Pontoon, a variation on Blackjack

By: Hubert Mateusz    

Blackjack game

Pontoon in play with a game of Blackjack

Pontoon is the British version of the game blackjack, and has some noticeable differences when the two games are compared.

The basic rules of pontoon are, the same rules as blackjack. aces are valued at 1 or 11, dependent upon the player's choice, picture cards are worth 10, and the remaining cards are valued to the same number on each card's face.

In Pontoon you can achieve Pontoon, (the same as a natural blackjack, an ace and a picture card) or a Five Card Charlie (you have 5 cards in your hand with a total of less than 21). A Five Card Charlie automatically beats the dealers hand, even if it is Pontoon.

Pontoon allows you to double at any time during the game, and still continue to hit. Players must 'hit' when their cards come to a total that is 14 or less. As well as this, when the dealer's hand ties with your hand this means the dealer wins. This also applies for when the dealer's hand equates to Pontoon or a Five Card Charlie, the dealer will automatically beat the other players.

You have the option to split your hand, when your hand is less than 15, and this means you can play two hands and hit on each hand to increase your chances of reaching pontoon or as close to 21 as possible. Other options include buying a card, which means you increase your stake and receive another card, or twisting which is simply receiving another card, which does not require an increase in stake. If a hand ever reaches over 21 then you will automatically be 'bust' and out of the game and will need to place your cards, face up, in the middle of the table.

Bets and Payouts
Minimum and maximum bets that can be placed will be established before the game begins, players are not allowed to bet outside of the established boundaries. Bankers who achieve a hand of Pontoon will collect double from all players, despite what their hands are.

If the dealers hand reaches over 21 then the players are paid out an amount that is the same as their stake, as long as they have not gone bust. Those who have a Five Card Charlie or have a natural Pontoon will receive double their payout.

If the dealer has a number under 21 in their hand, to win you must have a number bigger than 19, the dealer will then pay out to these players. The dealer will also pay out double to those that have Five Card Charlie or Pontoon, all others will need to pay the dealer double. Pontoon offers a fun variation with some different rules for those bored with the usual game of blackjack.


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