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An Expert Strategy for Punto Banco

Punto Banco is the most popular form of Baccarat played online and at land casinos. While historically it was a game reserved for high rollers, today everyone is able to enjoy the game, regardless of the size of their bankroll. The game is simple to learn, can provide hours of fun, and of course, the chance of great winnings.

Punto Banco Rules

The rules of Punto Banco are very simple. In a nutshell, there is the choice of two positions to bet on, the Player and the Banker. It does not matter which you bet on, but the idea is to guess which position will have a value closer to 9 at the end of the round.

Before the round starts, you will have the choice of betting on the Player, the Banker or a Tie. To win, your bet must match the outcome of the resulting round.

The round commences once all bets have been placed. To start the round, the dealer places two cards on the Player and two cards on the Banker positions. Usually, this is all that the round takes but there are some circumstances when either the Player or the Banker may receive a third card.

In Punto Banco, all face cards (Jack, Queen, King) and 10s are worth 0, meaning they do not change the value of each position. The value of the positions are determined by the last digit. For example, if a 9 and 8 are dealt, the value is 7, not 17. The aim of the game is to bet on the position that will end up as close to 9 as possible.

The Third Card in Punto Banco

As mentioned before, there are some instances in Punto Banco when a third card will be drawn to either the Player or the Banker position. At first, these rules may appear rather confusing, but it doesn’t take long to understand them. Furthermore, if a third card is necessary, it will automatically be dealt by the dealer. Here are instances when the third card will be drawn:

  • The Player or the Banker will always stand on a total of 8 or 9
  • The Player will always stand on a total of 6 or 7
  • The Banker will draw a card if the Player stands, and the Banker has a total of 5 or less
  • The Player will draw a card if they have a total of 5 or less

In addition, the Banker will draw a third card in the following circumstances:

  • The Banker will draw a card if their total is either 0, 1 or 2
  • The Banker will draw a card if their total is 3 and the Player’s third card was 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 or 0 (not 8)
  • The Banker will draw a card if their total is 4 and the Player’s third card was 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7
  • The Banker will draw a card if their total is 5 and the Player’s third card was 4, 5, 6 or 7
  • The Banker will draw a card if their total is 6 and the Player’s third card was 6 or 7
  • The Banker will always stand if they have a total of 7

Punto Banco Payouts

In the standard version of Punto Banco there is a 5% commission on all winning Banker bets. However, No Commission Punto Banco games also exist. Both the Player and the Banker positions will pay even money at 1:1 should your wager win in those games. The only contradiction in this is if the Banker wins with a 6, in which case the Banker position will only pay 0.5:1. Should you place a successful Tie bet, the resulting payout is 8:1 in most Punto Banco games, but some do pay a more generous 9:1.

Punto Banco Playing Tips

Before we take a look at basic Punto Banco strategy, it is worth going over some basic tips. Essentially, Punto Banco has two positions and three bets that you can place. A bet on the Player or the Banker positions or a Tie bet. For each bet, there are advantages and disadvantages to consider.

Most forms of Punto Banco will include a 5% commission on the Banker position, should your bet win. This is because, according to statistics, the Banker position has a slight advantage over the Player position. The calculations for this are made regarding the rules of the third card. Thus, the Banker position will always have a slight advantage over the player position – resulting in more wins.

However, that does not mean one should completely write off the Player position. If you are playing Punto Banco where the Banker position has 5% commission, then the Player position becomes advantageous. Due to the commission, whenever you place a successful bet on the Player position, you will claim the full 1:1 reward.

If you are playing No Commission Punto Banco, then things reverse. The Player position actually become the bet that is more likely to win, so it makes sense to place the majority of bets on it.

The final wager you can place is on a Tie. This is an especially risky bet to place, but the rewards are high. In most games of Punto Banco, the payout for a Tie bet is 8:1. Which at first glance makes it seem like the most attractive of all the bets. However, statistics show that a Tie occurs in less than 10% of all hands. Thus, if you were to play 100 times, statistics show that a Tie result should only fall around 10 times.

However, gambling is not about statistics. You could play 100 hands and 80 Tie bets are played out. It all depends on the luck of the draw. It may be worth playing Tie bets occasionally, provided you balance it out regarding your bankroll.

Punto Banco Strategy

According to basic Punto Banco strategy, you ought to bet on the Banker hand as much as possible. It has a higher chance of winning than the Player, so the basic rule of thumb here is to bet on it the most. Here is a strategy that you can follow.

When sitting at a Punto Banco table, or joining a Live Casino table, your first bet should always be on the Banker position. From then on, keep on placing the same wager on the Banker position if it wins.

If it loses, you may be tempted to switch to the Player position. Do not do this. Place another bet on the Banker position instead of switching. If that bet loses, you can switch to the Player position. Proceed to place bets on the Player position but after one loss, immediately switch back to the Banker position.

If there is a Tie, you ought to ignore it. Thus, if you are betting on the Banker position and lose to a Tie, do not stop betting on the Banker position. If a Tie occurs when you are betting on the Player position, it is enough to switch back to the Banker position.

The final part of Punto Banco strategy bankroll management. Set yourself a budget before you start to play and do not exceed it. Divide the budget by the number of hands you wish to play and stick to betting that much per hand. That way you can be sure of never exceeding your budget.

Closing Remarks

Punto Banco is an extremely easy game to learn. Once you take a few minutes to familiarise yourself with the rules it immediately becomes an extremely enjoyable game. The strategy is easy to follow and there is the chance of great winnings. With a bit of luck, you will soon be celebrating your first winning streak.

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