Pontoon is a blackjack variation of the popular casino table game, blackjack. But this particular game can be played in two different ways. You get the version developed by Realtime Gaming, and then there’s the British version and Australian Pontoon which is very similar to Spanish 21. This is quite an interesting game because it offers you a completely different experience to blackjack that includes differences in rules and house edge percentages.
The aim of every player is the same. You are trying to build the better hand out of everybody on the table, including the banker and dealer. The best possible hand is Pontoon, also known as natural blackjack (an Ace coupled with a number 10). The Ace, in this instance, will be regarded as 11, which will bring the overall tally to 21. You must not go over 21 or else you lose. The cards may belong to any suite. You can expect a payout of 3:2 or even 2:1 if you are so lucky.
Continue reading our Pontoon guide for more on how to play the game, the blackjack rules, payouts, and best possible hands. And, when you are ready, visit any of the casinos that we recommend below to start playing Pontoon for real money today.
Best Pontoon Casino Sites
Real Money Pontoon Card Game
This particular guide focuses on the version produced by Realtime Gaming. If you are able to grasp information easily, then you will have no problem because the rules and the gameplay are super simple.
For starters, the game is played using between 4 and 8 decks of cards. A standard deck consists of about 48 cards in this instance. There must be at least two players to get the game going, but there’s generally no limit to the number of players that can participate.
We mentioned that the game is played using a deck of cards, and each card has its own value. An ace card can equal to 1 or 11, you as the player decides which value you would like to play at any given time. Kings, Queens, Jacks, and the number 10 are all valued at ten while all other cards have a face value.
One player out of everyone participating at the table will be chosen as the banker. Bankers are chosen at random, and during each round, you must bet on who you think has the better hand between the two of you.
Now, there are rules that are fixed within the game, and then there are rules that depend on the status of the game. Some call it variable rules.
- If you achieve blackjack or “21”, you win and get paid out immediately.
- The dealer must hit on a soft 17.
- Pontoon dealers are not allowed to take a hole card.
- You as a player are only allowed to double when they have a card valued 9 to 11.
- You are allowed to surrender after doubling down. This is known as a double down rescue.
- You are also allowed to take a “late surrender” if the dealer has an ace or 10.
- The game is played using a deck of cards that can be anything between 4 and 8 decks.
- You are allowed to split your cards either once or twice, depending on the status of your game.
- Whether you are allowed to split, or re-split aces will depend on the specifics of the game.
- You may be allowed to double down on any number of cards, or just two depending on the game.
How to Play Pontoon
- Pontoon is a relatively easy game to play. See our simple steps below.
- The game begins with each player placing their bets. Minimum and maximum bet limits are agreed upon at the start of each game, and you must bet within those limits every time.
- The dealer will then give each player one card each. The cards are dealt clockwise, and you may look at your card.
- The second round of cards will be dealt face down this time. Everyone will then inspect their cards.
- If the banker gets Pontoon, at this stage, then this concludes that round, and he/she may collect all payouts.
- However, if the banker does not get Pontoon then the game will continue.
- At this stage, you will attempt to better your hand by either declaring Pontoon, splitting your cards, buying additional cards, twisting your cards, or sticking with the ones you’ve got.
- If you go bust (go over 21) during this stage, you must immediately call it quits by throwing in your cards. You will lose your stake, and your cards will be added to the greater deck of cards.
- You will continue playing as strategically as you can while trying to build a hand of 21.
- The banker and dealer will get an opportunity to play their cards and make their moves as well. This happens after all the other players have gone.
- Once everybody is satisfied with the hand they’ve got, all hands must be revealed. The person with Pontoon will be the overall winner and will receive the corresponding payout.
Highest Paying Hands
The best possible hand you could have in this game is Pontoon. But there are other good-paying hands as well. See what they are below.
- 5 Card Trick: This is the second-best hand after Pontoon. It consists of 5 cards that add up to 21 or less.
- If you have a hand consisting of 3 or 4 cards that add up to 21, you beat all other possible hands except the ones mentioned above. This is the third-best hand you could have.
- Hands that add up to 20 or lower rank better the closer you are to 21. So, a total of 20 pays better than a total of 19 because 20 is closer to 21.
- If you build a hand that exceeds the 21 limits, then you bust. This hand is unless.
See Other Blackjack Guides