Play Pontoon: What are the basic rules and strategies to win?

Do you want to learn how to play Pontoon? Pontoon is a variant with only a few notable differences from the standard rules of Blackjack.

Do you enjoy gambling and playing cards at the same time? If so, then the Pontoon card game should be your first pick. Do you want to learn how to play Pontoon? Then, you are at the right place. Together let us find out what are the basic rules and strategies to win this game.

What is Pontoon?

Pontoon is a Blackjack variant with only a few notable differences from the standard rules, making it an exciting mix of luck and strategy. It’s a five-card version of Blackjack in which the goal is to acquire a total card score of 21 or higher without falling bust and defeat the dealer. In a tie, the bankers usually come out on top. It’s preferable to play with 5-8 players to get the most out of this game. However, you can still play it with as few as two.

The pontoon card game gained popularity in the United Kingdom before spreading to the United States. Pontoon is a British variation of the popular card game 21 and the American card game Blackjack. The game’s name, Pontoon, is derived from the French Vingt-et-un, which means 21.

How to play the Pontoon card game?
How to play the Pontoon card game?

Notably, you can only play this game at an online casino wherein RealTime Gaming widely distributed this game. Betsoft, Playtech, and Microgaming also developed their variation of Pontoon.

This casino card game uses a standard 52 deck of cards. The players are expected to hit any hand with a value of 14 or less. There is also a separate value hand that’s lower than a Blackjack. This hand is known as “Pontoon”. On the other hand, splitting Aces only get one card. To compensate, the dealer is on soft 17.

Because Pontoon has an odd rule, there are many strategy changes in this Blackjack variation. Before you play, make sure you understand the Pontoon basic strategy. Below, we go through everything as well as the changes in Pontoon.

Play Pontoon: What are the key rules and features?

Pontoon is a version of the traditional Blackjack game in which the goal is to get as near to 21 as possible without going over. But now the differences begin! The dealer’s first two cards are dealt face down on the table. Also, he can peek at the cards except you. You can place up to five distinct bets in this game, which uses eight card decks. Furthermore, only two card situations can beat the classic 21 Blackjack.

The first is to get a Pontoon, which consists of an Ace and a 10-valued card combination. Alternatively, is to get a 5 Card Charlie. A 5-card Charlie means that you are holding any five cards without busting. Thus, it will make you a winner. The dealer must hit on soft 17 and stand on hard 17. On the other hand, the player must have a hand of at least 15 to stand. You can split and double, however, you cannot wager on an insurance bet because it is not available.

What are the key rules when you play Pontoon?
What are the key rules when you play Pontoon?

A Pontoon pays out 2:1 and beats every other hand. The 5-Card-Trick comes in second, with the same payout as the Pontoon and beating all other hands aside from the Pontoon.

Additionally, this game features fantastic graphics. Also, it features a super intuitive touch that allows even the most inexperienced player to navigate the game easily and swiftly. Furthermore, you will be offered clear options based on your hand. This includes Hit, Double, Split, and Stand. If you are an impatient player, Pontoon also offers a Fast Play option for you. Notably, the entire atmosphere may be changed with the help of five different Pontoon table colors. 

Pontoon Basic Strategy: When to make the best move possible?

Pontoon has a high RTP of 99.6 percent as well as a low house edge of 0.38 percent. That is why this card game is one of the most popular games in online casinos in Singapore today.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of this game, you can always check the Pontoon Strategy Chart. The idea is very simple, all you have to do is connect the row and column that matches the total of your hand as well as the number of cards. Then, follow the recommended action for that particular situation. As a beginner, you can use a Pontoon Strategy Chart to get the most out of your consulting.

In most cases, making decisions based on strategy charts is effective. However, it is important to note that the house edge still exists, even if it’s been reduced to its bare minimum. This means that even if you follow the “cheat sheet” instructions, you could still lose.

As a result, our recommendation is to trust your gut and, above all, to take advantage of a lucrative bonus offer by Singapore online casinos. Meanwhile, you can also try playing the Pontoon free online game. This free demo version will help you get hold of the game and hone your Pontoon betting skills.

How to play Pontoon: What are the initial stakes and the deal?

First, the banker deals one card facing down to each player. Then, it will start with the player from the dealer’s left. Next, it will go round the table and finishes with the dealer. Except for the banker, all players can check their cards.

The players other than the banker now make their initial wagers in front of them. It will start with the player to the dealer’s left and working their way around clockwise. Before the game begins, the minimum and maximum initial bets must be agreed upon. Thus, each player may bet any amount within these limitations but must bet at least the minimum.

The dealer now gives each player a second card, face down, and all players then examine their two cards. If the banker possesses a Pontoon, it is revealed instantly, and the banker receives double the amount staked from each player.

Play Pontoon: The Players’ Turns

When the banker does not have a pontoon, the players take turns. It will start with the player to the dealer’s left and work clockwise. Here, all players need to try to strengthen their hands by gaining extra cards. When it’s your turn, you can choose from the following options:

Declaring a Pontoon

Do you have an Ace and a 10-point card? Well, you don’t have to blurt out that you have a Pontoon. You can announce that you have a Pontoon by placing your ten-point card facing down on the table while your Ace is facing up on top of it.

Play Pontoon: Splitting your cards        

Do you have two cards with the same rank? If you, you can split them into two hands by placing them face-up on the table. Then, place your second stake equal to your first.

The banker then deals another card face down to each of your hands. Here, you can play each hand one at a time with different stakes. If either of the new cards given is the same value as the original two, you can split again. Thus, you can create three or even four unique hands, each with its stake. When you play Pontoon, it is worth noting that you can only split two ten-point cards if they’re exactly equal. For example, you can split two queens, but cannot split a queen and a jack.

Buying a card

Does the total value of your cards less than 21? If you, you can buy another card by saying “I’ll buy one”. Then, you must increase your bet by at least equal to or not more than twice your initial bet. For example, your initial bet is 6. Then, you could add to any amount from 6 to 12, making your maximum bet a total of 18.

In Pontoon, how to buy a card?
In Pontoon, how to buy a card?

After that, the dealer gives you another card, this time facing down. If your total is still less than 21, you may again buy a fourth card. Then, increases your bet by any amount between your initial bet and the amount you already added.

So, if your initial wager was 6, and you purchased a third card for 10, you can purchase a fourth card for any price between 6 and 10. If your four cards still don’t add up to 21, you can buy another one in the same way.

Play Pontoon: Twist        

You may say “Twist me one” if your total hand value is less than 21. The dealer delivers you one card face up to add to your hand. Unlike when you buy a card, your bet remains unchanged. If your total is still less than 21, you can request a fourth and fifth card to be twisted in the same manner.


You may say “stick” if the total worth of your cards is at least 15. Then, you can keep the cards you have at the same time your bet remains the same, and it is now the turn of the next hand to play.

When your hand exceeds the total of 21 at any point during the game, then you are bust. If this happens, you must instantly toss your hand facing up. Then, the banker removes your stake and adds your cards to the bottom of the pack.

You can start by buying one or more cards and then twisting them. Notably, once you’ve asked for a card to be twisted, you can’t buy any more cards. Instead, you can only twist them.

You have a Five Card Trick when your hand reaches five cards without going over 21. Thus, you are not allowed to take any more cards.

When your total hand worth is at least 15 but not more than 21, you can choose to stay. It means you can keep your cards and bet while the turn passes on to the following hand.

When you split your hand, you can play the two hands one after the other. Once the first hand has stuck or gone bust, then you move on to the second.

Pontoon or Blackjack: The Banker’s Turn   

The banker’s two cards are turned face up after all players had their turns. The cards of the other players will be hidden at this round, unless they have split, twisted, get busted, or declared Pontoons.

By dealing them face up one at a time, the banker can add extra cards to the initial two cards. When the banker is pleased with the hand, he or she can stay, That is, he stops dealing and play with the dealt cards. The following are probable outcomes:

Play Pontoon: The dealer went busted  

When the dealt card of the dealer goes above 21, the dealer loses. Then, he will pay all players who haven’t gone bust. The amount will be equal to the sum of their bet. A player with a Pontoon or Five Card Trick hand will receive a double amount of their bet.

The dealer stays on 21 or below, with four or fewer cards

Any Pontoon player with a higher value hand than the dealer receives an amount equal to their bet. While those with equal or less will receive nothing. In addition, the player with Five Card Tricks and Pontoons receives twice their bet.

For example, the dealer stays on 18, he will say “paying 19”. The players then reveal their cards, with those with 19 or more wins. Whereas, those with Pontoons and Five Card Tricks winning twice as much, and the rest of the players losing.

What happens when the dealer stays on 21 and with fewer cards?
What happens when the dealer stays on 21 and with fewer cards?

Furthermore, if the dealer makes 21, he will only pay players with Pontoons and Five Card Tricks. Thus, it makes no difference if you have 2, 3, or 4 cards unless you have a Pontoon or a Five Card Trick. The value of 19 in two cards is precisely the same as the value of 19 in four cards.

Play Pontoon: The dealer got a Five Card Trick

When the dealer makes a Five Card Trick, he will only pay the players with Pontoons. Thus, any player with a Pontoon receives double their stake from the dealer. Everyone else loses double their stake to the dealer. It means even if you have a Five Card Trick, you lose as well.

 Play Pontoon FAQs:

What is the best hand at the Pontoon casino card game? 

A 21 game card is the best possible hand in Pontoon. For example, you obtain an Ace and a ten-value card. In Pontoon, the next best hand is a five-card trick, which consists of five cards with a total value of equal to or less than 21.

Is Pontoon the same as Blackjack?

Pontoon is a version of the traditional Blackjack game in which the goal is to get as near to 21 as possible without going over. In contrast to Blackjack, Pontoon allows players to “double down” or “buy” before choosing a “twist”. In addition, it also allows its players to “double down” with more than two cards. Whereas, Blackjack only allows players to “double down” with the first two cards.

Is it possible to beat Pontoon with a five-card trick?

No, the only way a Pontoon loses is when there is a tie between the banker and the Pontoon.

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