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Top Pontoon Blackjack Game Guide

Online Pontoon is a unique version of Blackjack that has become very popular with players. Pontoon takes the normal formula of Blackjack and males a few tweaks and changes to mix things up. This creates a new experience that, while similar to Blackjack, is a different experience.

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In this Pontoon Game Guide, we will take you through everything that makes Pontoon different to Blackjack, how to play the game, and how the betting strategy changes for Pontoon. By the time you’re done with our guide, you will be playing like a pro in no time.

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Rules of Online Pontoon

When it comes to Pontoon, the game uses many of the same rules as Blackjack. Online Pontoon uses a standard 52-card deck, with multiple decks being used in the shoe. Cards are valued the same in Pontoon as regular Blackjack.

  • 2-10: Valued at Face Value
  • Jack, Queen, King: Valued at 10
  • Ace: Valued at 1 or 11

The goal of Pontoon is to build a hand with a value as close as possible to 21 without going over. Whoever gets close to 21, the player or the dealer, will win the round. Exceeding 21 is called a bust and results in an immediate loss. If you manage to land an Ace and a 10 Value card, it is an immediate win, known as Pontoon. This is the best hand and pays out 2:1

Unique Rules to Pontoon

There are a number of rule changes in Pontoon that differentiate it from regular Blackjack. Below we have put together an overview of the rule changes that make Pontoon a unique game.

  • Pontoon – When you hit 21 with just two cards, An Ace and a 10-value card, it is known as Pontoon. When playing normal Blackjack, this is known as Blackjack or a Natural 21. It is an automatic win, and in Pontoon, it pays out 2:1. In regular Blackjack, it pays out 3:2.
  • Five Card Trick – When playing Pontoon Online, if you make a hand valued at 21 with five cards, it is known as a Five Card Trick. Players will receive a special payout for this.
  • 3 or 4 Card Hands – If you build a three or four card hand that totals 21, you will beat all other hands. The only exceptions are a Five Card Trick or Pontoon.
  • Tie Wins – When the result is a tie, the dealer wins. Some other Blackjack versions will have the player win a tie, but in Pontoon, the house wins.
  • Twist a Card – If a player has less than 21, they can receive an additional card without raising their stake. Players with 2, 3, or 4 cards can get a Twist Card
  • Buy a Card – If you have less than 21 and want to receive an additional card and raise your stake, you can buy a card. This is legal if you have 2, 3, or 4 cards.
  • Forced Twist – If your hand is valued at 14 or less, receiving a Twist card is mandatory.
  • 2:1 Payout – If you have Pontoon, or a five-card trick (reaching 21 with 5 cards), you will receive a 2:1 payout. All other wins come with a 1:1 payout.

How to play Pontoon Blackjack Online

Playing Pontoon follows the same steps as playing Blackjack. Below is a step-by-step guide to walk players through their very first game.

  • Step 1 – Decide on the size of your bet. Click on the appropriate chips to determine the size of your bet.
  • Step 2 – Once you have made your bet, click on deal.
  • Step 3 – Look at the value of your cards and decide what your next move is.
  • Step 4 – Click on Hit, Stand, Buy, or Twist. This will depend on what options this particular casino presents you with, and whether you want to receive additional cards or not.
  • Step 5 – Once you stand, the dealer will reveal their cards and play their hand. The game will then determine who was closer to 21 and pay out the winner.
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The Five Card Trick

A unique rule in Pontoon is the Five Card Trick. Players who hold a five-card hand valued at 21 or less will automatically win the round. The only dealer hand that will beat the player’s Five Card Trick is Pontoon. Because the Five Card Trick is such a special hand, it also received a 2:1 payout, just like Pontoon. If the dealer also manages to get a Five Card Trick, the result will be a tie.

Buying and Twisting Cards

Most casinos give players the opportunity to buy or twist cards in Pontoon. When buying cards, players have the chance to double or triple their bet and receive additional cards. Players can typically buy a card up to three times. Keep in mind, though; you can Twist after buying but never buy after Twisting.

Twisting is similar to the Hit option in normal Blackjack. Players will receive an additional card without increasing the initial bet. Most versions only allow the Twist option when the player’s hand is valued at 15 or more.

Top Pontoon FAQs

Is Pontoon the same as Blackjack?

Pontoon is a popular variation of Blackjack that uses many of the same rules. However, the rules are not completely identical. There are a number of key changes that make it its own unique game.

What is the difference between Pontoon and Blackjack?

There are a number of differences between Pontoon and Blackjack. For starters, both the dealer’s cards remain face down. Then there are a few tweaks to the rules, but if you’re comfortable with Blackjack, you will adapt to Pontoon very quickly.

Can I play Pontoon for Real Money?

Yes, many of our recommended casino sites allow players to play Pontoon for real money.

What is a 5 Card Trick?

A 5 Card Trick is when a player builds a hand valued at 21 or less with five cards. This is quite a special hand that only loses if the dealer gets Pontoon.

What are the payouts in Pontoon?

Winning hands in Pontoon get a 1:1 payout, as will regular Blackjack. The only two exceptions are getting Pontoon and getting a 5 Card Trick. Both of these win a 2:1 payout.

Can I try Pontoon for free?

Yes, online casinos that offer Pontoon for real money will also allow players to play the game for free. This is a great opportunity for new players to try out the game before risking real money wagers.