There are a number of variations of the Vegas styled Blackjack or 21 game. One important variant is the game of Pontoon. This game has its origins in Britain, and it is the most popular form of Blackjack that is offered in casinos across the UK. Like Blackjack, this game is also extremely popular since it combines an element of luck with a certain amount of skill and strategy.
Pontoon – The Game
Pontoon is played with every player playing against the dealer. The player always plays first, with the dealer having an advantage because of this fact. The game of pontoon is believed to be exactly like Blackjack, which means that the objective of the game is to make a total of 21 or below that is higher than the total of the dealer.
Each card in the game is assigned a different value in Pontoon. All cards that are numbered are worth their face value. This means that a card of any suit that has a dace value of 2 is worth 2 points, all 10 cards are worth 10 points and so on. All royal cards, Queen, Jack and King are worth 10 points and the Ace can be worth either 1 or 11, depending on which is more advantageous to the player.
The game begins with the player and the dealer both being dealt two cards each. The difference being that both the player’s cards are visible, however the dealer has one Hole card, which is dealt face down. Player’s strategies are built depending on the total of the player’s cards and the face up card of the dealer. A hand that has an Ace in it is called a soft hand, since the value of the hand can be interpreted in two different ways. Any hand that does not contain an Ace is called a Hard Hand, since its value remains constant.
The Rules of Pontoon
The game of pontoon is played with 8 decks of 52 playing cards. The rules of the game are slightly different from the rules of Blackjack, like for the Pontoon hand, the payout is 2:1, unlike 3:2 in Blackjack. When the player has a hand made up of 5 cards, if it is not a bust, the player receives a 2:1 payout. This rule applies to hands even if there has been a split in the first round.
The hand ranks in Pontoon hold the highest value, followed by the five-card hand. Any five-card hand has the same rank, which does not depend on the total of the cards. Apart from these two rules, the hands in Pontoon have the same ranking as that of Blackjack.
If the dealer’s hand is Pontoon then all bets on the table are lost. If the player has a total of less that 15, he then must take a hit. In the game of Pontoon, a hit is termed a twist, and can be taken even after the player has doubled down. Any hand that is worth 2, 3 or 4 can be doubled down, but players are only allowed to double down one time in a hand. A split however is allowed for up to 3 hands, with twice each.