Online Pontoon: A Better Blackjack Alternative?

Looking for a different kind of Blackjack? Try Online Pontoon instead...
Online Pontoon Blackjack at the casino
If you're looking for a slightly different alternative to blackjack that retains more or less the same virtues as the main game, then Pontoon is for you. 

Commonly played in the UK but now widely available at some of the top online casinos, Pontoon is basically a race to 21 between a player and the dealer. 

Online Pontoon vs Blackjack


Although blackjack and Pontoon have the same overall premise, the main differences you'll find between the two games are:

Payouts: In standard blackjack there are two payout ratios: 1:1 (when the player simply beats the dealer) and 3:2 (when the player hits natural blackjack). 

Similarly, Pontoon pays out at a ratio of 2:1 when a player wins the hand; however, in contrast to blackjack, when a player makes Pontoon (21 with an ace and a face card) they receive a 2:1 return on their investment. 

For example, in blackjack if a player bet $10 and successfully hit blackjack, they'd receive $25 back for a profit of $15. However, in a game of Pontoon the payout for 21 is 2:1 which means a $10 stake would generate a $30 return for a $20 profit. 


Thus, if you're looking at blackjack and Pontoon from a profit potential basis, the latter has the upper-hand.  

Lingo: Another difference between Pontoon and blackjack is the language each game uses. The most obvious example of this is that natural 21 (i.e. a two-card hand that contains an ace and a picture card) is known as Pontoon in the former and blackjack in the latte. 

On top of this, the terms "double down" and "hit", which are common in blackjack, are known as "buy" and "twist" in Pontoon. Although these may only be minor differences, they are important to know if you want to become a profitable Pontoon player. 

Number of Decks: Depending on which online casino you play blackjack at the number of decks in play will vary. While some blackjack sites will offer games with one or two decks in play, others will spread options with anything from four to eight decks. 

The amount of cards in the dealer's shoe can have a significant effect on the player's odds so it's always wise to find games with as few decks as possible. In contrast to blackjack, Pontoon is played with a standard eight decks of cards, which means the odds are less favourable for players than some blackjack games. 

However, as we've previously stated, Pontoon offers better payouts for hitting 21 so this increase in risk is offset by greater returns. 


Special Hands: Unlike blackjack, Pontoon has a special winning hand that's known as a five card trick. Like Pontoon, this hand pays out at a ratio of 2:1 and is awarded to a player if they can draw five cards from the deck and make 21 or less. 

Another important consideration you need to bear in mind when playing Pontoon is that if you tie with the dealer you will lose. In blackjack this would result in a push and you receiving your money back, however, in Pontoon it's counted as a loss and your money is taken by the house. 

Can you play pontoon online for free?

Yes, you can. But this option is only available to players outside the UK. Head to an online casino (like the ones on this page) and click over to the games. Hover over a pontoon game and check to see if there is an option for free play.

How to win online pontoon?

Despite the naming, this is essentially blackjack. Create a hand as close to 21 as possible and try to beat the dealer whilst avoiding going bust.

Is pontoon blackjack?

Aside from the differences listed above, this is the same game.

Can I play pontoon for real money?

Yes, you can. All of the casinos on this page will let you play the online pontoon game with real money.


Which Summary

Overall Pontoon is a great game to play if you're looking for a lucrative alternative to blackjack. Although it's not available at every online blackjack site, the majority of top operators have it on the platform and if you're willing to accept the ties mean a loss, you'll find it's an extremely entertaining game to play.
news image Emma Hall 16 Apr 2021 View more

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