Pontoon Blackjack

Pontoon Blackjack is commonly known as the British form of the standard game we all know and love.  However, it is now very popular among online and live casinos in America, and presents a great opportunity to hone your card playing skills and learn a new variation of blackjack.

Basic methods of Pontoon Blackjack are just the same as traditional blackjack.  The major difference between the two is that Pontoon Blackjack has its own rules and terms.

While Pontoon Blackjack players aim to reach a total of 21 in the value of their cards without going over, it is played with eight standard decks of cards.  The same values are assigned to the different types of cards.

For example, all numbered cards are counted at their face value.  Face cards such as jack, king and queen are each worth 10 points, and the ace card is worth either 1 or 11.  The player may determine the value of his or her individual ace according to which value will optimize their hand more.

In Pontoon Blackjack, players first place their bets, then the dealer gives two face-up cards to each player and two face-down cards to himself.  Pontoon Blackjack does not allow for a dealer’s “up card”.

Special terms also apply to Pontoon Blackjack, such as “twist” and “stick”.  Accepting another card from the dealer is a “twist”, which is known as a “hit” in standard blackjack.  Declining additional cards and keeping your current hand is referred to as “stick” versus “stand” in the standard game.

Pontoon Blackjack also requires any hand less than 15 to twist, unless the player is holding at least five cards.  The combination of values may vary greatly, and it does not matter what combination the player holds in this rule.

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A special card combination called a “pontoon” consists of an ace and any card with a face value of 10.  In standard blackjack, this is called a “blackjack”, but Pontoon Blackjack pays 2:1 versus 1.5:1 in the standard game.

Another hand specific to Pontoon Blackjack is the “5-card trick”.  This hand consists of a total of five cards that has not busted yet.  In Pontoon Blackjack, a pontoon beats the 5-card trick, but this hand beats all others in the game.  The 5-card trick also pays out 2:1 on the player’s bet.

Pontoon Blackjack also uses the term to “buy”, which means that the player’s bet is doubled.  This is similar to “doubling down” in standard blackjack games.  However, there are differences between the two.

Traditional blackjack games allow a player to double down on only the first two cards dealt, but Pontoon Blackjack allows buying with 2, 3 or 4 cards.  In additional, you typically may only receive one additional card in traditional blackjack after doubling down.  Pontoon Blackjack players may continue to twist after buying.

Other additional rules in Pontoon Blackjack include that the dealer twists on all hands until he or she reaches a total value of 16.  The dealer must also stick on hands with a value of 17 or more.