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Pontoon Blackjack

Pontoon is a variety of card game similar to blackjack in that it’s played against the dealer and is based around the number 21. Although not as widely known and played as blackjack, it’s a very underrated game and one that is worth exploring if you’ve never played it before.  

There are some important differences between the two games, which we will look at below, but anyone who’s ever played blackjack will be able to get a handle on pontoon fairly quickly.

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Pontoon Blackjack

Pontoon is a variety of card game similar to blackjack in that it’s played against the dealer and is based around the number 21. Although not as widely known and played as blackjack, it’s a very underrated game and one that is worth exploring if you’ve never played it before.  

There are some important differences between the two games, which we will look at below, but anyone who’s ever played blackjack will be able to get a handle on pontoon fairly quickly.



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Software Providers

Pontoon Blackjack software

The majority of leading software developers have online pontoon games that you can enjoy, including: 

Rules of pontoon blackjack

In Pontoon, like blackjack, the aim is to make a hand as close as possible to 21 without going over and which is better than the dealer’s hand. An online pontoon table essentially looks the same as an online blackjack table, with the exception of the insurance bet line. While cards also have the same value (i.e, an ace is worth 1/11 and picture cards are worth 10). Most online pontoon is played with a single deck of 52 cards. 

At the start of a hand, all players and the dealer receive two cards, with the player’s face up and both of the dealer’s cards face down. The dealer checks his cards for pontoon, which is the same as a blackjack (an ace and picture card) and if the dealer hits pontoon, the player automatically loses and the hand is over. 

If the dealer hasn’t hit pontoon, players then have the option to: 

When the player has finished playing his hand, the dealer then reveals his cards. He will then: 

In online pontoon, there are two hands that beat 21 – a pontoon or a five-card trick. Pontoon and five-card tricks payout at 2-1, with other winning hands paying 1-1. 

There are some common features that set Pontoon apart. These include: 

Thanks to the 2:1 odds on Pontoon and Five-card trick hands, this game’s payouts are better than the traditional 3:2 payout in Blackjack.

Odds in Pontoon blackjack

The House Edge in online pontoon is 0.38%, except in Microgaming casinos where it is 0.39% (because you can’t draw and double if you split aces). This compares favourably with blackjack where there tends to be far greater variety in the House Edge because there is significantly more variation in the rules from game to game and from casino to casino, particularly with regard to splitting.

Of course, being able to take full advantage of this relatively low House Edge does depend on you understanding and using Basic Strategy. This differs somewhat from Blackjack Basic Strategy, but the principle is the same in that it should dictate which option you should choose in any given situation.

Top 5 Pontoon Blackjack Tips 

Basic Pontoon Strategy is made simpler by the fact that the dealer’s cards are face down and so there are not so many permutations to take into account. However, because the aim is to try and hit a five-card trick, some aspects of strategy may seem unorthodox to the player who is new to pontoon. 

Here are five tips that you should always adhere to if you want to use Basic Pontoon Strategy effectively. 

Bottom Line 

Ultimately, whether you prefer Pontoon over regular Blackjack or the other way round, comes down to personal choiceHowever, we always recommend trying Pontoon if you haven’t played it before.  

The casinos that we recommend all enable you to play pontoon in Flash or demo mode for free, so you can sample the game and put the Basic Pontoon Strategy tips outlined above to the test before playing for real money.

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