Pontoon is a famous game that has often been labelled as being the British version of blackjack. It also sometimes goes by the name ‘Vingt-Un’ and has been around for a number of centuries. While it is not a direct variant of blackjack, it does bear many similarities to the game. Brought to you by a variety of software providers, including Playtech.
How to play
Just like with standard blackjack, your goal in Pontoon is to have a hand of cards that will be as close to 21 as possible without exceeding this total and managing to beat the dealer’s hand. The card values are the same as regular blackjack but oftentimes in real-life, there is no actual dealer. Instead, players nominate someone to act as the banker. In online casinos, the casino naturally will take up this role permanently.
While some of the base actions are the same, there are some differences in terminology between Pontoon and blackjack. For example, if you want to hit in Pontoon, this will be called a “twist”. If you want to stand, this action is labelled as “sticking”. A double down, is called a “buy”.
Key differences in Pontoon from blackjack
One of the key differences in the game rules is that a double down in Pontoon means that the player is able to double down and still have multiple subsequent hits. With normal blackjack, you cannot hit after you have doubled down. In Pontoon, you will also be able to double down if your hand contains three cards or more, which is not something that is available in standard blackjack.
Another key difference is that Pontoon requires players to hit if their hands have a value of 14 or lower, whereas there is no such forced rule in place with standard blackjack.
A tie in a game of regular blackjack means that the hand will be a push and the player will get their stake returned to them. However, if there is a tie in Pontoon, this means that the house will win. To compensate for this distinction, Pontoon will payout at 2:1 odds rather than 3:2 if you get a blackjack hand that is a winner. When it comes to splitting aces in blackjack, you cannot get a 3:2 win from the resulting cards, but this is not the case with Pontoon.
Another common difference is the five-card trick. If the player has a hand of at least five cards and hasn’t gone bust, this will automatically reward the player with a win at 2:1 odds. Finally, perhaps the biggest difference of all is that you will not be able to see either of the dealer’s hands at the start of the game. In blackjack, you will be able to see one of the dealer’s cards and you can use this information when it comes to making your decision.
Pontoon is one of the most popular alternatives to standard blackjack. There is a bit more intrigue and excitement at play which adds something different to the playing experience. All of the leading casino sites will offer some sort of Pontoon game for you to try out for yourself.