Pontoon Rules

The Rules of Pontoon

Pontoon is undeniably the most popular variant of Blackjack. Originating in Great Britain, Pontoon is a table game that is one hundred percent British. Its terminology as well as the expressions used evokes the language of Shakespeare. There is little distinction between standard Blackjack and Pontoon, these two diversions making use of the same organizational structure. The object of Pontoon, just as in Blackjack, is to try to get as close to possible to the value of 21. One may note that the term "Pontoon" is moreover equivalent to "Blackjack" in the United States: this is the strongest combination of the game. Pontoon is played with eight decks of cards. It is a variant in which only two protagonists confront one another, the dealer and the player.

How to Play Pontoon

Before starting the proceedings, the player has to decide on the table limit he is going choose it. Thereafter, the player and dealer place their initial bets. One of them will place a minimum bet and the other a maximum bet. The dealer distributes two cards to the player as well to himself. The player is free to look at his cards. At this stage of the game, both parties can either raise the amount of their initial wager, call or fold.

To finish, the respective hands of the two participants are compared. The one who has the hand with a value closest to 21 wins. He automatically pockets all the money bet on the table.

One should know that the player has the opportunity to ask the dealer to deal him as many cards as he wants in order to approach the value of 21 ("Twist").

Pontoon Player Actions Explained

It is possible in Pontoon to use special actions depending on state of the game. If the player possesses two like cards, he has the option to "cut" them in order to form two separate hands. He will nevertheless be required to place a second bet, which will have precisely the same value as that of his initial wager. The player can "cut" up to three hands. Another action that is possible to perform is to "double" one’s bet. An additional card is automatically received when one "doubles" his bet. This extra card will be "drawn", which results in the very last conceivable action in Pontoon.

The Different Scenarios in Pontoon

In Pontoon the hands pay out with a ratio of 2 to 1. This is better than in Blackjack. The player can sometimes achieve a "5 Card Trick": a hand of five cards equals 21. With a ratio of 2 to 1, this combination always wins out, except against a Pontoon. The player has to keep requesting a card from the dealer ("Twist"), no matter the hand, until he reaches the value of at least14. In Pontoon, it is not possible to "Abandon" or "Fold." The hands of both parties are compared no matter what happens. The player may buy as many cards as he wishes, in contrast to Blackjack. He may do this one time per bet. If the player obtains an Ace and a 10, he forms a Pontoon and cannot be beaten. The dealer is required to request a card ("Twist") if he holds a hand of 16 or less and has to "Stand" if he has a hand of 17 or more. In the case of a draw, it is always the dealer who wins in Pontoon.