Two entirely different blackjack variants are known as Pontoon and this can be confusing for players. One can be played at Internet casinos on a number of software including Realtime Gaming, Playtech, Microgaming, Cryptologic and Galewind Software. The other, following the initial rise of its popularity being in England, derives it names from being a British version of the common Blackjack card game.
Instead of “blackjack”, in British pontoon, the natural 21 is referred to as “pontoon”. A five-card trick is an important hand in the game. The trick is a five-card hand which doesn’t bust, and this hand pays out at 21, making it an exciting proposition any time you have 4 cards and haven’t busted.
The fundamental goal for each player is to form a hand with a total value that is close to 21 or 21, without going above 21. One player is selected as the banker in a home game. At the casino, the dealer or banker is a well-qualified member of staff. The banker has an advantage, so the first banker is chosen by picking whoever cuts the highest card. In each hand, each of the other players bets on having a better hand than the banker.
• A Pontoon is the best hand of all. It refers to two cards with a total value of 21 – this can only consist of ace plus a picture card or ten.
• A Five Card Trick comes second to a Pontoon. It is a hand of five cards totaling 21 or less.
• At third place, is a hand of three or four cards worth 21 points. It beats everything else except a Pontoon or Five Card Trick.
• Hands with 20 or fewer points and fewer than five cards rank in order of their point value – the nearer to 21 the better.
• Holding a hand with more than 21 points is termed a bust and automatically loses the bet.
If the banker and a player have equally valued hands, then the banker wins.
Shoot Pontoon refers to Pontoon that is modified by integrating the betting system of Shoot to the regular Pontoon betting. The popularity of Shoot and Shoot Pontoon can be traced back to the mid-1950s in Britain.
The dealer forms a kitty at the beginning of the game by putting in any amount of money. This amount should be within the agreed minimum and maximum limits. First, all the players bet on their first card. After that, beginning again with the player to dealer’s left, each gets a turn to make a shoot bet.
Shoot bets are separated from the regular bets placed by the players. They are placed between the player and the kitty. No player is ever forced to make a shoot bet. However, in the event that you do, the wager can be any amount you choose. Nonetheless, the total of all the shoot bets should not exceed what is in the kitty. Therefore, if the first player shoots half the kitty, the second player can shoot any amount up to half the kitty. Similarly, in the event the first player decides to shoot the whole kitty, the remaining players cannot place any shoot bets at all, for the time being.
Following the placement of shoot bets, the every player is dealt a second card face down. If the dealer holds a Pontoon, it is required that all the shoot bets be added to the pot and the players each pay double their stake to the dealer. Here, the options accorded to each player are similar to normal Pontoon, but with some extra betting opportunities.
HINTS AND TIPS
The current popularity of Pontoon is linked to the fact that it offers big rewards at any point in the hand. A player can win the standard payout for a 21, but if that does not hit, an even bigger payout is offered. Learning basic strategy requires learning how to play three-card and four-card hands. This is because the incentive of the pontoon payout often leads novice players to take marginal hits. It is important to read and memorize a basic strategy chart before betting on this game. You could even take a printable chart with you to the casino.