Pontoon Blackjack Variation
Learn About Pontoon Blackjack Variation
Pontoon is a card game popular in the UK, as well as Australia that is quite similar to standard casino blackjack. Pontoon utilizes two standard decks of playing cards for its shoe, and features a banker.
The casino banker deals one card to each player in the face down position, which leads into a round of betting. Players make wagers based on their down card within the limits of the game. The banker then deals a second down card to each player, which they may again look at. The cards hold true face value, and the object of the game is to come as close to twenty-one as possible without busting, while beating the dealer. In the event the banker and player have a hand of the same value, the banker wins.
Noteworthy Hands in Pontoon
Pontoon is achieved when a player holds a face card with an ace. This is the same as blackjack, essentially. Pontoon is paid at a rate of two to one.
If a player draws five cards without exceeding twenty-one it is called a five-card trick. The five-card trick is inferior to pontoon; however, it is of higher value than a twenty-one by way of three or four cards. The five-card trick pays out two to one at the conclusion of the hand.
The next highest hand is a twenty-one by way of three or four cards, followed then by cards totaling twenty or less.
Additional Cards in Pontoon
For players wishing to draw cards, they have options. One such option is “buying” a card. When buying a card, you must make an additional wager. The dealer will provide the buying player a card face down. The player may continue buying cards until satisfied with the total.
Instead of buying a card, a player may wish to receive a card without buying. This is known as twisting. The twisted card is distributed face up and takes on no additional risk with respect to additional wagers. Players may continue to twist cards until satisfied with the total.
Splitting of cards at the same value is permitted in Pontoon. To split the cards, they are turned face up with bets on each card. The hands play individually in the regular Pontoon manner.
The Banker’s Action
Once play cycles through each player, the banker may act. The banker adds cards face up to his hand until content. The players have kept their hands face down, so the banker does not know the value of any of the player’s hands – the exception being when a player goes bust or hits twenty-one. Once satisfied, the banker sticks and showdown occurs. Players are paid out if they beat the banker, and the banker takes the bets from those who push (ties lose), or are beat.
Rules of tournament blackjack
The traditional forms of blackjack involves just the player and the house, there’s no interaction with other players. Tournament blackjack is an adaptation of this game in which there will be an actual competition between a number of players, being similar to the ideas of poker tournaments.
Within tournament blackjack, each player will pay an entry fee and/or a buy-in and will receive a number of chips. The goal in this game is not to beat the house, but to defeat the other players by ending up at the end with more chips than the other players.
The first blackjack tournaments were started in 1978 at the Sahara hotel, having a $250 entrée fee, a $500 buy in. About 2000 players competed in this tournament which was divided into rounds, which lasted 55 minutes each. Since the players did not compete against the banks, but against each other, the rules were rather permissive for splitting and doubling and there was no point in taking any measures against card counters, so it was played from one single deck.
The blackjack went out of style starting with the late 1980s because casino owners thought that this kind of tournaments would encourage gamblers to learn the skills of card counting, which could affect their regular blackjack operations. It was revived in 2002 at the Las Vegas Hilton and now they are found at many land-based and online casinos.
There are two types of tournaments: single table and multi-table. In the single player tournaments, there is just one round and the winner is simply the player who has the most chips at the end. There is a minimum and a maximum bet for each hand and the cards that have been dealt are visible to everyone. As in poker, the players decide a bet and the first player who receives the cards would have to make the first decision.
In a multi-table online blackjack tournament, there are a number of rounds, each of which has a number of hands. Each round begins with an equal number of chips for each player and at the end of each round, at each table, the player with most chips advances to the next round. As players keep quitting the game, the number of tables will decrease, until there is just one final table, the winner of which is the winner of the whole tournament.
Usually, the other players at the last table will win some prizes as well.
Since the competition is between players and not against the house, some online poker tournament sites allow card counting and even encourage players to do it to improve their gameplay.