Quite literally translated it means point bank. But what it is taken to mean is two opposing sides, the point (player) and the banco (bank). This is known as Baccarat in the US and in Asia and is played in virtually the same way. In reality the only decision that a participant needs to make is where they are going to place their bet. Once this bet has been placed then the game starts
How to play
The aim of a participant is to bet on an outcome of two hands. That of the player and that of the banker. It is important to note that like Baccarat there is only ever 1 player and the banker. The rest of the people (up to 15 in some cases) are simply participants. As in Baccarat the aim of the game is to score as close to 9 as you can. You initially get dealt two cards and how these cards are scored is as follows .
Cards with numbers A-9 (taken at face value)
All picture cards and 10′s count as no points
A player can be dealt a third card but only if the points tally is 5 or below. If the player tallies a six or a seven then they have to stick. If the cards tally up to 8 or 9 this is called a ‘natural’ and the players still stands.
If the hand of the banker is worth 0 – 3 then they are also given a third card irrespective of the scores in the players hand
If the dealer has a score of four and the players hand is 2 – 7 then again the dealer must draw a third card
If the hand of the banker is 5 and the hand of the player is 4-7 then again a third card is drawn.
If the bankers hand scores 6 and the players hand totals 6 or seven, then the player draws another card. However this only comes about when the players total was achieved with 3 cards. If the player had reached this total with two cards, then the banker must also stick.
If the total of the banker’s hand is worth 7 the banker must stick
If the banker has a hand of either 8 or 9 the banker and the player must also stand
Finally after this there will be three outcomes (A) A win for the banker (B) a win for the player (C) a tie
This in essence is it. Most casinos will list minimum and maximum bets and it is played at quite a slow pace, so once you are used to the idiosyncrasies of the game it is quite easy to play.