Pontoon is sometimes described as a predecessor or derivative of Blackjack. We can’t confirm which game came out first, but what we do know is that Pontoon has many fans for a good reason. To explain why today we’ll be discussing a variant from the iGaming developer Betsoft.
Our Pontoon Blackjack review will show you where to play the title in 2021 while also detailing specifics about its rules, side bet, and payouts. See how it compares to the standard versions and determine if you’d like to try it by reading the full report.
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These Are the Pontoon Blackjack Rules
Before we dig deep into the regulations of this game, it’s important to note that its main goal is the same as regular Blackjack, whose rules you can find here. You need to achieve a higher score than the dealer without busting by going over 21. Two other commonalities between Pontoon by Betsoft and some of the standard versions is that it’s played with eight 52-card decks and that the croupier stands on hard 17s and hits soft ones.
Now, let’s see where things start to diverge. First, the strongest hand is known as “Pontoon” and is achieved when you get 21 from your first two cards. The difference is that you can score a Pontoon even after splitting, which is beneficial to players. “Five-card tricks” are the second most powerful hand. As the name suggests, you get them by having five cards in your hand without going bust. Lastly, you have regular wins when you beat the house with a score of 15-20.
Here are some other Pontoon Blackjack rules that are worth remembering:
- Both of the croupier’s cards are dealt face-down. However, they will peek for Pontoon and reveal it instantly to prevent any double downs.
- You will lose all ties, but this is compensated with better payouts (more on that later).
- You can’t stand if your hand total is less than 15. You may hit at any point, including after double downs.
- It’s possible to play with up to three hands against the dealer. Also, you can re-split following a split to form up to three divided hands. Aces can be split, and you can hit and double down on them at will.
How to Play Pontoon Blackjack Online
Playing Pontoon Blackjack by Betsoft might seem a bit daunting due to the different regulations, but you shouldn’t shy away from trying it. To help you get going, we’ve created a short tutorial that explains how to play and practice in a few easy steps:
- It would be best if you don’t risk money while learning the ropes. You can try the game for free by registering at one of the casinos on our list and firing up the demo mode.
- Once loading finishes, hover your mouse over one of the three “Place Bet” areas. It will show you how much money you can wager per position in Pontoon by Betsoft. Select one of the playing chips from the bottom of the screen and put them in the designated zones. Since this is a practice mode, you can also load up the side bet to see how it works.
- Once ready, commence a round by pressing “Deal”. The game will play out according to the rules we described above. If you wish to achieve the best possible return rates, search the web for “Pontoon Betsoft Blackjack strategy”.
If you wish to alter the game speed, press one of the arrow buttons in the bottom-left corner. To view the paytable, rules, and adjust audio options, refer to the “i” icon.
RTP, Odds, and Payouts
Earlier, we mentioned that having the same score as the dealer results in a loss for the player. This rule usually reduces the return rates significantly, yet Pontoon Blackjack online has a 99.62% RTP, which is higher than the 99.50% we see in regular games of 21. So how is this possible?
Well, scoring a Pontoon happens more often due to the split rule. The fact that this hand has a 2:1 payout instead of the usual 3:2 also helps. The same applies to the 5-card trick, meaning that you have two avenues for getting superior payouts.
As for the “Sweet 16” bet, it pays on three different occasions:
- 1:1 when your hand total is between 16-21
- 1:1 when you have an Ace in your hand
- 2:1 when there are two Aces in your hand
- In Pontoon by Betsoft, the wager will also push/return your money when you have pairs of 2s to 7s.
The house edge on this side bet is 2.52%, which is quite low compared to “21+3”, “Pairs”, or other wagers of this type. Still, it’s best to put money on it if you feel lucky and are in the profit zone.
Try Pontoon Blackjack by Betsoft Today
Overall, we’re quite fond of this release. It boasts great graphics, smooth and fast animations, and a ruleset that differs from the run-of-the-mill iterations of Blackjack. Its payouts are higher than the genre average, and you can increase the volatility by playing with multiple hands, meaning that you have a fair shot of turning a good profit.
The only group that might not like Pontoon Blackjack online is high rollers, as the betting limits will often sit between $1 and $100. If you don’t mind wagering within that range, feel free to head over to one of our approved blackjack casinos and start playing today!