Pontoon - Basics, Tricks and Secrets to Winning Online

Pontoon is a game that was originally played in Britain and Australia but quickly spread globally through online casinos. The game is regarded as a version of blackjack but has unique features that clearly distinguish it.
On this page, we will look at the main characteristics of this interesting game and the basic rules that apply to it. To enable players to improve their knowledge of the game we will also look at the basic strategy to play the game. We will also contrast it with blackjack by discussing the differences. Finally, we will look at reasons why you should play the game.

Blackjack Main Characteristics

Main characteristics of Pontoon Blackjack

The main characteristics are similar to that of blackjack with card values the same and also the aim of the game which is to beat the dealer by having a hand with a closer or equal value to 21 than what the dealer has. The game is a variant of blackjack but it has several unique characteristics which we discuss below:

  • The dealer’s first two cards are dealt face-down and will only start his game when the player has finished his hand. The dealer is allowed to peek for blackjack.
  • The player’s strategy is impacted by the fact that his hand will be completed in terms of the split, stand, hit or double down without knowing what the dealer’s cards look like. His hand can be beaten by blackjack or a higher hand.
  • Ties go in favour of the dealer and is not a “push”.
  • Players can get a blackjack on split Aces.
  • Aces are only regarded as a car with a face value of 11, there is no choice between a value of 1 and 11.
  • The highest hand is a 2 card hand that consists of an Ace and a 10-value card.
  • The next in value is the Five-card trick that has a value of 21 or less. All Five-card hands share the same value irrespective of the face value of the cards.
  • A hand of 21 or less consisting of 4-cards. The value of the individual cards is considered to get the ranking of the 4-card hands.
  • A hand with a value of more than 21 is a busted hand.
  • Pay-outs differs from blackjack and pays out 2:1 for a blackjack, 2:1 for a Five-card trick and 1:1 for any other hand.
  • There is no Insurance option or side bets available.

Basic strategy for Pontoon Blackjack

The rules used in the casino will determine the most appropriate strategy to be used. The large majority of online casino use the same basic rules and the basic strategy will suffice. The strategy employed can change when players receive extra cards, the possibility of getting a Five-card trick with a 2:1 payout changes the strategy.
The first and basic requirement is that players should know the basic rules and also when it is a “hard” or a “soft” hand. Also read the specific casino rules on the game, in some instances the game can be played with 2 decks of cards and online casinos can use between 6-8 decks. The more decks used to play with the more the advantage swings towards the player.
The player must concentrate on his hand, as the dealer only shows his hand when the player is finished. The number of cards in the player’s hand determines the strategy and drawing further cards will change it. After the first two cards players can decide to stand, split or hit depending on the total values of their hand. Players should split if they have a pair of Aces or 8’s in their hand, stand is advised on “hard” 15+ and “soft” 11,10 or 9 and hit is recommended on “soft” 3-9 and “hard” 4-8 and 12-14.
After drawing the next card the player can again decide to hit, stand or double. It is advised to hit on “hard” 4-8, 12-14 and “soft” 3-7. Stand is advised on “hard” 15+ and an Ace-10 combination. Doubling is advised on “hard” 9-11 and an Ace-10 combination.
Drawing the 4th card the player can get a Five-card trick with the next card and double is advised except to hit on “hard 17 and to stand on “hard” 18+.

Blackjack Strategy Settings
Blackjack Rules Reading

Pontoon Blackjack rules

The cards have the same value as in blackjack and are normally played with 8 decks.
Players can have is the following hands, a pontoon as the highest value, Five-card trick as the 2nd most valuable, third a hand of 21 or lower with 4 or less cards and lastly a losing hand with a 21+ value.
Players are dealt 2 face-up cards and the dealer 2 face-down cards that can be peeked at for blackjack. The game ends the dealer has one if not it continues and players can elect to stand, hit or double. Stand is allowed on a card value of 15+ or a 5 card hand.
Players can double on 2-4 cards once per hand and also when 2 similar value cards have been split. Re-split inclusive of Aces, up to 3 hands is allowed. On split Aces players can hit or double and if he gets 21 it is a player’s pontoon.
Players that bust when exceeding lose their bets immediately. A player who tie with the dealer lose the game. Player blackjacks and Five-card tricks pays out 2:1 and any other player wins 1:1
The dealer’s hand is only shown after the player has finished.

Where to play Pontoon Blackjack

What is the main difference of Pontoon Blackjack in respect to other blackjack types?

The main differences lies in the following:

  • The game doesn’t stop when you double, you continue playing.
  • The player can’t stand on any 2 cards on value of 14 and below he must hit.
  • Doubling is allowed on the first 4 cards.
  • Any tie with the dealer is counted as a loss and not as a push.
  • The pay-out is 2:1 compared to 3:2.
  • There is no Five–card trick in blackjack and it beats any similar value hand with less cards.
  • All the dealer’s cards is dealt face down.
  • It is permitted to split an Ace twice compared to only once. If it results in blackjack it is viewed as such and not only as a simple 21 value.
  • Players can decide to hit after they have split Aces and it is also allowed to double down after the split.
  • There is also a difference in the terminology; double is called buying, hit is called twist and stand is called stick.
  • There is no side bets or Insurance available.
Different Blackjack Types
Blackjack Questions Answered

Why should I play Pontoon Blackjack?

There are many reasons why anyone should play the game and a number of them will be mentioned below:

  • This provides another variant of the most popular table game in the casino and ensures that play stays interesting and captivating.
  • It forces players to know their rules and also know their strategy when playing.
  • The dealer’s cards are concealed and it creates a feeling of suspense until the player completed his hand.
  • The different winning hands and their odds provide opportunities for players to play profitable.
  • The game has a low house edge and playing with up to 8 decks lowers it.
  • As the game increase in popularity more reputable casinos make it available and it is available to play in practice mode. This will sharpen player’s knowledge and strategy.

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