Punto Banco is played with six or eight decks of cards shuffled together. Before the round, also known as a coup, the dealer removes the first card from the shoe face up. The dealer then burns as many cards as the value of the first card in an attempt to prevent card counting.
Only players on the game/table are allowed to place bets. Again, players can place bets on either the player or bank. Players can also bet on a draw, but only a few place this bet as it is very rare looking at the deck of cards employed in the game.
A typical game starts with the croupier dealing two cards face up to both the Punto and the Banco. The dealer can also issue an extra card or two depending on the game's rules. The total card value is calculated, and the hand with the value closest to nine wins. Ideally, understanding card values play a critical part in understanding the game.
Knowing card values helps a player understand each card's worth when the dealer turns the cards around. Here is an overview of card values employed in Punto Banco.
- 10's10's, Jacks, Queens, and Kings are worth 0
- 2-9 are worth their respective face value
- Aces are worth 1
- A two-hand with a value that exceeds 9 (a double-digit score) has a value equivalent to the last digit. For instance, a player with an 8 and a 7, totaling 15, has a value of 5.
Since live casino games have increased in popularity, understanding rules is fundamental before playing. Every Punto Banco should understand the most important rule that every value that goes over nine starts from zero. Other important drawing rules applied in the game include:
Rules Applicable to the Player
- 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5 values – The player is automatically dealt a third card
- 6 & 7 the player stands
- 8 & 9 are "naturals"; thus, the player stands, and the round is finished
Rules Applicable to the Bank
The bank is dealt with a third card if:
- Its total is 0, 1, or 2 regardless of the player's total
- Its total hand value is 3, and the player's is less than its total hand
- Its hand value is 4, and the player's total is anywhere between 2 t0 7
- Its total is 5, and the player total ranges anywhere between 4 to 7
- Its total hand value is 6, and the player's total is either 6 or 7
The bank stands if:
- Its total hand value is 6, and the player's total from two cards is either 6 or 7
- Its total is 7, 8, or 9
Once dealing and drawing cards is over, the hand closest to nine wins, and the casino pays all winning bets. Also, in case the player's and bank's hands are even, the house pays all egalite (tie) bets.
These are just the fundamental rules applied in live Punto Banco. It is worth noting all these rules might require some time to grasp. However, when playing at live online casinos, the croupier often makes announcements that go a long way in guiding players with their bets.