Pontoon is a very simple to play Blackjack variant as you know and if you are playing for the first time this game here are the basic rules of Pontoon to recall. With simple to understand it can played with any number of decks. You should be aware that a “Pontoon” hand is any hand that contains both an Ace and any Ten valued card, namely a Ten, Jack, Queen or King.
Remember pontoon uses eight regular decks of playing cards. However you can play with any number of decks.
As for the splitting rules you are allowed to Split any two cards that have the same, equal value or the same denomination and this includes un-alike ten valued cards like Jacks, Queens and Kings. If you choose to split Aces then just one card will be dealt to each Ace, and should you be dealt a ten valued card to either or both then this is a Pontoon hand and not a Blackjack.
By splitting you need to place an additional bet on the new hand which has to be the same as your initial wager amount. You can, should you wish, keep on splitting and play up a maximum of three hands. You are also allowed to re-split Aces. You are allowed to buy after receiving your first two, three or four cards. However you can only buy once per hand.
The Buy bet is equal to your initial wager amount. You can buy after a split, but just once. The Dealer will always stand his hand on all 17’s.
If you are playing online you need to be aware that all of the decks are shuffled before each game begins. The Pontoon hands pays 2-1, and a winning 5 card trick pays 2-1. The House Edge of the Pontoon game, is 0.39%.
There are different terms used when playing Pontoon, for example Twist is the process of you asking for another card and this will not cost you anything and therefore is free.
In most Blackjack games when you are paying for another card this is called doubling down, however in the game of Pontoon it is called Buying a card. The term “stand” is called “stick” in pontoon and they both mean exactly the same and your hand will stand and no further cards will be dealt to your hand.
If you get dealt a Pair of Eights then the correct strategy is for you to split that hand. Also if you get dealt a Pair of Aces then your correct move should be to Twist that hand. Get dealt a Pair of Fives then you should buy a card. Finally if you get dealt a Pair of Nines or a Pair of Tens then you should always stick on such hands.