Pontoon is one of the most popular online casino games played today, largely due to its simplicity, enjoyment factor, and the minuscule house edge, which works out at around 0.41%, based on playing perfect strategy.
Pontoon is essentially Blackjack, with a few key differences that help to make the game a unique experience.
The Pro version of Pontoon features a few, small variations you should be aware of before playing, and these are discussed later in this article.
How To Play
The goal of Pontoon is to make a score of 21 using two cards dealt by the dealer. You first start by placing a bet in the bet box – once you are happy with the amount, press deal and your two cards will be dealt.
The dealer will also be dealt two cards, but one will be kept facedown.
Once your two cards have been dealt, you must decide whether you are happy with your hand and feel it has a strong chance against the dealer (this usually means 17 or above), or whether you feel you can improve.
If you have a low score and want to try and get closer to 21, you can do what is known as twisting, which is where you pull another card. You can twist as many times as you like, but if you go over 21 the hand will end and you will lose.
If you don’t want to twist, you can stick, which means you stay with your first two cards dealt.
Once you’ve made your hand as close to 21 as possible and are happy with it, the dealer will then expose his second card and will also try to reach 21 – unlike you however, he must continue to keep taking a card until he reaches 17 or higher, meaning his final score will either be 17, 18, 19, 20, or 21… Or he will bust.
There are a couple of additional decisions you can choose from when you’ve been dealt your first two cards, and the first of these is splitting your hand.
When your first two cards of the same value, you may choose to split these two cards into two separate hands. In order to do this, you must put forward an additional wager, which must be equal to the main bet you’ve already placed. Your two new hands are played out one by one, playing from right to left, and you may split once more after the initial split, including double splitting aces, which isn’t allowed in regular Blackjack.
The other of option available to you is called the double, and at any time that you have four or less cards in a single hand, you can double your bet if you feel there is a strong chance your hand will win.
In regular Blackjack, you are only allowed to double on and nine, 10, and 11, but Pontoon allows you to double on any hand you like. However, like regular Blackjack you will only get one card after doubling, so for example, if you doubled on 10, and got to, your final score would be 12 and you would not be over to continue.
Pontoon and Blackjack; What’s Different?
One thing you need to be aware of is that the dealer always wins in case of a tie. This means for example, that if you are the dealer were both have a final score of 17, the dealer would win your stake. This does not apply to Pontoon however.
You also are not allowed to stick below 15 – in Blackjack you can stick at whatever number you like, but you must continue to hit past 15 while playing Pontoon – the obvious exception to this is when you double down and only receive one card, as you are not allowed to take another card.
The dealer must hit on a soft 17, and stay on a hard 17 – regular Blackjack entails that dealers must stay on 17 regardless whether it is hard or soft.
What makes Pontoon Pro Different?
Pontoon Pro plays out in exactly the same way as the normal game, with the main difference being the betting limits;
Pontoon Pro allows both high rollers and amateur gamblers to play at stake affordable to them, as many more betting options open up, allowing you to stake from between £1 to £5000 per hand, depending on the casino you choose to play with.
As with Blackjack, your main wager bet is paid out at even money, but if you get Pontoon – that is, a picture card and an ace in your first two cards, you will get paid out at 6/5, instead of the 3/2 you would receive on a traditional Blackjack table.
There are certainly pros and cons of playing Pontoon Pro, especially when comparing it against regular Pontoon and Blackjack versions, but the game offers a new experience, allowing you to enjoy a different perspective on card games.
Sure… the negatives will be annoying at times, and occasionally you’ll get screwed over by the dealer having to hit on soft 17, but Pontoon Pro is well worth checking out, as you never know when your lucky streak is going to begin!
Play Pontoon Pro right away, and save yourself how exciting this game can be!