Blackjack Pontoon is a variant of the traditional American Blackjack. This British variant has a global footprint with casinos and players alike enjoying the game as far afield as Singapore, Australia, Canada and Belize. However, with the advent of online casino gaming, players worldwide are now free to enjoy the delights of Blackjack Pontoon at a time of their choice. Traditionally, Blackjack Pontoon was played by a minimum of two players and up to eight players.

However, the birth of online casinos meant any number of players can experience the game. This is done by utilising multiple decks – predominantly between six to eight decks to allow any number of Blackjack Pontoon players to engage with the spread.

Ace is Eleven

The individual cards are valued with the same values as traditional Blackjack. This means the ace is valued at eleven (or one) whilst the numbered cards are valued at their individual face value whereas Jacks, Queens and Kings are valued at ten. That is the value system of Blackjack Pontoon. The purpose of the game is to collect a hand that has the closest possible value to 21 – and players should not exceed this or they’re out.

Another dynamic of Blackjack Pontoon is the rolling nature of the ‘banker’ – the individual with card management responsibilities during a game. However, this is one element that doesn’t exist online and helps to free up players allowing them to focus on playing the game they love responsibly.

How to Play Blackjack Pontoon

Each player is dealt a card face down and has to place their bets without knowing the value of the card available. Only after the second card is dealt are players allowed to view their allotted cards. The game is made up of multiple cards but to win a player needs two cards, an Ace and one ten value card (which means a Jack, Queen or King). If the bank has a pontoon, they must surrender the cards immediately and the game ends.

However, there are other ways of playing the game. The second best possible outcome is a five card trick. This is a hand based on five cards that have a grand total of 21 or below. A pontoon or a five card trick trumps any other possible hand and as such are the two ‘game changers’ within the playing environment. Note of caution – if a player’s hand and the banker’s hand are of equal value, one should note that the bank always wins. The next section will outline what possibilities a player has during each turn.

The Turn of the Player

If no one declares a pontoon then starting with the player on the dealer’s left-hand side and always moving in a clockwise direction, each player will have a turn to help improve their hand. They will acquire an extra card at each turn. However, there are numerous possibilities therein:

  • Splitting your cards – If you have two cards of equal value, you can split them into two separate hands by simple turning them over and making them visible on the table. The banker will immediately deal another card to player face down and the player will stake another hand.
  • Buying a card – If the total value of your cards is less than 21, you are free to say, “I’ll buy one”. This means you must immediately raise your stake. This is done by taking your stake and betting more – the structure is as follows. If you bet X, you can bet between x and 12 making a maximum of eighteen in terms of the wager. Once this is complete, the dealer is free to deal another card face down. There are no limits when ‘buying a card’.
  • Stick – When a player has a total card value of fifteen or more, a player may “stick” which means they will stay with the cards they have and it will be the next player’s turn.
  • Bust – When a player is dealt, twists or buying a card and that exchange results in your hand having a total value that is greater than 21 you are ‘bust’ and must end the game. You must tell the bank and the players that you are bust and show your cards on the table.

Differences to Traditional Blackjack

The single biggest difference between traditional Blackjack and Blackjack Pontoon are the odds. Pontoon have odds of 2-1 whilst traditional Blackjack has odds of 3-2. This is good odds and a reason for the game’s wider popularity. Another difference is that in traditional Blackjack a player can stand with any two first cards. Alas, in Pontoon the value must be fourteen or less otherwise they must hit. Furthermore, in traditional Blackjack players can only buy on their first two cards. However, in Pontoon the player is free to buy on cards three and four. Other differences surround the splitting of aces which you can’t do in traditional Blackjack. All cards in Pontoon are faced down whilst in traditional Blackjack only first deal is face down.

Playing Blackjack Pontoon Online

The explosive growth of online casino platforms has resulted in a myriad of different Pontoon experiences available to the intrepid online gamer. However, there are some elements that require some consideration beforehand. Reputation is crucial. Always make sure the online casino utilises your territory’s regulatory best practices – you don’t want to become a victim of a scam by accident.

UK online gamblers should look out for either UK, Maltese, Gibraltar or Jersey government accreditation on the casino’s website. Furthermore, reputable sites will ask for ID and a full verification process to help make sure you are age appropriate to play Blackjack Pontoon.

Why not try Blackjack Pontoon today? Find a reputable online gambling platform or casino today and experience the exhilarating fun of playing live online Blackjack Pontoon. Always make sure you play responsibly. Once the fun ends, stop. Only bet what you can afford and remember Blackjack Pontoon is all about fun and getting that ‘Pontoon’. Try it out for yourself and see how fun it can be.

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