Doubling Down And The Hit – Pontoon Tips


Tips Pontoon

Pontoon is a thoroughly enjoyable variation of Blackjack; the game is played with no hole cards. You can draw Pontoon and win automatically, without the fear of a push or a loss, like in certain other variations of blackjack.

Few tips to play Pontoon

You must hit 14 and under

No strategy here, the rules state you have to hit under 14. The only decision you have is if you want to double or not on the hand. If you get 15 and over on the first 2 cards, you should stay. Pontoon is a very easy game with the first 2 cards. If you don’t have to hit, you don’t hit.

Doubling Down at any point in the hand

Whether playing blackjack or playing pontoon, you will make your money with double downs. In blackjack, you should always double down on 11, and most hands with 10, and sometimes 9 depending on what the dealer has showing. And a bunch of soft hands when the dealer is showing a bust card. In Pontoon, the dealers cards are both down AND you can double down any time in the hand. There is no bust card.

With 2 cards

  • You should stand on 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, or 21
  • You should double down with 10 or 11
  • As an example – you have a 6 and a 5 for 11. Double Down.

With 3 cards

  • You should stand on 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, or 21
  • You should double down on 9, 10 or 11, soft 19, soft 20, and soft 21
  • As an example – you have Ace and a 5 and a 4 (soft 20).

Pontoon is a thoroughly enjoyable variation of Blackjack; the game is played with no hole cards. You can draw Pontoon and win automatically, without the fear of a push or a loss, like in certain other variations of blackjack.

 With 4 cards

  • You should stand on 18, 19, 20, or 21
  • You should hit 17.

The Dealer wins all ties, and 5 card trick pays 2-1.

With 4 cards you should double down on everything else. Any soft hand with 4 cards is an automatic winner. Any 4 cards 11 and under is an automatic win with 5 card trick. 12-16 should be doubled as 2-1 odds are better then odds of hitting your card.

Having 15, 16, or 17 in Pontoon

You are hoping for a bust from the dealer. Ties go to the dealer, so they have to bust for you to win. Both dealers cards are face down, so you should always stay on 15, 16, and 17 with 2 or 3 cards. With 4 cards however, since 5 card trick pays 2-1, the odds are best when you double down on 15 and 16, and only hit 17.

 Splitting in Pontoon

You should always split Aces and 8’s. You should not split anything else.

 Ace hands / Soft Hands

  • Hands with Aces are where most of your double downs are going to come from.
  • An ace can count for 1 or 11, so Ace-2 can either be 3 or 13. And this would be called soft 13.
  • They are often called soft hands, as they cannot bust when taking a card. Dealer has to hit soft 17 in this game.
  • Ace and any face card/10 card is called Pontoon and is an automatic winner. It pays 2-1.
  • Soft 19 and Soft 20 are good hands with 2 cards. You should stand with Ace-8 and Ace-9.
  • Any other card (ace-2 through ace-7) you should only hit.
  • So no doubling with an ace with 2 cards.
  • With 3 cards any soft 19 (ex ace – 3 – 5), soft 20 (ex ace – 4 – 5), soft 21 (ex ace – 4 – 6) you should double down on.
  • All other soft combinations (soft 13 to soft 18) you should only hit.
  • With 4 cards any soft hands are automatic winners since they cannot bust, so you should double down on all of them.

Hitting after doubling

  • If after doubling 10 or 11 after 2 cards, you should only hit again if you have to (have 14 or under).
  • If after doubling 10 or 11 after 2 cards, you should stay on 15 and 16.
  • If you double on a 9, 10 or 11 after 3 cards, you should hit again if you have 17 or lower.

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