Pontoon vs Blackjack: What Are the Differences?

21st Sep 2020, 9:25:57 AM

Many casino games have different versions. Each variant offers some unique rules and gameplay features that differentiate it from the other similar games. And while most people consider pontoon just another variant of blackjack, the rules are different enough for it to classify as a game in its own right.

In this article, we’ll provide you with a summary of the difference between pontoon and blackjack. Keep reading to learn how these two casino games are actually quite distinct from each other.

Pontoon by iSoftBet, a classic casino game that is often compared to blackjack

How Are Pontoon and Blackjack Similar?

Pontoon and blackjack are similar in that you’re attempting to beat the dealer to 21. In both games, you receive two cards to form your hand and there are various actions you can perform.

These include adding cards to your hand, keeping your hand as it is and even splitting your hand in two. The cards are ranked the same in both games as well. Whoever ends up with the hand that’s closest to 21, wins.

How Pontoon and Blackjack Differ

Now, we’ll summarise the key differences between pontoon and blackjack:

Payout for a Natural. In both games, a ‘natural’ is where your two cards add up to 21. In blackjack, the payout for this is 3:2, whereas in pontoon it’s slightly more valuable at 2:1.

Split Hands. In blackjack, the 3:2 payout for a natural decreases to 1:1 (even money) if you decide to split your hand. However, in pontoon games the 2:1 payout for a natural al-ways applies, even if you split your hand.

Ties. When playing pontoon, the dealer wins on all ties. In a typical game of blackjack, if it’s a tie your bet is returned to you.

Standing. If it’s pontoon you’re playing, you’re unable to stand if your hand is worth less than 16. Conversely, if you’re playing blackjack and your hand’s value is less than 16, you do have the option to stand.

Five-Card Trick. This is an extra payout that’s available in pontoon but not in blackjack. It pays out if you have five cards whose values, when added together, don’t go over 21.

Doubling Down. After deciding to double down, you double your bet, receive one addi-tional card and then stand. In blackjack this action is only available when you’ve been dealt your first two cards.

However, in pontoon games you’re allowed to double down whenever you like, even if you have three or four cards in your hand. The act of ‘doubling down’ in blackjack is re-ferred to as ‘buying’ in pontoon. Another major difference is that you can “buy” multiple cards in pontoon, but you can only “double down” once in blackjack. Any cards you “buy” are dealt face down.

Blackjack, the most popular version of “Vingt et Un” played today

Terminology. In blackjack, you can “hit”, meaning ask the dealer for an extra card multi-ple times until you reach 21 or bust, or decide to stand. In pontoon, when you want an ex-tra card, you can “buy” as we explained previously or “twist”. When you twist in pontoon, your extra cards are dealt face up.

When you are satisfied with your cards and do not wish to receive an extra one, you “stand” in blackjack an “stick” in pontoon

Dealer’s Cards. Whenever you play blackjack, one of the dealer’s cards is dealt face-up; the other is dealt face-down. However, in games of pontoon both of the dealer’s cards are dealt face-down, denying you the chance to get an idea of what the dealer’s hand is. Be-cause of this, pontoon games don’t offer the insurance side bet.

Which Game’s For You?

As you can see from our detailed guide above, the two games are practically the same in terms of their core gameplay. However, there are numerous slight rule variations that make the games separate from each other. Here at 777 Slots Bay, we’ve got both both pontoon and blackjack games available to play. Give both of these classic casino games a go and see which one suits you best.

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