Baccarat is the high-rolling, big stakes casino game, and the fast paced betting brings plenty of entertainment for players. A game of ‘Punto banco’ involves betting on one of two cards drawn, and aiming to get as close as possible to the face value of 9. The twist is in the variations and mixtures of card values, so make sure you know them before you play!

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Baccarat - How to Play

In the casino, you will probably find the Baccarat players are cordoned off somewhere exclusive and private, because this is regarded as a high stakes game.  Some establishments will have three figure minimum bets, and five figure maximums.  Baccarat has the potential to heavily bolster or significantly damage a casino’s balance sheet, and some may even record Baccarat statistics separately.

Online casinos can operate similarly, with big money Baccarat games held privately, and a high stakes game with a high rolling Baccarat player may be invitation-only.  The betting comes thick and fast, so be prepared for this.

Punto Banco

Baccarat, or ‘Punto banco’ Baccarat, sees two hands of two cards drawn from a shoe.  The first is the player’s, or punto, hand, and the second is the banker’s, or banco.

The hands are drawn face up, and your bets can be placed on the either hand, as the names punto and banco are simply labels – if you want to bet on the banker’s hand you may do so.

The cards have values, and the aim is to get as close to 9 as possible in order to win.  Face cards count as 10, whilst Aces are 1, and if the cards total above 9 then the second digit counts – so if you get an 8 and a 9, totalling 17, then your total will actually be recorded as 7.

If you are planning on counting cards then you’ll have trouble, as the shoe contains 4, 6 or 8 shuffled decks.

Third card

This is where you really need to pay attention, as it gets a little complicated.  A third card can be drawn for both punto and banco, but the rules are different.

Punto – If the player’s initial two cards total 0-5, then a third card is drawn.  If the banker gets a ‘natural’, which is a score of 8 or 9 in total, and the player’s hand has a total of 0-5, no more cards are drawn as the banker’s hand has won.

Banco – The banker must remain with two cards when scoring 7,8 or 9.  He must draw a third card if he gets 0, 1 or 2.

The player’s cards can govern whether a third or more card can be drawn for the banker, so:

The banker must play to three cards unless the player’s third card is an 8.

The banker must play to four cards unless the player’s third card is a 1, 8, 9 or 10.

The banker must play to five cards unless the player’s third card is a 4, 5, 6 or 7.

The banker must play to six cards unless the player’s third card is a 6 or 7.

As you can see, it is a little more tricky to get your head round the rules for the banker’s hand, and it is vitally important that you do understand these before you take part in this high stakes game.


Even though you are the player, you do not have to bet on the player’s hand.  Obviously you must bet before cards are drawn, and once the outcome has been decided then winnings given out and you can move on to another game.  It is a quick turnaround, and high stakes are standard, so this is why Baccarat is known to be a very exclusive game, popular amongst the big betting players.