Pontoon is the name given to the two different forms of blackjack. The players in Australia call this variant as Spanish 21 and is popular in Australia, New Zealand, India, and Malaysia, and the players from the western side of globe played in European and American casinos, is called the pontoon or British version of blackjack. The main difference between the Pontoon British and Pontoon Australia that is Spanish 21 is that Australian version is played with Spanish deck where the jacks, queens and kings are removed from the play. It can be easily found out which variant is by watching few hands in the play as none of these cards appear in Spanish 21.
In British pontoon, the natural 21 isn’t called a “blackjack”, but a “pontoon”. A five-card trick is an important hand in the game. The trick is a five-card hand which doesn’t bust, and this hand pays out at 2:1, making it an exciting proposition any time you have 4 cards and haven’t busted.
Pontoon is popular casino game because it offers big rewards at any point in the hand. A player can win the standard payout for a 21, but if that doesn’t hit, an even bigger payout is offered. If you are wishing to play Pontoon with three-card and four-card hands it is important to learn basic strategy, and the pontoon payout that lures the new players to take marginal hits. Pontoon can be found in a number of different internet casinos with games from gaming developerd including Playtech, Microgaming, Cryptologic, Galewind Software, and Realtime Gaming.
The Deck Size in Pontoon Blackjack
In most casinos, the deck will contain eight 52-card decks. You can find smaller decks in land-based casinos. Internet casinos RTG software supports 2-deck pontoon. The hand ranks are the same as in traditional blackjack.
The Standard Rules in Pontoon Blackjack
The top hand in Pontoon is a two-card 21, which is called a pontoon. The second best hand is the five-card trick. This is any five cards which do not bust (go over 21). The third best hand will be a non-busted hand of 21 or less, which the highest hand winning.
A hand of Pontoon is played similarly to any other hand in twenty-one. The dealer deals out two face-down cards to the player and two cards for the house. One of the dealer’s cards is facedown and the other is face-up.
The Dealer Checks in Pontoon Blackjack
The dealer checks to see if he or she has a pontoon while at play. If this is the case, their hand gets overturned immediately and all wagers are paid off. Thus note you also receive higher payouts in this game.
The player can double at any time. Also, the five-card trick rule can apply to hands after being split. One stipulation you might have to get used to is players are required to hit on hand of 14 or less (unless you hold 5 cards already). A player can stand on any hand of 15 or more, and on any hand with 5 cards in it.
The players are allowed to split aces. Also, you can draw after splitting aces, so you won’t be restricted to one card, which is the case in many forms of American blackjack. If you split aces and receive a pontoon (two-card 21), this counts as a pontoon and you are paid accordingly. If your hand busts, you immediately forfeit the hand and the house is paid. This provides the casino with a house edge, since the house can win without going through the risk of busting.
The Hand Resolution in Pontoon Blackjack
After all players’ hands have been played, the dealer turns over their cards and plays out their hand. The dealer continues to hit until a hard 17. On a soft 17, the dealer hits. If ever the dealer reaches a 5 card hand without busting, they do not have to draw any more cards.
The House Edge in Pontoon Blackjack
The house edge is 0.38% on most games of Pontoon that you’ll play. If you play at a Microgaming casino, the house edge is slightly higher, at 0.39%, because the rules for splitting aces are not as liberal at the Microgaming casinos. For this reason, keep in mind you’ll need to read a different basic strategy chart when playing at a Microgaming casino. Whatever the case, the expected return of $99.61 or $99.62 on every $100 wagered is a nice return. This makes Pontoon one of the best games you’re likely to find in any casino, so long as you can achieve close to optimal play.
In the British game of Pontoon, you will come across many words that are commonly used while at Pontoon Play. Like the word “twist” is a synonym for hit. The word “stick” is a synonym for stand. Also, if you hear someone say “buy”, that means they are wanting to double their bet. When you play the Australian variant then there are slight changes in the terminology as well. Therefore if you choose a particular variant of pontoon to play then it is better to know the familiar words that are often used in the game play. Whatever variant you choose to play Pontoon is a fun and popular game that you will love to play at both online and land based casinos.