Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games but you must be aware that it has many variants, and Pontoon is one of the more popular exotic versions of this game. Many online and offline casinos or land based casinos therefore offer Pontoon too in their games lobby for players to enjoy.
Generally, Pontoon rules are similar to those of a normal game of blackjack but often it is seen and said that Pontoon offers worse winning odds than regular blackjack. The reason behind is that this game is different from regular Blackjack game and here are below the eight major differences you will find between Pontoon and regular blackjack game at casinos knowing both its advantages and disadvantages of playing this game.
1. The difference in the game play
As with regular blackjack, you start by placing your bet. What follows is also similar to what you see with regular blackjack – you get two cards, both facing up. The dealer will also get two cards. But unlike in regular blackjack, both dealer cards will face down in Pontoon. With normal blackjack, only one card faces down.
During the game, playing options like surrender and insurance are still available. Winning the game is also similar to normal blackjack – you need to form a hand whose total is larger than the dealer’s without exceeding 21.
For these reasons, first time Pontoon players should have no trouble getting a grasp of the game if they already know how regular blackjack is played. Interestingly, with Pontoon blackjack, a 21 is called Pontoon, and not blackjack.
2. You will find Pontoon Rules as not favorable
In Pontoon you cannot stand if you have 14 or less. With regular blackjack, you can stand anytime, even when asking for an additional card guarantees you cannot bust. But with Pontoon, you are not done hitting until your total exceeds 14. This limits your options because you can win with a 14 or less in regular blackjack, but not with Pontoon.
3. A tie is a loss in Pontoon
One of the things you will not truly like about Pontoon rules is that a tie is settled as a win for the dealer. In regular blackjack, you usually get back your bet in a tie. Considering that ties come up quite a number of times during a blackjack game, this rule can eat into your edge considerably.
4. The dealer’s cards both face down
Forget about knowing a dealer’s chances of having hit a 21 with the first two cards in Pontoon. The dealer’s cards both face down in this game. This can put you at a disadvantage because you will not have a way of changing your playing strategy in case there is a possibility that the dealer’s cards total to 21, for instance forfeiting the game through a surrender.
5. Payouts for a 21 are better in Pontoon
There are some Pontoon rules which give you an advantage over a regular blackjack player. So when you hit a 21 with your first two cards in Pontoon, the payout is 2 to 1. With regular blackjack, the payout is usually 3 to 2. This is one of the reasons some people choose to play this blackjack version in place of the traditional alternative.
6. You can hit after doubling down in Pontoon
This is one of the few rules in Pontoon that favor the player a little more than regular blackjack rules do. If you double down while playing Pontoon, you can ask for new cards. With normal blackjack, doubling down entitles you to a new card but nothing more.
7. You can double down with 3 and 4 cards
With normal blackjack, you cannot double down unless you have two cards. But with Pontoon, you can double down even when you have 3 or 4 cards. Although this is obviously a benefit as it gives you more play options, careful execution is necessary to ensure the strategy does not work against you.
8. Pontoon recognizes the 5-card trick
Even if a dealer has a 21 (called a Pontoon rather than a blackjack in this game), you can be the winner if you have 5 cards and have yet to exceed 21. Obviously, this is not an easy feat, but it still helps to tip the odds in your favor when it happens.
So you know understand the differences as well as advantage and disadvantage to play this game of Pontoon.
All said and done this game is lots of fun to play, whether you play it online or in a land-based casino. If you have not yet tried this game, you can try it for yourself and see why many people play it, and why many casinos have it as one of the most popular blackjack games in their selection.