Pontoon Blackjack Logo

A popular variant of blackjack is Pontoon. The game is very similar to blackjack but with key differences that make it stand out. For those looking for something a little different, it is a game worth checking out.

Today, we will teach you the basic rules of Pontoon and some basic strategy for the game.

Rules of Pontoon

Pontoon is nearly identical to blackjack but with a couple of differences. For starters, the Pontoon is the equivalent of a normal blackjack. It only pays 2 to 1 instead of 3 to 2.

Next, ties are done differently in this game. In standard blackjack, a tie is a push. However, in this game, all ties go to the dealer, including Pontoons. If you and the dealer make a Pontoon, you lose. For some, this is a deal-breaker.

Pontoon Blackjack Game

There is one cool difference to this game, and that is 5-card hands. If you are able to make a five-card hand in this game without busting, you automatically win. You also win 2 to 1 on a 5-card hand as opposed to the standard 1 to 1 payout on normal wins.

Standing rules are a bit different. The dealer will hit a soft 17 and stop on all 5-card hands. For players, the can only stand once they have 15 or higher. This will impact the strategy a bit depending on the situation.

Double down and splitting rules are also a bit different. You can double down on any combination of 2 to 4 cards. This can be done only once each hand. You are permitted to double down after a split. Resplits are not permitted.

Pontoon Doubling Down

Table limits for Pontoon games are generally a bit higher than most blackjack games. The minimum bet is usually $1, where most blackjack games will offer lower limits. The maximum bet is generally $100.

For those looking to reduce the house edge, this is a great game. Pontoon has just a 0.38% house edge on the basic game. Normal blackjack has up to triple the house edge, even when using optimal play.

Pontoon Side Bet

Pontoon has a Sweet 16 side bet that you can opt to play. Before the deal, you can place this bet and it pays based on the first two cards dealt to you.

Pontoon Side Bet - Sweet 16

Here a quick rundown of the side bet payouts:

  • Total is 16 to 21 – 1:1
  • One Ace in Hand – 1:1
  • Pair of Aces – 2:1
  • Pair of Deuces through Sevens – Push

This is one of the better side bets you can play in terms of the house edge. The house edge is only 2.52%. Granted, it’s significantly higher than the standard house edge for the game.

Basic Pontoon Strategy

Pontoon strategy can be fairly complex. As such, we are giving you some strategy charts to help you with your game. You’ll notice that the charts are for live Pontoon, but they will help you with the online version. Note that some online Pontoons games do not show the first card for the dealer.

Here’s a basic strategy chart for Pontoon hands. The dealer hole cards are the upper line when available.

Pontoon Hands Strategy

The next tip you could easily guess. Avoid the Sweet 16 side bet. This game is a sucker bet when compared to the base game. The payoffs are also lower compared to similar bets in other online casino games. Overall, it’s not worth the risk.

Pontoon can be found at Ignition Casino, Casino Max, and most legitimate online casinos. This is an excellent alternative to standard blackjack with a lower house edge. It may not be the best game for online casino bonuses as the game often contributes little tot he wagering requirement. For those looking for something a little different in their blackjack game, this is a great game to play.

About the Author
James Guill avatar
James Guill

James Guill is a veteran of the gambling media industry. James started his career as a semi-professional poker player, traveling the US to play tournament poker. In 2008, he transitioned to the media side. Since that time, James has worked for many established brands, including PokerNews, OnGame, Bwin, CardPlayer Lifestyle, Poker Junkie, and Ivey Poker. He also wrote for PokerNews Australia and once had his work featured on G4’s Attack of the Show.

James has a wealth of gambling knowledge and can write on most topics. He also keeps an eye on the growing Bitcoin gambling market and is a HODLer of BTC and several top altcoins. Check out James’ Game of the Week feature, covering the latest and greatest online slot games. James is also a part-time picker, traveling around Virginia looking for deals to flip.

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James Guill is a veteran of the gambling media industry. James started his career as a semi-professional poker player, traveling the US to play tournament poker. In 2008, he transitioned to the media side. Since that time, James has worked for many established brands, including PokerNews, OnGame, Bwin, CardPlayer Lifestyle, Poker Junkie, and Ivey Poker. He also wrote for PokerNews Australia and once had his work featured on G4’s Attack of the Show.

James has a wealth of gambling knowledge and can write on most topics. He also keeps an eye on the growing Bitcoin gambling market and is a HODLer of BTC and several top altcoins. Check out James’ Game of the Week feature, covering the latest and greatest online slot games. James is also a part-time picker, traveling around Virginia looking for deals to flip.

READ MORE
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