Blackjack has seen a lot of variations developed since its invention back in the seventeenth century, and one of those that have been well-adopted across the globe is Pontoon. This popular version of the table game is played in both free and real money modes, the former being readily available on our website. This version provides a convenient platform for demo play to understand how gameplay works before heading on to some of our recommended gambling destinations where real money stakes can be used.
What Is Pontoon?
Like most other games that have withstood the test of time as long as blackjack has featured numerous variations developed with rule deviations from the original. Among those that have stemmed from Classic Blackjack to become massively popular is Pontoon, whose rise came not long after the French Revolution, which saw the table game spread across the globe.
Pontoon shares a lot of similarities with the original version of the table game, which makes it accommodating to gamers who have tried their hand at the classic option. The game is made available in two main versions, which are Australian and British Pontoon. The former shares a lot of similarities with Spanish 21, the most common being the elimination of the tens of all suits to bring down the number of cards in each deck from fifty-two to forty-eight. The latter, on the other hand, includes all the cards to make each deck fifty-two cards, and the rules of gameplay are more like those of the traditional version of the game.
Australian Blackjack, as suggested by the name, is mostly found in Australia along with countries like Singapore and Malaysia along with the North American continent. British Blackjack, on the other hand, is mostly played in European casinos and most other Commonwealth states. The difference in the cards used is the biggest between these two versions of Pontoon while almost all others remain the same.
When it comes to gameplay, the procedure followed in the classic version is the same one followed in Pontoon. Gamblers aim to acquire a card value that is higher than that of the dealer by coming as close to twenty-one as possible or achieving the value without surpassing it. Ending up with a card value of twenty-two or higher results in a loss, which is referred to as a bust. The key rules that apply which may differ from those of the original variation include:
- The croupier does not receive a hole card, so their cards are dealt face down; this means that the punter cannot know if the dealer holds a Pontoon or not up until the round has come to an end
- The player’s Pontoon always beats that of the dealer without resulting in a push. The hand is only created using the two initial cards dealt at the beginning of each round
Four to eight decks are used for gameplay each carrying fifty-two cards. In the Australian version, however, forty-eight cards are used due to the exclusion of the four ten cards
- Late surrender is allowed if one of the dealer’s cards ends up to be a ten or ace. Even so, punters still end up losing their entire bet amount and the chance to land a twenty-one-card value.
These policies are the same in nearly all online gambling establishments and apply to both free and real money versions of the game.
Pontoon – Hand Rankings
Players can land the highest card value of twenty-one using more than one card combination in this game variation. Other card values also provide winnings, but any that fall below fifteen are not considered for payouts. These hands pay in the following order:
- Pontoon – this is the best hand of all and is formed by an Ace and face card or ten
- Five card trick – a value of twenty-one acquired using five cards
- Four or three cards equal to twenty-one
- Five cards with a value close to twenty-one.
Features of Pontoon
Pontoon is quite similar to most other blackjack versions, but some elements that distinguish it from others include:
- The exclusion of the four ten cards in Australian pontoon
- Twist is used to refer to hit
- Stick is used to refer to stand
- Buy is used to refer to double. However, hitting is allowed after a buy, which makes it different from the double down
- Surrender is known as double down rescue.
The rules of gameplay are easy to grasp, and they include:
- Winnings are only granted for card values of fifteen and higher
- Splitting is allowed a maximum of two times
- One can only double down on the card values nine, ten, or eleven.
Pontoon is available in numerous online gambling destinations, and some of the best are recommended on our website.