Calling all Blackjack Players – Give Pontoon a Try
If you enjoy playing blackjack, you will love pontoon. On the surface it’s the same game, but with a few minor tweaks to the rules. The objective is still to get as close to 21 as possible and beat the dealer without going bust, but you can double down your bet when you have more than two cards in your hand. This is a great option if you draw a low value hand at the start and can help you navigate around max bet limits. There are a few new terms in pontoon that aren’t in blackjack, but it’s not necessary to know the terminology in order to be a successful pontoon player.
Doubling Down with More Than Two Cards
Blackjack doesn’t let you double down when you have more than two cards, but in pontoon, you have this option. This is great if you have drawn a low or soft hand and gives you a great chance to take advantage of the five-card trick payout and maximize this profit.
House Edge is Higher
In the game of pontoon, the house edge is higher due to the tie rule. In the event of a tie, all chips are taken by the dealer, whereas in blackjack chips are returned to players. While many see this as the disadvantage of playing pontoon, it also means that the payouts are greater and more rewarding.
If you manage to acquire five cards without going bust, it’s called a five-card trick. This pays out at 2:1 and beats all hands that aren’t a pontoon (21). It’s pretty hard to achieve, but if combined with the double down rule, you can win yourself big money on a single hand.
Dealer’s Mystery Cards
In blackjack, the dealer plays their cards facing up, meaning you know what you’re up against. However, in pontoon the dealer’s cards are face down, meaning you can’t play strategically against the dealer. This adds an increased layer of difficulty to the game, making it perfect for anyone that wants to up the challenge.
New Words to Learn
It must be said, you don’t actually need to learn the terms related to pontoon play, as the signals in a casino are still exactly the same. “Hit” in blackjack is called “twist” in pontoon and “stand” in blackjack is “stick”. These terms don’t really matter in general, as the dealer will always know what you mean either way, and the hand gestures remain the same anyway. If you’re playing online, these new names may or may not be used, so be prepared for either iteration of the language.
If you need to refresh yourself with the rules of blackjack, we put together a beginner’s guide to blackjack to help you out. If you’re a little more experienced you might want to learn how to play blackjack like a pro. Since the two games are nearly identical, learning the blackjack ruleset won’t do your game any harm – good luck out there on the tables!