Pontoon Rules to Play and Win

Pontoon is a version of the traditional blackjack which is widely popular in the UK and also in Australia. Today, the game is available on most online casinos and in several land based casinos too.

However, the British Pontoon is quite different than Australian Pontoon. In the Australian version a Spanish deck is used while in the British version, a normal deck is used. The objective of both the games is to beat the total of the dealer without exceeding the total of 21.

Pontoon Background

  • The pontoon rules which are described here refer to the British version of the game.
  • This particular game is played with eight decks of 52 cards.
  • The values of the cards are the same as traditional blackjack.
  • The players have to place the bet and the dealer will have to deal the cards.
  • Every player would be dealt two faced up cards while the dealer too would get two cards. However, the dealer's cards would be both face down. This is the main difference between traditional blackjack and pontoon.

In pontoon, basically the player has to make the decision based only on his/her own cards. The dealer's cards would be face down so the strategy has to be based only on the player's cards.

Pontoon Rules

  • In pontoon, the players can split of their ten value cards even if they are King, Jack or Queen. A combination of an Ace and a ten is considered as a pontoon even after a split. A pontoon would pay 2 to 1 to the player. If the player splits the aces, the player would only get one card for every hand and cannot draw.
  • In case there is a tie and the total of the player and the dealer is the same, the dealer would always win in pontoon.
  • A five card trick is any hand with five cards which does not bust. This type of a hand would pay 2 to 1 and would beat all the hands except for the pontoon.
  • The player can double only once for every hand. Before doubling, an ace would be counted as 1 which is why it is best not to double for soft hands.
  • The dealer would hit on a soft 17.
  • The player can surrender at any time if the dealer would have a face card or an ace.

If the players use perfect strategy in pontoon, the house edge can be decreased to 0.39%. The house edge is so low because of the five card trick. When the players have played their hands, the dealer would reveal his/her cards. For all other hands except for pontoon and the five card trick, the players are paid even money. The more decks that are used in the game, the lower the house edge would be. Some of the rules might vary according to the casinos though the basic rules would still remain the same for all casinos. The game is not too different than blackjack.

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