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Pontoon by BGaming is very similar to playing blackjack. The same rules apply when it comes to the winning hand, which is the hand closest to 21 wins the round.
You can use the basic strategy from blackjack games when playing Pontoon, but there are some subtle differences in the way in which Pontoon is played. The dealer will need to hit on 16 or a soft 17 in this game. Soft 17 is an Ace and a 6 because this can have 2 values – 17 or 7. If the dealer has a hard 17 such as a 10-7, or 9-8, then this is a hard 17 and the dealer will need to stand.
In this game of Pontoon, you get to choose to play 1, 2, or 3 seats and there are 8 decks of cards in play. This is also your own virtual private table, so there is no rush between bets as you can take your time by playing at your own pace.
In the middle of the bottom part of the screen, you have the denominators you can choose to wager. Select the amount you want to bet and click on the circles on the table for each seat that you want to play.
If you play all 3 seats, your hands will be played out starting with the hand on the right, then the middle hand, and finally the leftmost seat will be played. All hands at each individual seat are treated individually.
You will be dealt 2 cards face-up to each seat you have made a bet. Next the dealer will dealt 2 cards, but both these cards will be face-down. You will have several options at this stage:
Double: You will be given the option to double on all of your hands. If you opt-in for the double options, then your hand will be dealt with just 1 more card. You can double on splits in Pontoon too.
Split: If you are dealt a pair of cards that are of the same value, then you can split. For the additional hand, an additional bet equal to the amount of the original bet will be placed on the new hand. You will still have the option to double on both hands if you wish to do so.
Hit: This just means that you can take another card from the deck to increase your hand’s total.
Stand: If you are happy with your hand total, then select ‘stand’ and you will not be dealt with any further cards to that hand.
Once you have finished playing your hands, the dealer will then reveal both face-down cards and play according to the above-mentioned rules regarding in which the dealer will hit on 16 and soft 17s.
First of all, if you draw in Pontoon, then the house wins. Aside from this, as long as you have a hand that has not gone bust and is closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand, then you win even odds on your bet. If you doubled, then you will still get even odds, but obviously, the payout is higher than had you decided not to double.
If you get Pontoon and the dealer does not have Pontoon, then you win the bet at 2 to 1 odds.
If you draw with the dealer, the dealer wins.
If you land a five card trick, then you win 2 to 1 odds.
If you beat the dealer with any other hand value higher than the dealer’s hand, then you will be paid back even odds on your bet.
Using blackjacks optimal strategy is quite difficult in Pontoon because you cannot see any of the dealer’s cards, but if you search the internet enough, then you will be able to find basic strategy for 8-deck Pontoon games. This will help you play at the same rate as the house edge.