Pontoon Blackjack

Pontoon, which is actually the British cousin of the standard American blackjack, has a lot in common with blackjack. The ancestor of Pontoon is Vingt-et-un, a card game that enjoyed a great deal of popularity in France.

Basic Pontoon Rules

Pontoon requires a well-shuffled standard deck of 52 playing cards, but if you are playing with a large group of 8 friends, you might like to use 2 decks.

One of the players in the group will assume the role of the dealer or banker, who will then deal one face-down card to each player. When all the players receive a card, they place their bets, after which they will receive another face-down card. Players are free to study the value of the first two cards dealt to them.

Pontoon is scored just as blackjack is scored in any game of standard blackjack. While the suit of the cards is of no significance, all cards from 2 to 10 are given their face value. All jacks, kings, and queens are equal to 10, while the ace can be either 1 or 11, depending on players’ convenience.

If your cards equal 21 points, you will have scored a Pontoon; however, if your cards exceed 21, you will lose the game.

Special Features

While the first best hand in case of Pontoon Blackjack is the Pontoon or the hand equaling 21, the second best hand is the Five Card Trick. If you create a hand of five cards equaling 21, but not exceeding 21, you will have got a Five Card Trick, which is lower in value only to the Pontoon. You will win double the size of your bet if you get a Five Card Trick.

Another special feature of Pontoon Blackjack is the Three or Four Card 21. If you create a hand of 3 or 4 cards equaling 21, you will have got a Three or Four Card 21. The next best hands in case of Pontoon Blackjack are hands of 3 or 4 cards equaling 20, 19, 18, and so on.

Pontoon Options

If the banker gets Pontoon, you will lose your bet. However, if the banker does not get Pontoon, the game continues. You now have the opportunity to improve your hand and beat the dealer. You can now hit and ask for extra cards, but you will need to bet extra. You can continue hitting till you cannot take any more cards without going bust. You can also stick, which is actually the same as “stand” in standard blackjack, and choose to receive no more cards. Another major decision you can make is to split and play two hands simultaneously. You will have to place an additional wager if you choose to split. Meanwhile, the banker continues to hit or stick.

If you get a total that is higher that the banker’s or dealer’s total, but without exceeding 21, you will win the game. But in case of a tie between you and the banker, it is the banker who wins.