Punto Banco aka North American or Nevada Baccarat is a casino card game. Unlike Baccarat Chemin de Fer and Baccarat Banque, the rules are fixed and the result of the game depends strictly on chance. Punto Banco is played at an oval table with 12 seats. The participants of the game may bet on the Player or the Banker.
If Punto Banco is a new game to you, we recommend going through general baccarat rules, which are common for all three variations of this game. Apart from Punto Banco (Nevada Baccarat) those are Chemin de Fer and Baccarat Banque as mentioned in the preface.
Punto Banco (Nevada Baccarat) is traditionally played at an oval table, which is served by three persons – a croupier who controls the course of the game and two dealers who collect and pay out the bets, accept commissions and watch over the bets.
Punto Banco is usually played with six or eight card decks, which are shuffled by the croupier or the dealers only. The cards are dealt using a special device called a card shoe, when only one card can be drawn to prevent potential cheats. The card shoe rotates around the table from one player to another. Its movement resembles a motion of a train on a railway (hence the name Chemin de Fer).
The player with the card shoe deals the cards as a banker. However the role of the banker is merely formal, as the player does not cover the bets (this is done by the casino), actually he or she can bet on the Player too. The players are not required to act as a banker, they can pass the card shoe to the next player – the role of the banker is purely ceremonial.
The participant of the game who bets the highest amount on the Player is dealt the cards and honored to show them and announce the total of the cards. The croupier instructs the banker, whether to draw a third card and then announces the result, e.g. "Banker wins 6 to 4".
First of all two cards are dealt face down for both the Player and the Banker: one card to the Player, then one card to the Banker and then again the second card to the Player and the Banker. After that the cards are shown and the croupier announces the totals (e.g. Player 5, Banker 4). Then according to the rules of the table (Tableau) the croupier determines, whether it is necessary to draw a third card.
According to the first two cards it is decided, whether – both the Player and the Banker – must draw a third card or must stand. The word "must" is used because the rules of Punto Banco are fixed and cannot be deviated from (see the rules below). The third card is dealt face up. The victory of the Player or the Banker is as always determined by the higher final total of the card values.
If the Player or the Banker (or they both simultaneously) reach the total 8 or 9 out of the first two cards also known as the Natural, then additional cards are not drawn and the result is evaluated immediately. Of course, the winning side is the one with the higher total. If the Natural is not reached by the Player or the Banker, then there are the following rules.
The Player draws the third card, if his total is 0–5 and stands if the total is 6 or 7.
If the Player stands, the Banker proceeds according to the same rule as the Player, that is he or she draws the third card with the total 0–5 and stands at 6 or 7.
If the Player draws the third card, the Banker proceeds according to these more complex rules:
The croupier announces the winner, e.g. "Player wins 6 to 4". Firstly the lost bets are collected and then, according to the rules of a casino, the winning bets are paid out. The payout for both bets (Player/Banker) is even, i.e. 1:1, and the casino charges a 5% commission (commission baccarat).
Some casinos use the same payment method with one exception: they pay back 50% of the bet if the Banker wins with the total 6 also known as Super 6. In this case the house edge is only 1.46% for the bets on the Banker and the commission baccarat on the bets on the Player or a tie.
If the totals of the Player's and Banker's cards are equal, the croupier announces a tie (Egalité). The bets made directly on the tie are paid out in the ratio 9:1 or 8:1. However this way of betting cannot be recommended as it brings as high as 14% profit (edge) to the casino. When the tie occurs the bets on the Player and the Banker remain on the table and the result will be determined by the next round(s). Some casinos allow taking these bets back.