Most sites now offer this variation, and if you are already familiar with regular Blackjack, playing Pontoon should be quite easy for you!
Given that there are literally hundreds of online casinos out there, it's safe to say there are also numerous varieties of the game and thus different rules.
The information we've provided for you here was prepared based on the most popular form of Pontoon played online. These particular varieties were developed by leading name in gaming software industry and in the next part of this guide you can try them for free.
Let's have a look at some of the main differences between Pontoon and regular Blackjack (rules image). First, let's look at the basic terminology. In Pontoon, if you want another card, it is called a "Twist", which is the equivalent of a hit. If you want to stand, you "Stick". If you get 21, you get "Pontoon" and not "Blackjack".
Another difference is that the British variant is played with 8 decks of cards. This obviously means that you will be able to get more card combinations, and it also means that counting cards is rendered rather ineffective.
In a regular game, the dealer deals the cards to all the players, and the hand he deals himself has one card down and one up. In Pontoon, though, both of the dealer's cards are dealt face down. This adds to the excitement, but also makes it a little more difficult for you to make the right decision on whether to stick or twist.
There are a few other variations after the cards are dealt. You can split any hand that has a value of less than ten. Unlike other forms of blackjack, the cards don't have to have the same value. If you split your hand and get Pontoon, your payout is doubled. If you have an ace in your hand, and you decide to split, you only get one more card dealt to you, similar to if you were doubling down.
When you tie in a normal game, you get your bet back. If you tie in Pontoon, the dealer automatically wins the hand. If you are dealt five cards and have still not achieved a total of 21, you will get a 2:1 payout. Lastly, you can surrender your hand at specific times.
Remember that this variation is a little more difficult due to the fact that the dealer's cards are face down, and also due to a large number of decks in the shoe, which deems card counting useless. If you develop a system and stick to it, you can win quite a bit of money.
This variation originated in Britain and quickly gained in popularity. Before the game called Blackjack even existed, the French came up with what was known as "Vingt-et-Un", which translated means "Twenty-One". The game's origins can be traced all the way back to French casinos around the beginning of the 18th century. When Blackjack first arrived to the America, the game failed to gain popularity and so casinos began to offer different bonus payoffs as a way to drive more players to their tables.
One of these bonuses was the 10-to-1 payoff for a player holding the Ace of spades and a black (spades or clubs) Jack. This hand became known as "Blackjack" and hence the English name. The bonus scheme was eventually driven out of town and no longer exists. Today, a hand need not comprise a Jack nor any black-suited cards for it to be termed a "Perfect" or a "Natural". Instead, an Ace in combination with any 10-value card will suffice.