Pontoon is a variant of Blackjack, and it's also knows as “British Blackjack". It has several terms of its own, and a little differences from the well known American Blackjack, but it's very similar in its basis.
This article explains the basic rules of Pontoon and the differences between Pontoon and the better known Blackjack.
The game of Pontoon is a variant of Blackjack. The cards in Pontoon are valued in the same way as in Blackjack. To play pontoon, players are each dealt 2 cards. After viewing their cards they have several options. Many of these options are the same as in Blackjack, but the terminology is slightly different. If the player wants to receive another card, they call ‘twist’ rather than ‘hit’. If they don’t want any more cards they call ‘stick’ instead of ‘stand’.
The winning hand ranks also differ very slightly from Blackjack. The best hand - a ‘Pontoon’ - is a hand with a total card value of 21 made up only from an ace and a picture card or ten. The next best hand is called a ‘five card trick’. This is any selection of 5 cards that amount to 21 or less. The third best type of hand is three or four cards worth 21. After that, hands as close as possible (without exceeding) 21 are best – the closer to 21 the better. Any hands that exceed 21 points are bust, and therefore worthless.
An interesting difference between Pontoon and Blackjack is the option to increase your bet with each new card you are dealt. Instead of calling ‘twist’ you may say ‘buy one’ and before receiving your additional card, you can increase your original stake by an amount of at least your original bet and not more than double that amount (For example, if your original bet was $5, you can buy the next card for anywhere between $5 and $10).
Pontoon Srategy and Tips
Given the similarities between Blackjack and Pontoon , the strategies and tips for winning are also the same for both of the games. As always, practice, and respecting your own financial and time limits are the keys to an enjoyable and more likely successful game.