Playing ‘Pontoon’ Blackjack


Blackjack began as a popular game in European casinos during the 1700s; it migrated throughout the world, eventually earning its familiar name of “Blackjack” in the United States. This came from the large payout that was granted to players who drew a “blackjack” hand of an Ace of spades and a Jack of spades. That black Jack won the game instantly as well as a ten to one payout on the bet.

Today however, a “blackjack” for a standard game of casino “Blackjack” is simply a two card hand totaling twenty-one. There are more than one hundred variants on the game, and some still payout an exceptional bonus to a unique “blackjack” configuration.

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Most variants stick to the original method of play:

Twenty-one is the winning total. If no one hits twenty-one the player closest to it without going over is the winner.
Cards are valued upon a set system: two through ten hold their face value; Jacks, Queens and Kings are valued at ten; and the Ace is valued at either one or eleven depending upon the effect it will have on the player’s hand.
Players each begin with two cards dealt either face down or face up, and the dealer receives a single card down and a second card facing up.
Each player then must choose their next option of requesting another card ( a “hit”), holding where they are (a “stand”), or withdrawing from play (a “surrender”)

Most variations of classic or standard Blackjack rely on these fundamental procedures to create a new style of play. The British variation of Blackjack is called “Pontoon” and it follows classic Blackjack quite closely.

Instead of relying on a dealer the game has a “banker” who deals the cards. This banker deals a single card to each player as well as to themselves. While the players can take a look at their card, the banker cannot. After looking at their first card the players then place their bet. The banker does not place a bet on the hand, or game.

After bets are placed the banker distributes the second card to each player. These too can be viewed by the players, but the banker is still not allowed to view their hand. Just like a traditional hand of Blackjack, players of “Pontoon” must then decide what they are going to do.

If a “Pontoon” player would like another card they have two options:

They can say out loud “I’ll buy one” and place an additional wager next to their first and receive their card. They can continue to buy more cards, always increasing their wager, until they are satisfied or “bust”.
They can say out loud “twist me one” which delivers another card to their hand, but without any additional wager or cost.

After each player has decided to stand, or has gone “bust”, the banker will then turn over their own cards, and if they have twenty one the banker wins and all bets go to the “house”. If however they need to continue adding cards in order to beat another player’s high score they must do so until they make a tie at twenty one, or until they beat the highest scoring player. A tie, or “push” means that no one has won the hand and all wagers are returned to the players.