Pontoon – A Blackjack Variation

Those blackjack players that have mastered the optimal blackjack strategy will be able to play Pontoon, a blackjack variation, in such a way that the house edge is particularly low. While the game, as with all blackjack variations, is played much like a regular game of blackjack, there are some significant differences, although most of those are simply different terminology that gives Pontoon its unique identity.

In Pontoon, players aim to reach a value of 21, as they do in other forms of blackjack. The best way to achieve this is to be dealt an Ace and a face card, or a ten, in the first two cards dealt.

The game of Pontoon is usually played with a number of decks of standard 52-card packs of playing cards. More often than not, Pontoon is played with eight decks of cards, although it can be played with fewer decks. Games can have as few as two players playing at any time, however, the game is far more enjoyable when it is played with five to eight players.

Pontoon Terminology

Simply stated, a Pontoon, is any hand that gives a player a value of 21 points by using only two cards. That means that the hand is made up of a card with a value of 10, such as a face card or the number 10 itself, and an Ace. Players may split their cards when they have been dealt cards of the same value, and can play them as to hands. If a player gets a Pontoon on a split hand, they will get paid out according to the same odds as a Pontoon from the first two cards dealt, since each split hand is played as if it is the player’s first hand.

Pontoon players need to make sure that they know the Pontoon lingo before playing the game. When asking for another card from the dealer, a player needs to say ‘twist’ instead of ‘hit’ as is used in regular blackjack. When a player does not want any more cards, they need to say ‘stick’ instead of the standard ‘stand.’ Those players that wish to ‘double down’ need to ask to ‘buy,’ and of course, a ‘blackjack’ is called a ‘Pontoon.’

Pontoon Around the World – A Point to Remember

This version of Pontoon is an English variation of the game of blackjack. If you are playing in either Australia or Malaysia, the game of Pontoon is not the same as the English version. In these cases, Pontoon is an unlicensed variation of Spanish 21, the game that is played with no hole card.

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