Pontoon is a variation of blackjack with more player decisions that add to exciting gameplay. Find out how to play and improve your game using this guide.
Blackjack is a highly popular game that is fun to play both online and in brick-and-mortar casinos. The basics are easy to grasp—simply get a hand with a value near or exactly 21 to win the game. Yet, the game is never boring. With a combination of skill and luck, surprises are always out there waiting.
Still, there might come a time when you might get tired of playing with the same rules. In this case, try to change your betting sessions a bit by playing pontoon. This is a variation of blackjack with some twists that give room for more excitement. To know how to play this game, read this easy pontoon guide.
Pontoon Game Rules
Online pontoon is usually played in a suite with only the dealer present. But there are also multi-player rooms that let you play against other card gamers. Meanwhile, if you want a gaming experience similar to that in a brick-and-mortar casino, try playing in the Live Casino section of an online gaming hub.
Just like in the classic blackjack game, you will receive two cards at the start of the game. Each card has a corresponding value:
- Cards are worth 1 or 11 points, depending on the player
- K, Q, J, and 10 cards are worth 10 points
- The remaining cards (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) are worth their pip value.
To win, your hand must total or come close to 21. But if your hand value is lower than the dealer’s or is over 21, you lose.
There might come a time when you and the dealer have the same total. When this happens, the game goes into a tie, and the dealer wins.
Pontoon Player Decisions
What makes pontoon different from classic blackjack is it has more player decisions, adding to the excitement of the game. These decisions are:
Consider splitting if your first two cards are of the same value. By doing so, the banker deals another card face down to each of your hands. After that, play these hands one at a time, each with separate stakes. For instance, you draw two 5 cards. After splitting, you receive one 9 and one A. This will create one hand with a value of 14 and another with a value of 15.
If your new cards have the same value once more, you may choose to split again. This will create three or even four separate hands, each with its own stakes. However, note that you cannot split two 10-point cards unless they are equal. This means you can split two Queen cards but not a Queen and a Jack.
By buying, you increase your bet in order to receive another facedown card from the dealer. The amount of your additional stake must be at least equal to but not more than twice your initial bet. So, for example, if your initial stake is €5, you must add to it any amount from €5 to €10 to make the total bet up to €10.
After the dealer hands you another card, you can choose to buy another card if your total is less than 21. This time, you may add to your stake any amount between your initial stake and the amount you added previously. So if your initial bet is €5 and you bought another card for €10, you may buy a third card for €5 up to €10. This rule applies until you buy a fourth card.
Twisting a card means you are asking the dealer to turn over the next card face up, to be added to your hand. You can do this up to three times, or until your total goes over 21.
If you decide to stick, this means you are happy with the total of your hand. Your stake stays as it is, and it is the next gamer’s turn to play. This action is recommended if the value of your hand totals 21 or if you got an A and a 10-point card.
After making your decision, or once all the players have decided to stick, the dealer turns his two cards face up. Unless his hand is 21 or unless he goes bust, he can choose to add more cards to the initial two by dealing them face up. When the dealer sticks, the one with the total closest or equal to 21 wins the game.
Just because you know how to play pontoon does not necessarily mean you will play the game well. To have a better chance of beating the dealer and other players, follow these tips:
1 | Check the game rules and house edge.
Before playing, make sure to read the game rules found on the suite’s info page. Although the rules will remain the same, some casinos tend to change the house edge. Never play in a gaming hub that increases the house edge, even if it is by a few margins of a percent. This will result in more chances of losing.
2 | Use an optimal strategy chart.
Do not go into a pontoon suite without a strategy in mind. It is always helpful to refer to a strategy chart that can guide you on what to do if you get a certain pair of cards or a certain hand total. Luckily, you are playing pontoon online, so you can check this chart without the prying eyes of your fellow gamers.
Keep in mind, though, that this does not guarantee victory in every round. While the charts increase your chances of winning, the outcome still depends on whether the value of your hand is better than the dealer’s hand. This is when your luck should kick in. In this case, the outcome is out of your hands.
3 | Practice first by playing for free.
It always helps to be prepared before risking your real money in a game. Before playing pontoon for real, enter into a demo version of a game first. Doing so helps you get to know the gameplay and sharpen your skills. Once you are confident with your strategies, go ahead and start betting using your player funds.
4 | Make the most of online casino bonuses.
Many casinos offer reload and no deposit bonuses that you can use to play card games like pontoon. And while table games do not contribute 100% to the wagering requirements, free cash is still free cash. You can still win more and lose less on pontoon using bonus deals. Just remember to check the wagering requirements, the cash-out limit, and the maximum bet amount.
Pontoon offers increased entertainment and anticipation despite its basic gameplay. By following its simple rules and using these strategies, you have higher chance of knowing whether to split, buy, twist or stick using your given hand. Test your luck and skills on pontoon now by playing in an online casino. Better yet, play the game with your no-deposit bonus from top Bitcoin casino.