Pontoon strategy

If you have ever traveled to Australia you have probably encountered this variant of blackjack during your visit. Pontoon is a typical Australian card game. Like Spanish Blackjack, Pontoon offers highly favourable odds and it also follows the same rules as its Iberian cousin: for example, 10s are removed from the game and the boxes used only contain 48 cards instead of 52 cards that can be found in the traditional version. In fact, the only real difference between Pontoon and Spanish Blackjack is simply the dealer's first card: the Spanish Blackjack, this card is visible while it is closed in Pontoon.

Strategic Options

The ability of Pontoon to impose its model around the world, is simply due to its favourable bonus system. The rules, which were previously adjusted to allow users to increase their chances of winning the bonus, have also played a role in its popularity. Pontoon is the only variant of blackjack that currently offers a Super Bonus, in both online and conventional casinos. Following the steps listed below will enable you to win at Pontoon.

  • Bypassing the house advantage
  • Ensuring you get the Super Bonus
  • Understanding basic strategy

Configuration 1: Bypassing the house advantage

In Pontoon, the first thing players must try to do is circumvent or reduce the house advantage as much as possible. Since eight boxes of 48 cards each are used in Pontoon and players can only split their cards once but can double on any card, they have a rather low house advantage of 0.42. Reducing this percentage is rather difficult; the least players can do is maintain it by avoiding insurance and by not playing too tightly. Taking risks must also be avoided. It is advisable to only play when you are certain of your shot.

Configuration 2: Ensuring you get the Super Bonus

There is a one in 668,382 chance of a player winning the Super Bonus if the dealer uses six boxes and it decreases to 549,188 if eight boxes are used. A decrease the casino’s advantage will depend on the amount wagered as well as the number of players present at the table. All these criteria are difficult to control but not impossible. If you only play against the dealer and bet between €5 and €25 per round, the Super Bonus will reduce the house advantage significantly to just 0.030% ! Definitely worth reflecting on, right?

Configuration 3: Understanding basic strategy

In Pontoon there is a basic strategy that must be adhered to regardless of the card game. When the dealer draws a 17, you must absolutely avoid a double: doubling after splitting a hand is allowed in Pontoon! It is generally advisable to double when your hand totals between 9 and 11 points only. Beyond this the attempt will be a little risky. The option of quitting during the last moments of the game is also possible in Pontoon. When the dealer shows a 10 or an Ace, you can choose to quit, resulting in the loss of half your initial bet but limiting potential damage.