Blackjack guide - Pontoon

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Pontoon is an early British blackjack variation. In spite of the resemblance with the traditional blackjack (regarding some rules), there are some distinguishing features in Pontoon which make this game very exciting and challenging.

The number of players in Pontoon can vary from at least two to eight maximum. The game is played with eight decks of cards. The card values in Pontoon coincide with the ones of traditional blackjack. An Ace is equal to 1 or to 11, a Queen is equal to 10 and etc. We can easily recognize the features of regular blackjack. Here we see the same objectives and the same goal – to get the total of 21, but not more than that. The dealer still has an incontestable privilege – he wins the ties.

Pontoon has its own vocabulary. To "twist" means to "hit" in other blackjack types, when you twist you take another card. To "stick" is to "stand" meaning you don’t want to take another card. To "buy" means to double down.

The hands value in a descending line:

Pontoon – it is a total of 21, formed by two cards: an Ace + a K\Q\J\10;
Five Card Trick – a 21 or less, made of five cards, for example, 8-3-4-2-1/ 5-2-3-4-7; payout is 2:1.
Three cards making total of 21 – can beat all the hands, except the above mentioned ones;
Less than 21 – the hands consisting of less than five cards;
Bust – hands exceeding a total of 21;

First of all, the cards are dealt faced-down by the dealer, each player receives a card. The player sitting to the left of the dealer receives the card first. The cards are dealt in a clockwise order, all the participants of the game can view their first card except the dealer. The dealer gets his card (which is faced down) in the last turn, right after all the players have received their cards. Having bet, each player receives the second card, as well as the dealer himself. Having got the Pontoon the dealer immediately declares it and the game is over.

The players can split two similar cards (5-5, 8-8, etc.). They can split two times to make three hands. Besides, any player can buy the cards, not more than three. If Aces are split, only one card can be bought after that.

The player must twist on any hand with the total less than 15, and not a Five Card Trick. The dealer must stick on all 17.

A total exceeding 21 means you should throw your cards, then the dealer takes your stake. The dealer's cards get turned up after each player makes his moves. The dealer can take up five cards maximum, all the cards are faced up, then he gets satisfied and can stay or be busted.

Having Five Card Trick the dealer should pay double just to those players who have Pontoons, the rest lose. A hand with less than Five Card Trick at the dealer means he should pay equal to the higher hands (for example, 18 with 4 cards), and double Five Card Tricks and Pontoons. Having been busted the dealer should pay to each player that hasn't been busted.

In the land-based casinos at the end of a round all the cards get collected and shuffled and if anybody (the players or the dealer) had Pontoon the next round begins. Otherwise (if nobody had a Pontoon) the cards are not shuffled. A player with Pontoon (if the dealer doesn't have Pontoon) should become a new dealer. If there are several players with Pontoons and there is a tie, then that one becomes a dealer, who is sitting next to the dealer's left.