Many of you know that Pontoon is better known as the British version of the game of Blackjack and in a lot of ways both games share similar rules and features between them. Like the values used for each card and the style of game-play can generally be considered identical for both of these classic casino games. It is the strategy of the game that differs while playing the two.
Here are 5 best tips to play the game of Pontoon like a Pro.
- Cards with Strong Potential
The main advantage in Pontoon is that this game has a good percentage of cards with strong potential. Just like in blackjack, the objective of pontoon is to compose a hand with the value of 21. Following on directly from this, any player holding a card with the value of 10 is in an ideal position.
At this point is it good to remember that in Pontoon, several other cards also share the same value. The Jack, Queen and King of every suit also hold a value of 10. Your first instincts should be to analyse the deal and lie in wait for a 10 or a combination of cards that add up to the same value. Only with this weight of hand is it advisable to continue. Don’t forget also that in the event of a tie, it’s the dealer who will always win.
- The Five Card Trick
And if you have no cards with strong potential then roll out The Five Card Trick!
In Pontoon, just like in Blackjack, it’s sometimes better not to wait for a 10, Jack, Queen or a King. Sometimes with the randomness of the game means you will not always be in an amazing position from the start of the hand so when this happens you’re going to start to look for other avenues to win by. One advantage of Pontoon is the possibility of forming hands out of multiple cards. The ‘Five Card Trick’, which is a combination of five cards that adds up to 21, can be considered a great tactical solution to weak starting hands.
Although it’s paid out at 2 to 1, the Five Card Trick beats all other combination except for a natural Pontoon. In the case of a deal that seems pretty thin to start with, remain patient, because even when you’re dealt low cards initially, there’s always the potential to form a Five Card Trick based on what cards you receive after the initial deal. This strategy of play will reduce the house edge by at least 0.4%
- Strategic Variation with Hands
In Pontoon the strategy will always differ depending on the number of cards that one has in their hand in any given situation. Generally, in the case of strong hand with a value of say 18 to 21, you will have every desire to stop at this point. In the same way if you’re holding a combination of two or three cards with a combined value in between 16-17, you’re probably not going to ask for any further cards.
If however you’re holding four cards with a value in between 16-17, things will change slightly. At this point there it’s more interesting to take a fifth card as there is every possibility that you might hit a Five Card Trick. It’s also good to remember that in Pontoon you are also able to ‘Double Down’. Doubling down generally favours weaker hands such as 9, 10, or 11 and is only to be used when you’ve exhausted the possibility of using the other applicable strategies mentioned earlier on.
- Act on Hand if equal to 14 or less
When a Pontoon game starts, the player gets to decide how much he or she is willing to bet. After the betting phase, 2 cards will be dealt to the dealer and to the other person playing. This is the same as in Blackjack, but in Pontoon the dealer does not show either of his cards and if he has what is called a “Pontoon Hand” (Ace and a card worth 10 points such as a 10, Jack, Queen, or King) then the game is over and he automatically wins.
As a part of the basic Pontoon rules, the player is allowed to call until he “busts” (When the amount goes over 21. The player always gets to finish his turn first before the dealer goes, but neither one shows off their cards until both are finished. Whoever is closest to 21 is of course the winner and they collect the money from the table.
There is a rule that is unique to Pontoon that states that a player must act on their hand if it equals 14 or less. This means that they have to hit, double, or split. If the value of the cards is 15 or more, the player can choose to do as they please. Just like the player, the dealer has rules they must abide by in Pontoon. They must stand when they have an 18 or more and must hit on a 17 or below.
- Double down and Split
If you want to try to win more money than double down your initially bet, means that you can throw in double the chips and get one more card which could make or break the win. Another way to win more is by “splitting” if the cards are the same value (like 8 and 8). After splitting, the player can then decide if they want to hit, stay, or double down. The only set back to doubling down is the fact that it can only be done once per hand.