This game can be played by 2 or more players and is termed as the British version of the Blackjack game. This is quite popular in British and Australian Casinos but has also become available to casinos in Malaysia and Singapore. The 21 is referred to as the pontoon. If the players are more than 8, it is time to get out the second deck of cards. Online casinos play with 6-8 decks to accommodate any number of players.
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Difference Between Pontoon and Regular Blackjack
In pontoon, the player has to place a bet with both cards facing down while in Blackjack only one card will be facing down.
Pontoon has the 5 card trick which allows you to beat a hand with equal value but fewer cards.
How to Play Pontoon
Each player should form a hand that has a value of 21 and not more. The player who cuts the highest card is selected as the first banker who has an advantage. In each hand, every player bets on having a hand that is better than that of the banker.
- The best hand of all is the Pontoon. This is achieved with 2 cards totaling to a value of 21 which is usually an Ace and a 10 or a picture card.
- Coming in second is a 5 card trick; all 5 should total to a maximum value of 21.
- In third place is a hand of 3 or 4 cards with a value of 21. This beats everything else except the two mentioned above.
- Hands with a value of 20 or less and consisting of less than 5 cards rank in the order of their value.
- Any hand worth more than a value of 21 is a bust.
The trick is if the banker and a player have cards of equal value, the banker wins.
Declare a Pontoon
This is done by placing your 10-point card facing down and your Ace facing up.
Split Your Cards
Place both cards of the same value face up, place another bet and get dealt a set of new cards.
Buy a Card
If your value is still less than 21 you can “buy” one to ensure your value totals to 21.
Twist a Card
Once you twist a card, you can no longer buy.
Dealings and Stakes Involved
The banker will deal each player a card facing down starting from their left and moving around the table. Once each player has taken a look at their cards they can start placing their bets. This is done after all players have agreed on the minimum and maximum initial bets.
Playing Shoot Pontoon
This modified pontoon game can be traced back to the mid-1950s in Britain. A kitty is formed by the banker; the players get to bet on their first cards then make a shoot bet. All shoot bets made cannot exceed the amount in the kitty. Shoot bets are not mandatory for all players.