Punto Banco is a game frequently referred to as mini-Baccarat, or “the cousin of Baccarat”. It is fairly easy to learn, and it is mostly played in private rooms in casinos. For this game, six or eight decks are being used.
There are only three types of bets that you can make: you can bet that either the Punto (Player) or the Banco (Bank) wins, or that it is a tie.
The value of the cards is the one written on them, and the 10, J, Q, K have the value 0. When you sum up the cards, you must refer only to the second digit if the number is larger than 9. For example, 5+7=12, meaning your hand is a “2”.
Two of the people sitting at the table take the name of Punto and Banco. They are the only ones who receive cards, and the others just place bets. The croupier hands the cards to the Banco, who starts to deal them. He gives two cards to the Punto, and two to himself.
If the sum of the two given cards is 8 or 9, it is called a natural. The bigger natural wins, and if the natural is the same, than it is a tie. If either the Punto or the Banco has a natural, and the other has not, the natural wins again.
There may be the case when neither one of them has a natural, in which case they may receive an additional card, based on some rules, which are different for the Punto and the Banco.
If the sum of the Punto’s cards is between 0-5, he draws another card, and if the sum is 6-7, he stands.
If the Banco has a total of 0-2, he draws the 3rd card
If the Banco has a total of 3, he must draw unless the Punto’s third card was 8
For a total of 4, Banco draws unless Punto’s third card was 0,1,8 or 9
For a total of 5, Banco receives another card, unless Punto had a 4, 5, 6 or 7
For a total of 6, Banco also gets another card, except when Punto’s card was 6 or 7
Finally, if the Banco has a total of 7, then he stands.
After this last step, the winner is the one with the higher hand (the sum of all cards).