Pontoon Blackjack Rules

Pontoon is the British version of Blackjack; it is played with eight full decks of cards. The aim of the game is the build a hand with a value closer to 21 than the dealers, without exceeding 21.


Both you and the dealer begin the game with two cards. The dealer will check their cards for a winning Pontoon hand, but apart from that all cards stay facedown. You then have the choice of either hitting, standing (but only if you hand is worth more than 15), doubling or splitting (if you have two matching cards). When you are happy with your cards the dealer will reveal his and hit or stand according to the house rules.


If the dealer has soft 17 they must hit. Should there be a push then the dealer wins. Cards are worth the same as in Blackjack (number cards their face value, face cards are worth 10 and aces are worth either 1 or 11).

The rules of Pontoon are explained in greater detail below.

Game Rules

There are a number of differences between Pontoon and Blackjack, they are as follows:

  • A hand worth a regular 21 is beaten by two hands: Pontoon (an ace and a ten/face card) and Five Card Trick (when a player has a hand of five cards but hasn’t gone bust, regardless of the total value of the hand). Both of these hands will pay 2 to 1.
  • The dealer’s cards will remain face down until the player chooses to stand or goes bust.
  • Pontoon does not feature an insurance option.
  • If there is a tie the dealer wins.
  • At the start of a round the dealer checks his cards. If they are equal to Pontoon the dealer’s cards are immediately turned over and the player loses their bet.
  • A player cannot stand with a hand worth less than 15.
  • After doubling the player can draw as many cards as they wish.
  • A player can only split cards if they are of equal rank. For example, two sevens can be split as can a Jack and a King (as they are both worth ten).
  • If your split hand contains an ace and a ten/face card it counts as Pontoon.

Card Values

Number cards are worth their face value (e.g. 3 is worth three points, 4 four points etc…), face cards are worth ten points and an ace is worth either 1 or 11 points.

Hand Ranking and Payout

From highest to lowest:

  • Pontoon (Ace and a card worth 10). This pays 2 to 1.
  • Five Card Trick (any five cards with a total less than 21). This pays 2 to 1.
  • 21 (three or four cards with a total value of 21). This pays even.
  • High Total (a hand of two, three or four cards with a value less than 21). This pays even money.
  • Bust (three cards or more with a total greater than 21). The player loses their bet.

Dealer Rules

  • If the dealer has soft 17 (a hand of two, three or four cards with a total value of 17 and one of them is an ace) or lower then they must hit.
  • If the dealer has hard 17 (a hand of two, three or four cards with a total value of 17 and no aces) or higher then they must stand.
  • If there is a push the dealer wins.

Table Description

A Pontoon game table consists of the playing area where cards and chips are displayed, the bet area which show available values of chips and the button area which contains the player’s action buttons.

Begin a hand and place a bet by clicking on the chips.

There are a number of action buttons used, they are:

  • Deal/Rebet. Click this button to start a hand after you have place your bet, alternatively it can be used to repeat your previous bet.
  • Hit. Click this button to receive another card.
  • Stand. Click this button when you are happy with your hand, the dealer will then play his hand.
  • Double. You can click this button to double your bet if you think that you are likely to get a winning hand when the next card is dealt (for instance if you have a total of 11 and you think the next card will be worth 10). This button can only be used once per hand but you may draw as many cards as you like after doubling. It is also possible to double after splitting.
  • Split. If your first two cards are of equal value you may split them into two hands by clicking this button. This will result in your bet being doubled and another card being drawn to each hand. You can then play both these hands against the dealer’s single hand. It is also possible to split one split hand and play up to three hands simultaneously.

Shortcut Keys

If you wish to speed up the game you can use these shortcut keys:

  • Spacebar – this will start a new round and rebet (unless you have placed a bet manually)
  • Number keys – use these to enter your bet amount.
  • Esc – exit the game and return to the lobby

Large wins: A large win is considered one of $10,000 or more and needs to be verified by a live operator.

Malfunctions: A malfunction will void all pays and plays.