Pontoon Basic Strategy

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Bonnie Evans | September 15, 2020 | Updated on: February 19th, 2024

Pontoon Basic StrategyLike any other casino game, the pontoon basic strategy can be used as one of many ways to secure advantageous odds. Pontoon is one the popular blackjack variations preferred by many American players. The card game uses eight decks each consisting of 48 cards. Pontoon does away with the four ten cards.

Card counting is an infamous blackjack strategy and card counters are familiar with the effects of decks that have less than 52 cards. Card counters who take up pontoon have said that removing any kind of 10-point card from the playing deck will favor the dealer. You need not stress as US online casinos that offer pontoon give players a number of favorable bonuses and rules.

Understanding the pontoon basic strategy will require players to be familiar with the pontoon rules. The pontoon strategy can decrease the house edge by 0.35%. When looking for a top strategy you are most likely to come across a number of pontoon basic strategy blackjack charts. Our team of experts have put together a detailed guide to help you.

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How To Play Pontoon Basic Strategy

Getting started with pontoon online is easy and straightforward. Play online pontoon using these five easy steps.

  1. Decide on your bet amount

Once you have found your casino of choice and completed the registration process to play pontoon. The next step is to choose how much you would like to bet. Typically, there will be a range of bet amounts players can choose.

  1. Press Deal

When you have made your decision simply click on the ‘deal’ button and the virtual dealer will give you your cards.

  1. Check Your Cards and make a Move

When you’ve received your cards check your hand and decide on how you would like to make your next move. Be sure to check the strategy cards to see how to handle each hand. The different moves you can choose from include:

  • Twist: Also known as a ‘hit’. this move is used when you need another card.
  • Stick: a ‘Stand’ in Pontoon is also known as ‘Stick’. The move is used when you don’t require another a card.
  • Buy: Should you wish to double down in Pontoon, you’d click on ‘Buy’. The option is used when you would like to place a bet of an equal amount to your initial bet.
  • Split: when you have ended with a hand which consists of a pair you can split the hand to play two different hands. A new bet will have to be made for the new hand.

Best Pontoon Basic Strategy

Once you have the Pontoon’s rules it is time to employ the optimal Pontoon basic strategy! As we had mentioned learning the strategy will allow you to decrease the house edge. our Pontoon blackjack strategy chart sums up how to play your hand for maximum returns in a visual form that is easy to read.

Here is a quick rundown of the different chart symbols:

H – Hit

S – Stand

S4 – Stand with 4 or more cards

S5 – Stand on 5 or more cards

S6 – Stand on 6 or more cards

D – Double

D3 – Double with 3 or more cards

D4 – Double with 4 or more cards

D5 – Double with 5 or more cards

Hard Pontoon Hand

pontoon strategy for hard hand

Soft Hand

pontoon basic strategy soft hand

Pontoon Rules

Now that you have a simple pontoon strategy chart that you can use when playing here is a recap of the rules below.

  • The dealer will hit until they’ve reached a soft hand of 17.
  • Players can stand only if they have a hand value higher than 15 or a 5-card hand.
  • Players are allowed to hit even after doubling down.
  • Re-splitting aces is allowed in pontoon.
  • You can only split on two cards of the same value
  • Hitting even after a doubled down is allowed. This can be done once on a set of 2 to 4 cards.
  • After you’ve split your hand you can also double down once.

The House Edge in Pontoon

The house edge in Pontoon differs depending on the games software provider. The most common House edge is 0.35%. software providers such as Playtech, RTG, Cryptologic have a house edge of 0.38% on their pontoon game. Microgaming’s Pontoon game house edge is 0.39%.

Pontoon Payouts

Pontoon Payouts work similarly, to those in Blackjack. The hand you receive will ultimately determine your payout.  Pontoon has boastful returns making the card game worth playing. Below are the payouts you are most likely to get for certain hands:

  • Pontoon hand: 2:1
  • 5 Card Hand: 2:1
  • Winning hand: 1:1
  • Tie: the dealer will win the wager