Master the secrets of Pontoon, the popular blackjack variation, with the official rules and start beating the house by playng with our Pontoon strategy tips

Pontoon is a fun variation of the popular casino game Blackjack available at many CasinoSmash partner sites. The game of pontoon and its name are derived from the French Vingt-et-un (Twenty-one). The object of the game is to get as close to 21 as you can without going over (busting).

When playing online pontoon, the player must place a wager. Once the wager is made, the player is dealt two cards face up and the dealer is dealt two cards face down. All face cards are valued at ten and all other cards have their face value, except for Ace, which can be 1 or 11. If at the end of twisting and sticking, the player's hand is closer to 21 than the dealer's, the player's wager is paid out at 1:1. If the player goes over 21, the wager is lost. If the dealer goes over 21, the player's wager is paid out at 1:1.

Terms and Rules:

* Twist – The player must twist if they have a total of 14 or less, otherwise they may stick if they wish to do so. They cannot twist if they have five-card 21 or under – the online casino software recognizes that the player has a Five Card Trick.

* Stick – The player can stick if they have 15 or over, or if they have a Five Card Trick.

* Buy – The player can buy any time but only once per hand. They can twist after buying until they stick or bust. If they split their hand, they can buy once for each hand, after which they can twist or stick.

* Split – If the player has two cards of equal rank or value, they can split their cards to create two hands, which will be played separately. The player can split up to a maximum of two times. If they split Aces, they can twist and buy (unlike in regular blackjack).

* Pontoon – Before any player action, the dealer will peek (check the dealer cards) for pontoon. If the dealer has been dealt pontoon, they will win all player wagers and the hand will be over.

Pontoon is generally played with 6-8 decks of cards and the rules are very similar to blackjack. The differences between pontoon & blackjack are listed below:

* Hands can be "soft" if an ace is being used as 11, or "hard" if not.

* Dealer must twist on 16 and soft 17 and stick on hard 17 and over.

* Pontoon pays 2:1, as does a 5 Card Trick (5-cards totaling 21 or under).

* Player must twist on 14 or less.

* Player can buy any time on hard hands, but not soft.

* Player can twist after buying.

* Player can split a maximum of two times.

* Dealer wins ties.

* Insurance is not available.

* Player must stick on soft 21.

Playing pontoon on one of CasinoSmash’s partner sites is fun to learn and play. The game is similar to blackjack, however, there are some important differences, as listed above. Many players enjoy pontoon even more than blackjack once these differences are mastered.

Hands in pontoon are ranked in the following order:

1. Pontoon

2. 5-Card Trick that has not busted.

3. Non-busted hand with 4 cards or less – these hands are ranked according to closest to 21 without busting.

For example, a 5-Card Trick will beat a 4-Card 21, a 3-Card 19 will beat a 4-Card 17, and a dealer’s pontoon will trump any hand.

Winning hands are paid using the following odds:

* Winning Hand – 1:1

* Pontoon – 2:1

* 5-Card Trick – 2:1

* Tie (including on pontoons) – dealer wins player's wager.

Pontoon Strategy

Although many of the rules of pontoon are similar to blackjack, the optimal strategy of when to twist, stick, buy, or split can be difficult to learn. The game also has a number of variations with many of the CasinoSmash partner sites each employing slightly different rules.

Therefore, the optimal strategy when playing on one site might not be exactly the same as on another site. Basic pontoon strategy cards are also available for players to use during the game to help make certain the correct decisions are being made for any situation for most variations of the game.

pontoon strategy

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