Sometimes there is more than meets the eye about a game, on other occasions the name of the game seems more complicated than it actually is. Punto Banco baccarat is simply another way of calling the immensely popular game of baccarat that even James Bond used to play in 007 movies. The name Punto depicts the player’s hand while the Banco stands for the banker hand and there are no restrictions in terms of hands that players can wager on. A common misconception is that the bank is the house, when in fact the casino makes its profit by charging the 5% commission and using the slight house edge.
The Punto hand is always played first and if the total is eight or nine this means that he has hit a natural and receives no more cards. On the other hand, if the total ranges between zero and five then he draws other card, except for those occasions when the banker also has a natural. When it comes to Banco hands, things are slightly more complicated, with the banker being compelled to stand on seven, eight and nine.
He is forced to draw if the total is 0, 1 or 2 but there is also a requirement based on what cards the players are holding. For instance, if the player’s third card is anything but an 8, the banker has to keep hitting until he gets three cards. The banker will have to get an additional card if the player’s third is not a one, eight or 10 either and another one in case of no five, six or seven. Despite the fact that the banker is subject to a more complicated set of rules, his hand has a slight edge and that’s why the casino charges a 5% commission on baccarat players betting on it.
The game of baccarat is not an American invention, despite the fact that it is very popular in Las Vegas and in casinos nationwide. It was invented in Europe, which explains why there are still several types of baccarat played on the old continent and the French version is an excellent example. The rules of Chermin de Fer are explained at http://www.casinoadvisor.com/baccarat-chermindefer-lesson.html and the game could represent a temporary distraction. Those who have played the regular version of baccarat before need not to worry because this game uses the same set of rules and shares the same objectives.
Players are still expected to make a hand that is as close to nine as possible to win the maximum amount, and players can still bet on themselves or on the banker. The main difference in Chermin de Fer is that the casino no longer plays the role of the bank, and this is temporarily assumed by the player who is dealing the cards. The house has a limited role and only provides the necessary equipment for the game to be organized in ideal conditions, but it still take a commission of 5% of any profits.
This might sound a bit unfair, given the fact that the house is only collecting the money and does nothing in return, but this is the way in which the casino is covering the expenses. Another thing that players should be aware of, is that in Chermin de Fer, you are not denied the third card if your hand’s total is five. Players who are not reluctant to take chances can receive an additional card which makes the game more dynamic and also more competitive. It is much easier to go bust, but you also have one more chance to close the gap separating you from the dealer.
The game of baccarat can be played against the dealer in the original version, but there is always room for more excitement. Tournaments are the ones that elevate the level of competition, because in addition to beating the house, the players are also involved in a direct confrontation with their peers. As in any other tournament, the goal is to come on top at the end of the last rounds, but the road towards the jackpot can be long and tedious. Knowing which actions will amplify your chances of winning and which will only hurt the odds of outshining your opponents, will make the difference on the long run.
One of the most important thing that a baccarat player who competes in tournaments needs to understand is the fact that not all his opponents are equally dangerous. Instead of diverting your attention towards a large field of opponents, it is essential to focus on the most serious ones. Determining which players belong to one category or another can only be done if we understand which are the privileged positions in a baccarat tournament. This brings us to the challenge of determining whether we are in a Star position or not, and finding ways to get there.
A player who is in a Star position is one that would automatically move forward to the next stage of the competition, if the current round would be the last in the present heat. Being in this fortunate position is no guarantee that you will win the tournament, but it is an essential step towards advancing to what poker players call the final table. Basically if you are in a star position, a serious opponent is one that could strip you of your advantage. Conversely if you are chasing a star position you need to focus on accumulating more chips than the last player in this spot.