How to Play Pontoon at Australian Online Casinos
If you like to play blackjack, then you should try Pontoon. It is a fun blackjack variant available at many Australian online casinos. The game plays almost identical to standard blackjack but has a few key differences.
Today, you will learn how to play Pontoon along with some strategies to win more at the game.
How to Play Pontoon
Pontoon has many of the same basic rules of blackjack but the differences are important to note before you start playing the game. In this game, Blackjack is called Pontoon and pays 2 to 1. The exception is when the dealer also has a Pontoon. The dealer then wins. In this game, there are no pushes in the base game. Ties always go to the dealer.
Next, a 5-card hand is an automatic winner provided you do not bust. A winning 5-card hand also pays 2 to 1. All other winning hands pay 1 to 1.
Dealers will always hit a soft 17 in this game and will also stop on any 5-card hand. Also, players may only stand when they have a point total of 15 or greater.
Players can double on any combination of 2 to 4 cards. You can only double once per hand. You can also double after a split. Resplits are not allowed.
The table minimum for most Pontoon games is $1 with a table max of $100.
Pontoon offers a much lower house edge than standard blackjack. The house edge is 0.38% for the base game. Standard blackjack has twice to three times the house edge when using optimal play. Generally, the casino has about a 2% house edge against the average blackjack player.
Sweet 16 Side Bet
Prior to receiving cards, you can make a Sweet 16 side bet. This pays out based on your first two cards. The payout table is below:
- 16-21 Point – 1 to 1
- Ace in Hand – 1 to 1
- Pair of Aces – 2 to 1
- Pair of 2s through 7s – Push
The Sweet 16 side bet has a house edge of 2.52%. While this isn’t horrible compared to some games, it is much higher than the .38% edge of the base game.
When testing the game, we had a good bit of luck with the side bet, winning or pushing on most bets. However, over the long term, it is still a bet that most online casino players should avoid.
Pontoon has a fairly elaborate strategy, so instead of writing a long strategy section, we’ve decided to give you a couple of hand strategy charts. These come courtesy of Wizard of Odds. Note that these charts are based on live Pontoon. Some versions of online Pontoon may not show the dealer’s first card.
Here’s a basic strategy for player hands in Pontoon. The top line is the dealer’s hole card when shown.
Below is how you should play pairs:
If you’re planning to play the Sweet 16 side bet, we would recommend avoiding it. The base game has such a low house edge that you’re giving away equity by playing this bet. Also, the payoffs for the bet are low compared to side bets in other games. The risk just isn’t worth the potential reward.
This game is available at many online casinos in Australia, including Joka Room, Uptown Pokies, Kahuna Casino, and others. For blackjack fans, this is a great alternative with a lower house edge. Keep in mind that if you’re trying to clear an online casino bonus, it will take a lot longer to do so playing this game. That’s because Pontoon generally only contributes 10% to the wagering requirement.
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