic Baccarat, Speed Baccarat and Baccarat Squeeze. However, at some casinos, you may stumble upon Baccarat games called Punto Banco, Chemin de Fer or Baccarat Banque. In this article, we will discuss the difference between the standard game and Punto Banco, which is the name of the American game version.

Punto Banco Rules and Gameplay

Just like classic Baccarat, Punto Banco, also known as North American or Nevada Baccarat, is a card game played between the player and the bank. It is played with 6 or 8 decks. The main goal of the game is to predict whether the bank or the player will win with a total equal to or closest to 9. The game can also end in a tie.

A Punto Banco round starts with placing bets on Punto (the player), Banco (the bank) or Egalite (the tie). The dealer deals two face-up cards to the player and the bank. Sometimes, the third card is needed to determine the winning hand and we will explain this rule later in the text. When it comes to card values, those with numbers are worth their face value, while face cards and tens are worth 0 points. Aces are worth 1. The total of each hand is calculated by adding the card values. If it exceeds 9, the total is reduced by 10, meaning that 15 points become 5, for instance.

When an extra card is needed to determine the outcome of the round, the third card rule applies. This rule is overridden only when one of the hands gets a natural, which is a total of 8 or 9.

Punto Third Card Rule:

  • If the the Punto has a total between 0 and 5 points, the third card is dealt.
  • If the Punto has a total of 6 or 7, the Punto stands.

Banco Third Card Rule:

  • If the Banco’s total is 0 to 3, this hand gets the third card regardless of the Punto’s hand.
  • If the Banco’s total is 4 and the Punto’s hand is between 2 and 7, the Banco gets the third card.
  • If the Banco’s total is 5 and the Punto’s hand is between 4 and 7, the Banco gets the third card.
  • When the Banco’s hand is 6 and the Punto’s hand is 6 or 7, the Banco is dealt the third card only if the Punto has already received the third card and all three cards make up the total.
  • If the Banco’s hand is 7, this hand stands.

Payouts and House Edge

If you managed to predict correctly which hand will win, you will get paid according to the paytable. A winning Punto bet will earn you a 1:1 payout, a bet on the Banco 19:20 due to a 5% commission fee while an Egalite bet pays 8:1. If a round ends in a tie and you have played Punto or Banco, you won’t lose your stake. You can either use it for the next round or withdraw it.

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, there are no differences between Punto Banco and Baccarat in terms of the rules the two games use. The only difference is in the terms used for the player, banker and tie. Once you learn them, you can play the game of Punto Banco the same way you play Classic Baccarat. Here is the list of the 7 best Baccarat tips that can help you increase your odds.

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