Pontoon Blackjack is the British version of Blackjack. It is also referred to as British Blackjack. The outline is simple:
- It can be played by any number of players but works well with 5 – 8 players. If the players exceed 8 the dealer has to use two 52 card decks for the game, but it is normally played with one 52 card deck for players below 8.
- The game starts with the selection of a banker. In Pontoon, the dealer is referred to as the banker. This is the opponent, and the premise of the game is to beat the banker's hand by forming a hand that is close to 21, without going over 21. If the players score overshoots 21, they lose the hand.
- When playing this game, a two card hand consisting of a 10 value card and an Ace, and this is referred to as Pontoon. To declare a Pontoon, the player or banker places the cards on the table with the ten- point card facing down and the ace facing up. Pontoon is the name used to refer to the highest value hand in the game. Players strive to achieve this. If the banker has Pontoon at any point in the game he/she wins.
- Hands with 20 points or fewer than this and made up of less than five cards are ranked according to their point value.
- Hands with a total value of more than 21 are considered to be "bust" and are discontinued from the game
- If a banker and a player have equal hands the banker wins over the player.
- If not the game continues with the player’s turn. However, to play pontoon, one must be familiar with certain terms.
Terms used in Pontoon Black Jack
- Standing – To do this you must have five cards or a total of 15 points
- Hitting – This is where the player asks for up to five cards, but their combined value must not exceed 21.
- Splitting – This is done when the player has cards that are of equal value.
- Doubling – Players are only allowed to double one time on the same hand
- Twisting – This is where the player is allowed to receive a new card without changing their bet.
Wagering in Pontoon Black Jack:
The player has to place the wager on the table. This is followed by the cards being dealt by the banker. The banker then checks for Pontoon from all the players’ cards. If there is no Pontoon the players can Hit, Double, Stand or Split until they either go bust or get a good hand. The banker then follows this by checking the cards again for Pontoon. This continues until the banker goes “bust” or stays.
This is the process required to play Pontoon Black Jack and win against the dealer. Like all blackjack variations it is necessary to know when to fold as it allows you to survive and try to beat the dealer in the next game.