Wanna Play Pontoon – Know the Bets, Bonus and Payouts

Online Pontoon

Are you all set to play Pontoon? You can play Pontoon at a live casino or internet casinos according to your choice and convenience. The two variants of Blackjack known as Pontoon is RTG Pontoon and Spanish 21. RTG or the Real Time Gaming Software is used in internet casinos. The other is played in Australia, and is very similar to what is called Spanish 21 in North America. Pontoon in Sydney Australia offers a much better bet than conventional blackjack, with a house edge about 1/3 less.

Pontoon uses four to eight Spanish decks, each deck consisting of 48 cards — the regular 52 cards, less the four tens. Any card counter can tell you that removing any 10-point card from the cards favours the dealer. To make up for this, Pontoon gives to the player a host of bonuses and favourable rules.

The following rules are consistent to Pontoon, across Australia.

  • Dealer hits soft 17.
  • Double after split allowed.
  • Dealer does not take a hole card.
  • Player may double on 9 to 11 only. If player were to double on a soft hand, the ace would be forced to count as 1.
  • Player may take “late surrender.” If the dealer has a ten or ace up, a laminated marker saying “surrender” will be put on the player’s bet. In the event the dealer gets a blackjack, the player will lose the entire bet.
  • A player 21 or blackjack wins immediately.
  • Player may surrender after doubling, known as “double down rescue.” The player forfeits an amount equal to his original bet. The surrender is adjudicated immediately, so it is like early surrender.
  • A five-card 21 pays 3 to 2, a six-card 21 pays 2 to 1, a seven-or-more-card-21 pays 3 to 1. However, the bonuses are not paid if the player doubled.
  • A 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 of mixed suits pays 3 to 2, of the same suit pays 2 to 1, and of spades pays 3 to 1. These bonuses do not pay after doubling.
  • Suited 7-7-7, when the dealer has a seven face up, pays $1000 for bets of $5-$24 and $5000 for bets of $25 or over. In addition, all other players receive a $50 “envy bonus.” This bonus does not pay after doubling or splitting.

The European no-hole-card rule strongly favours the player in Pontoon. This is because a player 21 automatically wins, even if the dealer gets a blackjack. In American Spanish 21, the dealer blackjack beats anything except a player blackjack, depressing the player’s odds.

Dealing the Cards, the Bets and the Pairs

 Surrender the Bet

You may surrender half your original bet on your first two cards if the dealer’s first card is a Jack, Queen, King or Ace. You indicate this decision to the dealer by knocking gently next to the bet with a closed fist. The dealer will place a marker button on top of your original bet and no further cards will be dealt to that hand.

Doubling the Bet

You may double your original bet on any hand with a total of less than 21 made up of two or more cards (excluding Pontoon). This also includes any split pair except Aces. If you elect to double, you place an additional bet equal to your original bet. You will then receive one additional card on that hand.

An Ace in the initial point total of any double always has a point value of 1 not 11. You may, after receiving the additional card, elect to forfeit. You may forfeit your original bet to the house but retain the amount that you placed for the double and take no further part in that round of play.

To indicate to the dealer you wish to forfeit, simply move your finger in a scratching motion towards you. If you do not wish to forfeit, move your hand in a horizontal cut-off motion. All winning doubled wagers will be paid at odds of 1 to 1 and are not eligible for the payout odds and Super Bonus odds as set out in Tables 1 and 2.

Splitting Pairs

If your first two cards have the same point value, you may ask the dealer to split your hand to form two separate hands, by betting an amount equal to the original bet.
Each hand will be played and completed in turn. At least one card will be dealt to each hand and you may double on the hands formed.
If you split Aces, only one card is dealt to each Ace. If you split pairs and a 10-point card is dealt to an Ace or vice versa, the hand is treated as 21 and is not eligible to be treated as Pontoon.


Whenever the first card dealt to the dealer is an Ace, the dealer will announce, “Insurance” or “Surrender”, and you may make an insurance bet in case the dealer makes Pontoon.
An insurance bet may be made by placing an amount not more than half of your original bet on the ‘Insurance’ line of the table layout. All insurance bets must be placed prior to any players receiving a third card. An insurance bet will win only if the dealer makes Pontoon and is paid at odds of 2 to 1.

In the event that you have Pontoon, the dealer will pay your Pontoon at odds of 3 to 2 and remove your cards, prior to any players receiving a third card.

In the event that the dealer achieves Pontoon and you have placed additional bets through the split and/or double option (where you have not elected to forfeit), the dealer will only take an amount equal to your original bet from the remaining bets on each box. In the event that the dealer achieves Pontoon, the surrender option is void and the dealer will take the whole bet.

Super Bonus

A player having three 7s of the same suit where the dealer’s first card is any 7 will win the Super Bonus. The Super Bonus does not apply where hands have been split or doubled.

All other players who wagered on the round of play in which there is a Super Bonus winner will receive a bonus payment of $50. This bonus is awarded per player, regardless of the number of bets each player placed on that round of play.

Perfect Pairs

Perfect Pairs is an optional side bet offered on certain Pontoon tables. The concept of the bet is simple. A Perfect Pairs bet wins if the first two cards dealt to a Pontoon hand are a pair and loses if they are not a pair. A Perfect Pairs bet is made prior to the initial deal. There are three different types of pairs and the payout odds vary accordingly.

To play Perfect Pairs simply place a bet in the Perfect Pairs area in front of the Pontoon box. You are not required to make an initial wager on the Pontoon hand, but there must be at least one regular Pontoon bet placed on the Pontoon box before a Perfect Pairs wager can be made and the cards drawn to that hand. A maximum of three Perfect Pairs wagers will be permitted per Pontoon box and preference will given to players who have also placed a wager on the Pontoon hand for that box.

All bets must be placed before any cards are dealt and you can only place one Perfect Pairs bet for each Pontoon hand in the round of play. If the first two cards dealt to the Pontoon hand are a pair, you win! For the purposes of playing Perfect Pairs a pair is a hand where the first two cards dealt, in the initial deal only.

Variations of Pontoon

Pontoon has a large number of fixed rules and conventions, This game is more prominent in Australia. There are certain level of minor differences introduced by each Australia’s casinos.

Federal Pontoon

Played in Tasmania in the Country Club Casino and Wrest Point Casino, the name is derived from the casino owners, the Federal Group. It is playable only in the public section of Wrest Point Casino, and not in the VIP area.

  • Eight decks, dealt from a shoe.
  • BB+1 (Busted Bet’s Plus One).
  • Splitting up to three times allowed, with the exception of Aces.

Jupiter’s 21 Pontoon

Played in Queensland at Jupiter’s Casino, thus the name Jupiter’s 21.

  • Four decks used, dealt by a continuous shuffling machine.
  • BB+1 (Busted Bet’s Plus One).
  • No re-splits permitted.

Treasury 21 Pontoon

Played in Queensland at the Treasury Casino.

  • Six decks, dealt by a shoe in VIP area, and a continuous shuffling machine in the public area.
  • BB+1 (Busted Bet’s Plus One).
  • No re-splits are permitted.


Pontoon have appealing and massive bonuses. The game often awards special payouts based on the number of cards in your hand, as well as certain special combinations.

  • If you reach 21 with a five-card hand, the payout is 3 to 2.
  • If you reach 21 with a six-card hand, the payout is 2 to 1.
  • If you reach 21 with a seven-card hand or more, the payout is 3 to 1.
  • If you reach 21 with a Six, Seven, Eight combination, or with three Sevens, the payout is 3 to 2 for mixed suits, 2 to 1 for same suit, and 3 to 1 for Spades.
  • If you reach 21 with three Sevens and the dealer’s up-card is also a Seven, the payout is $1000 for bets of $5 to $24, and $5000 for any bets made over $25, while all other players on the table receive an ‘envy bonus’ of $50.
  • If you win the game with any other hand combination, it is an even-money payout (1:1).

These aforementioned bonuses do not pay after doubling down; if you manage to draw three Sevens with the dealer’s face up card of Seven, the bonus does not pay out for both doubling or splitting.

House Edge

Pontoon offers some of the best house edge for the player of any blackjack variant game. While the removal of the 10-valued cards out of the 52-card Spanish decks favours the house, the bonus payouts, flexibility in surrendering, and the fact a player’s hand of 21 is paid out immediately, regardless of what the dealer has, makes the game significantly advantageous to the player.


CasinoDecks UsedNo Hole Card RulesMaximum Splits AllowedHouse Edge
AdelaideEightENHCOne (no Ace splits)0.64%
CanberraFourBB+1One (no Ace splits)0.34%
MalaysiaEightOBBOTwo (Ace splits allowed)0.49%
Melbourne and TasmaniaEightBB+12 (no Ace splits)0.38%
PerthEightENHC2 (Ace splits allowed)0.38%
QueenslandSixBB+1One (no Ace splits)0.40%
SydneyEightBB+1One (no Ace splits)0.42%