Punto Banco (North American Baccarat) is a simple game with only three possible results – ‘Player’, ‘Banker’ and ‘Tie’. The term ‘Player’ does not refer to the customer and the term ‘Banker’ does not refer to the house. They are just options on which the customer can bet.
In Baccarat, cards 2-9 are worth face value, 10’s and face cards (J, Q, K) are worth zero, and Aces are worth 1 point. Players calculate their score by taking the sum of all cards modulo 10. Simply, when the total value of cards in a hand equals or exceeds 10, the tens digit is dropped. For example, a hand consisting of 2 and 3 is worth 5 (2 + 3 = 5). A hand consisting of 6 and 7 is worth 3 (6 + 7 = 13 = 3) – the first digit is dropped because the total is higher than 10. A hand consisting of 4 and 6 is worth zero, or Baccarat (4 + 6 = 10 = 0). The name “Baccarat” is unusual in that the game is named after the worst hand, worth 0. The highest score that can be achieved is 9.
The cards are dealt face down, one to the ‘Player’ first, then to the ‘Banker’; ‘Player’ then ‘Banker’ again. This is the initial deal consisting of two cards each. Both cards in each hand are then turned over and added together and the croupier calls the total (e.g. five to the ‘Player’, three to the ‘Banker’). From this position the ‘Tableau’ or table of play is used to determine if further cards need to be drawn. Depending on the two hands, the Player and Banker may draw a single card or stand pat. The hand with the highest total wins.
If either the Player or the Banker achieve a total of 8 or 9 on the initial deal (known as a ‘natural’), no further cards are drawn. If neither player has an 8 or a 9, play proceeds as follows.
• If the Player has an initial total of 0-5, the Player draws a single card. If the Player has an initial total of 6 or 7, he stands.
• The Banker’s play depends on the Banker’s hand, on whether the Player drew a card, and on what card the Player drew:
If the Player did not draw a card, the Banker draws if he has 0-5, and stands if he has 6-7.
• If the Player drew a 2 or 3, the Banker draws if he has 0-4, and stands if he has 5-7.
• If the Player drew a 4 or 5, the Banker draws if he has 0-5, and stands if he has 6-7.
• If the Player drew a 6 or 7, the Banker draws if he has 0-6, and stands if he has 7.
• If the Player drew an 8, the Banker draws if he has 0-2, and stands if he has 3-7.
• If the Player drew an ace, 9, 10, or face-card, the Banker draws if he has 0-3, and stands if he has 4-7.
The croupier will deal the cards according to the tableau and the croupier will announce the winning hand – either ‘Player’ or ‘Banker’. Losing bets will be collected and the winning bets will be paid according to the rules of the house. Usually even money or 1-1 will be paid to the player and 95% to the ‘Banker’, 5% commission to the house. (Commission Baccarat) Some casinos pay even money or 1-1 to both ‘Player’ and ‘Banker’ except when the ‘Banker’ wins with 6. Then the ‘Banker’ will be paid 50% or half the original bet.
Should both the ‘Banker’s’ hand and the ‘Player’s’ hand have the same value at the end of the deal the croupier shall announce “Egalite – tie bets win.” All tie bets will be paid at the odds of 9 for 1, or 8 to 1 and the croupier shall not touch the bets on either ‘Player’ or ‘Banker’.