The game of Baccarat is often times played in a separate section of brick and mortar casinos, on a table similar to a craps table. The game is played with three casino dealers present, and up to 12 or 14 players are allowed to play at one time.
Baccarat is also called Punto Banco, because of the two principal bets made in the game- Punto (the player) and Banco (the bank). The third bet used in Baccarat, Standoff, is rarely used, although is a valid bet which can reap its own rewards. In come casinos the players take turns serving, but some casinos only use their own hired dealers. With online casino Baccarat automated virtual dealers, or live dealers working over webcams are used.
Every player, including the player serving as the dealer, may place their bet on either Punto or Banco, but it is a matter of customer that the player dealing bets on Banco. A player may choose to pass on being a dealer, in which case they pass the “Shoe” or deck to the next player. As long long as Banco continues to win, the dealer may hold on to the Shoe, but as soon as Punto wins the shoe is passed on to the next dealer.
To start the game two hands are dealt, and players place their bets on which hand will win (Punto or Banco), or that the hands will tie. The payoff for the two bets are even money, 1:1, except for the Standoff bet which pays either 8:1 or 9:1 depending on the casino.
So what’s the difference if the bets pay even money? The Banco bet will cost the players a 5% commission to the casino because of the built in advantage for Banco bettors. Card enthusiasts have determined that over an 8 deck cards play, Banco will on average win three to four more hands than the Punto bet.