Basic Rules in Playing Pontoon
One of the exciting games that you will find in online casinos is pontoon. This game is a variation of blackjack. But unlike blackjack, pontoon allows you to double your bet while you get an additional card. Another is that pontoon pays 2 to 1 while blackjack pays 3 to 2. Know the rest of pontoon rules before you start aiming for huge payouts out of this card game variant.
1 │ Cards and Objective
Pontoon is a hand that contains any card with a value of 10 and an Ace. In this game, your objective is to beat the banker’s cards by having a pontoon or a hand value that is higher than the banker’s but does not exceed 21.
The game is played with five to eight players, depending on your chosen pontoon game. For a maximum of eight players, the game uses the standard 52-card deck. Below are the cards included in the game and their values:
- Ace – This card is worth 1 or 11, depending on the card holder.
- King, Queen, Jack, and 10 – Each of these cards is equivalent to 10.
- 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 – Each of these cards is worth its numerical value.
The banker will give you and every other player a face-down card. You will all need to make a bet and wait for your second card before you can check the value of your hands. As mentioned, your objective is to get a sure win by having a 10 card and an Ace or a hand value higher than the banker’s without going over 21. Another way for you to win is when you have a five-card trick, which is a set of five cards that have a total of 21 or close to that number.
2 │ Make a Hit
When you hit, you are asking for another card — oftentimes because you are not satisfied with your hand. You are allowed to hit up to three times, meaning there is a possibility for you to hold up to five cards. But do take note that you need to add to your wager every time you make a hit.
If you want to ask for a third card, the rule is that you cannot bet twice the amount of your initial bet. For instance, your initial bet is 7 and you decide to add a third card. You can add any amount to your stake as long as your additional bet is not more than 14.
But if you have received the third card and the total of your card value is still lesser than 21, you can buy your fourth card. This time, when you add funds to your wager, the amount should be between your initial stake and your last additional bet. In this case, if your original bet was 7 and you added 12 chips when you bought your third card, then you can add only an amount between 7 and 12 when you are buying your fourth card. The same goes when you buy your fifth card.
3 │ Splitting Cards
You have the option to hold two hands at the same time by splitting your cards. It is important to note that you can split only the cards with the same values. For instance, you have two Queens of Hearts. To split your cards, simply face up the two cards, and then place another bet to your new hand equal to your initial wager. Then, the banker will give you a face-down card for each of your hands.
In case you receive another set of cards with the same values, you have the option to split them again, which gives you four separate hands that you can play in a round. Most players do this because having multiple hands at a round can give them more chances of winning the round. Even better, you are allowed to hold as many hands as you want unless stated by your chosen pontoon game.
4 │ Twist and Stick
To twist is to ask for another card from the banker. You will do this option when your total card value less than 21. Although you might confuse this with hitting, twisting is asking for a new card without adding funds to your bet. You are allowed to twist up to five times and even after you have split your cards. However, it is important to note that you cannot hit when you already twist.
On the other hand, when you stick, you play just with your hand. This option will not allow you to ask for another card or to change your stake. The best time to do this is when your hand is worth 15 or more.
5 │ The Banker’s Cards
Once all players are done with their turns, the banker will reveal his cards. All players’ cards are no longer visible when this happens, except for players who decided to split or twist. The banker has the option to add more cards or to stick. In the event that the Banker decides to add another card and exceeds 21, he loses.
But if the banker decides to stick, he will pay the players with a higher card value than his cards and he will collect the funds of those who have an equal or lesser card value. And in case the banker is successful in using the five-card trick, only players who have pontoon are paid double.
6 │ New Game
There can be cases when neither the player nor the banker gets a pontoon. If this happens, the banker will collect all the used cards and place them at the bottom of the pack without shuffling. However, if the game has a pontoon, all the cards will be shuffled and cut before the next round begins.
7 │ Other Pontoon Variations
Since pontoon is a popular online game, developers have decided to create different variations that can add thrill to your gaming sessions. Here are some of the popular pontoon variations:
- In some pontoon games, when you already have four cards with a total of 11 or less, you cannot buy a fifth card. You can, however, twist.
- You have the option to burn your cards. This means that you will ask for a new set of cards, discarding your previous hand. You can do this only when you have a hard 13.
- In one variant of pontoon, if you have three 7s, you have a royal pontoon. This card combination beats all cards and is worth treble stakes.
Playing a game is ten times better when you know the rules by heart. Now that you are familiar with the different pontoon rules, consider checking out HappiStar’s pontoon game. Make sure that you apply these rules for you to have a big chance of winning rounds.