Learn to Play Pontoon With a Quick and Easy Lesson

May 3, 2013


If you're a fan of blackjack, then you'll absolutely love pontoon. Pontoon is a game that works a lot like blackjack because it happens to be the predecessor to blackjack. You can play this game at online casinos powered by some of the most popular software in the world including Microgaming, Playtech, Realtime Gaming, Cryptologic and more. While there are similarities to blackjack, it would be a big mistake to just jump right in and try to play like you would in a blackjack game. There is enough of a difference in the games to create specific strategies that are needed to have good chances of winning in pontoon, and we're going to give you an idea of what those strategies are.

In pontoon, there is no dealer up card and the dealer wins if there's a push. However, you can win a 2:1 payout with either a pontoon (two cards that make 21, like a blackjack) or a hand that has five cards without going bust. All five-card hands like this beat any other hand that's not a five-card hand or a pontoon no matter what the totals are. Other than this, you mostly have the same options to hit, stand, split or double like you do in blackjack with the object of trying to get close to 21 without going over.

Since there's no dealer card, strategy is relatively simple in pontoon since you play all hands the same. The important information is your hand's total and how many cards you have. The more cards you have, the more you should be willing to be aggressive to try to make a five-card hand. If you have four cards and a total of 16 and lower, then you should always double. Hit with four cards if you have a total of 17, and stand otherwise.

You should double if you have a total of 10 or 11. You can also double with a total of nine if you have three cards, but don't if you only have two. In general, you'll hit any hands 14 and under that you don't double. You should always split aces and you should always split eights in this game as well. Other than that, strategy for pontoon isn't too difficult to learn. You just have to pay attention to the number of cards you have instead of relying on the strength of the dealer's card to make a decision about how to play your hand.