A Primer On Online Pontoon
Most online blackjack variants pay 3 to 2 for a blackjack hand. Some only pay even money because they offer other benefits elsewhere. But there is a unique blackjack game, Pontoon, in which the blackjack hand pays 2 to 1.
First of all Pontoon differs from all other blackjack games in the terms used. If you sit at a Pontoon table in a land casino without knowing these terms and you will be all at sea. The dealt two-card hand with an ace and a 10-value card is a pontoon and not a blackjack. When you want another card you twist in Pontoon and not hit. When you are satisfied with your hand you stick instead of stand. And the double down option is referred to as buy.
The main reason why pontoon pays 2 to 1 is that both the dealer’s cards are dealt face down. You make your moves based on your cards only. This decreases the chances of your winning and hence the increased pontoon payout. There is another benefit that you get. If you have a five card hand that has not bust then you get an immediate payout of 2 to 1. This overcompensates in your favour, so some rules need to be changed. The dealer wins all ties and hits on a soft 17. The Pontoon rules at different online casinos are different in the fine print and you should check them out before playing.
Because of the lack of information on the dealer’s hand, your strategy is simplified. Your hand value is factored against the number of cards that you are dealt instead of the value of the dealer’s face up card. Therefore the strategy card has only three columns – 2 cards, 3 cards and 4 cards. With 5 cards you either bust or win so the game ends. The intersection cell at your hand value and the number of cards lists the optimum move for you. As with all online blackjack variants, you should use a strategy card to maximise your return.
In case you want to play without a strategy card then follow these simple tips. Split only an ace pair and an eight pair. The next part deals with hard hand values. With two or three cards you twist for a hand value of up to 14. With four cards you twist for a hand value up to 17. For soft hands you stick only with A + 10, A + 9 and A + 8 combinations and twist for everything else.
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