Getting Started with Pontoon

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If you’ve played Blackjack, you can probably skip this tutorial and check out one of the other articles on this site about Pontoon.

This article will assume you don’t know anything about the game. The goal is to get you up and playing within minutes from now.

Pontoon is generally played with two decks of cards and those decks are shuffled after every hand. To start playing, you must put a wager down.

Once all bets are in, the hand begins with each player and the dealer receiving two cards. The cards are worth their face value. For instance, the two of clubs is worth two. All face cards are worth 10 and the Ace can be one or 11-your choice.

The goal is technically to beat the dealer. However, the usual goal listed in books is to get as close to 21 without going over. So, keep that in mind when you start to play.

When it’s your turn, you have various options. First, if you like your hand as is, just stand, which means to end your turn for the hand.

Should your hand need some work, you can take a hit, which means to take one card. If your hand is 21 or less, you can then hit again or stand. If your hand goes over 21, you bust and you lose. This is why the dealer goes last. It gives the casino an edge.

If you have 5 cards and have 21 or less, you’ll win unless the dealer does the same thing. It’s important to note that the dealer wins all ties.

When you stand with 4 or fewer cards, your hand count must beat the dealer’s hand count. The dealer will hit on soft 17, which means a 17 that was created using an Ace.

I can’t stress this enough. The dealer wins all ties. Think about this when you’re playing. Should the dealer have 21 or less with five cards, you lose-period.

Another option you have it splitting. If your first two cards are the same, such as 7,7 or Q,Q, you can split them and make two separate hands-adding another wager of equal value to your original bet.

Your last option when it’s your turn is doubling. You’ve probably heard “double down” a billion times. Well, in Pontoon, you can double down. When you double down, you increase your wager and draw another card. In Pontoon, you can hit after doubling too.

The payouts are pretty simple. If you win with a two-card 21, which is called a Pontoon, you get paid 2-1. So, a $10 wager earns $20. Another way to earn a 2-1 payout is by having a five-card hand and being at 21 or under.

All other winning hands pay even money. And there you have it. Pontoon the easy way.

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