I bet if you walked into casino in Las Vegas, you’d find that 90% or more of the players have no clue what Pontoon is. Do you?
The odds are, you know how to play the game and don’t even know it. Do you know how to play Blackjack? If so, you’ll pick up Pontoon in seconds, because they are pretty much the same there. There are some slight differences.
In Pontoon, like Blackjack, the object is to come as close to 21 as possible without going over. Of course, the real object is to beat the dealer-even if that means standing on a lower hand like 13.
The game is played with two decks of cards and those two decks are re-shuffled after every hand. Now, be careful here. A casino can do whatever they want usually, so they might reshuffle after every two hands or something different.
All players and the dealer receive two initial cards. With each hand, you must decide if you want to take another card or stand with what you have. Since I’m assuming you have some Blackjack knowledge, I’m not going to go into intricate details with these moves. I’ll do that in another article.
If your cards equal 22 or more, you lose. Once all the players have played, the dealer takes his or her turn. Like Blackjack, the dealer will hit on soft 17-some casinos may be different and have the dealer hit a soft 17, but not likely.
Here’s a huge kicker in this game; the dealer wins all pushes (ties). This is a great reason for the house to have dealers stand on 17. The dealer also wins if he or she has five or more cards that total under 21.
As the player, you can win if you get five or more cards and haven’t busted-unless the dealer gets five or more cards and has under 21 too.
The card values are the same as Blackjack. A 7 of clubs is worth 7 points. An Ace can be used as 1 or 11. Face cards are worth ten.
Here’s another interesting-and profitable-difference. When your first two cards equal 21, it’s called a “Pontoon” and not a “Blackjack.” In Blackjack, this pays 1.5 to 1, but in Pontoon, you get paid 2-1. That’s a nice increase in your pay.
And just when you thought that was as good as it gets, here’s another big payout difference. If you win by having five or fewer cards that total 21 or less, you get paid 2-1 as well. So, there’s two ways to score a 2-1 payment in Pontoon.
If you like Blackjack, give Pontoon a crack. You might like it.