Blackjack is one of the world’s most well-known card games in history, and there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be familiar with either the traditional casino Blackjack you’d find online, or the traditional Pontoon you played growing up with the grandparents!
Thing is, there ARE differences between the two games, and the major difference you need to be aware of are noted later in the post.
How To Play
It’s very simple to play Pontoon, and all you need to do is select the amount you wish to stake, and press the ‘deal’ button.
You will then be given two cards – the aim of the game is to make as near to 21 as possible, without going OVER 21. If you go over, your hand ‘busts’, and the dealer wins.
All cards 2-10 are worth their relevant value, with Jacks, Queens, and Kings being worth 10 points. Aces are worth either 1 or 10, allowing you to choose the one that gives you the best hand.
Once you have your two cards, you then have a few choices:
If you want to try and improve your hand to get closer to 21, you can take another card – this is called a twist. If you manage to draw a card that’s under or equal to 21, you made the right decision as you now have a better hand, but if you go OVER 21, you lose.
You can also choose to not take any more cards, and this is known as ‘sticking’. For example, if you had 18, you’d be in a good position, so you wouldn’t want to take another card in the VERY slim chance of pulling a 2,3 or an Ace.
You can also choose to double down, which is where you double your stake in return for an extra card. For instance, if your first two cards were 6 and 5, you would have 11, and there is a good chance you make 21, an unbeatable hand. In this instance, you may choose to double your bet and take another card in the hopes of winning more.
You can double down on 2, 3, or 4 cards, and you CAN hit after doubling down, unlike regular Blackjack.
There is also the split – if you have two of the same cards, you have the option to split them. For example, if you had two 7’s, a total of 14 wouldn’t be great – but you can take each of those 7’s and turn them into a brand new hand, meaning you’d get drawn two new cards.
Once you’ve made your decision, the dealer will then proceed to draw his subsequent cards, continuing until he either hits 17 or above, or until he busts.
All Pontoon tables will have a general bet box, which is where you place your main stake.
Occasionally, casinos will offer ‘side bets’, which give you the chance to bet on other occurrences. For example, the ‘Perfect Pairs’ side bet is where you are betting that you’ll receive two of the same cards. If you guess correct, you’ll receive 5/1 on your (bonus) stake for two cards of the same colour, 10/1 for two cards of the same suit, and 35/1 if you get two identical cards!
These bet types are paid out independently from the main game, so even if you lose the main box, you can still win by playing side bets!
If you lose, the dealer will automatically take your chips, and the hand will be over.
When you win, you will be paid out at 1:1, on ALL your bets, meaning that if you decided to split or double, you’ll receive a 1:1 payout on every one of the staked hands.
If you’re lucky enough to get a Pontoon (Jack, Queen, King, or Ten and an Ace), you will be paid out at 2:1.
You can also make a 5 card trick, which pays 2:1, and this happens when you manage to draw 5 cards (including your starting 2) without busting.
Differences From Conventional Blackjack:
The main differences are as followed:
- You MUST hit below 14 – Blackjack has no limits.
- You CAN hit after doubling down – Blackjack you can’t.
- You can double down on 2,3, or 4 cards – Blackjack you must double down on your first two cards only.
If there’s a tie, the dealer wins – Blackjack, a tie returns your stake in full.
Pontoon pays 2:1 – Blackjack (in the Blackjack game) pays 3:2.
A 5 card tricks exists – in regular Blackjack, there is no such thing.
Both the dealer’s cards are face down – in regular Blackjack, one is face up for you to see.
There are a few more minor changes, but those are the main ones you need to be aware of.
Check out Pontoon today, and see if YOU can hit the lucrative 5 card trick, or better… a Pontoon!