Pontoon is a card game that is often considered a variant of blackjack. It shares many similarities with traditional blackjack but has distinct rules and terminology. Pontoon is popular in the UK, Australia, and other Commonwealth countries and offers a slightly different challenge for those familiar with conventional blackjack.

  1. Basic Rules: The fundamental objective in Pontoon, similar to blackjack, is to have a hand totaling as close to 21 as possible without exceeding it. The game is typically played with standard decks of 52 cards.
  2. Terminology Differences: In Pontoon, some of the terminology is different from traditional blackjack. For example, ‘hit’ is referred to as ‘twist’, ‘stand’ as ‘stick’, and a blackjack (an Ace and a 10-value card) is called a ‘pontoon’.
  3. Payouts: A key difference in Pontoon is the payout structure. A pontoon (Ace and a 10-value card) typically pays 2 to 1, which is more favorable than the 3 to 2 payout in traditional blackjack.
  4. Five Card Trick: Another unique feature of Pontoon is the ‘Five Card Trick’. This occurs when a player draws five cards without busting, totaling 21 or less. The Five Card Trick is ranked second only to a pontoon and usually pays 2 to 1.
  5. Dealer’s Cards: In Pontoon, both of the dealer’s cards are dealt face down, increasing the house’s edge as players make decisions without any knowledge of the dealer’s hand.
  6. Player Decisions: Players in Pontoon can twist (hit), stick (stand), or buy (double down). Doubling down in Pontoon can be done with more than two cards, which is not allowed in traditional blackjack.
  7. No Push: In Pontoon, there is no push; if there is a tie, the dealer wins. This rule increases the house edge compared to blackjack.
  8. Strategy: Due to these rule differences, the optimal strategy for Pontoon differs from that of blackjack. Players need to adjust their approach, particularly considering the lack of information about the dealer’s hand and the more aggressive payout structure.
  9. Variations: There are various versions of Pontoon, and rules can vary between casinos and regions. It’s important for players to be familiar with the specific rules of the game they are playing.