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June 2016

Pontoon is a table casino game where there is a shared of two distinct cards, both Blackjack variants. Pontoon (card game) is related to match play 21 or Spanish in Malaysia and Singapore. In United Kingdom Pontoon game is associated with the rules of traditional Black Jack but it can be distinguished from Black Jack by verbal usage of the terms twist and stick.

Pontoon (card game)

Casinos in Australian, Malaysian, British, and Singapore use the version of Malaysian using multiple changed decks cards. British Pontoon is played with single 52 card decks and it is played in United Kingdom. Terms used in British Pontoon are ‘’twist’’ (hit), ‘’stick’’ (stand) and ‘’buy’’ (double bet). Players are permitted to buy on any hand of 2 to 4 cards, thus permitting him/her to twist after he bought the cards.

Pontoon (card game)

Pontoon (card game)

History of the game

The game became popular game for armies in the nations that speak English during the 20th century.

Goal of the game

The game is arithmetically in which it is played with the same layout as blackjack. The player should aim in receiving cards which can be totaled more in value than what the dealer has but should not exceed or else the player bust and loses the bet. A card equivalent to 10 is pontoon card while the card 21 is an Ace. The player can beat the banker with an Ace card or pontoon.

Rules of the game

  1. The banker has no hole card. The player is not allowed to know the type of the card the dealer has i.e whether the dealer has a natural (blackjack, an ace card and pontoon card) until the end of the turn; this is when the dealer reveals his second card.
  2. There is a possibility for the player to double and/or split and also lose a number of bets to a banker natural card.
  3. An ace which is in a pre-double hand card is either taken to be 1 or 11.
  4. The game does not permits players to draw on split Aces, thus it means that whenever the player does that he will have to be given only one card on each Ace.
  5. The game limits the player on the number of hands he or she should be allowed to split to.
  6. Players are allowed only to surrender against a dealer ace or face card. The player will still lose his/her bet if he/she missed out the chance to draw to ‘’21’’ and win unconditionally even if the banker ends up with natural card.
  7. The game played in Adelaide Casino and Casino de Genting Malaysia permits the players to double only on 2/3 hands.
  8. The banker often hits on soft 17, which is always abbreviated as H17.
  9. Pontoon can contain the same bonus payouts as that of Spanish 21.

Basic strategy for Pontoon

Players are in the position of reducing the advantage of the casino to less than 0.5%. Basic strategy is a collection of optimal required plays. Basic strategy depends on the rules of the game. Strategy of pontoon is closely related to that of Spanish 21 but the differences between the two are brought by the no hole card and limits in double of the soft.

House advantage

House edge of the game is listed in the table below;

Rules of Pontoon Decks House edge
OBB, SPL2, NLC 8 0.34%
BB+1, SPL3 8 0.31%
SPA1, NLC 8 0.41%
BB+1, SPL1, NLC 8 0.38%
BB+1, SPL2, SPA, NLC 8 0.40%
SPL2, SPA1, D9 8 0.62%
OBBO, SPL2,SPA1 8 0.50%

Variations of the game

Variations of pontoon include; Federal pontoon, Jupiters 21 and treasury 21,


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