What Is The Difference Between Blackjack And Pontoon?

Hey there! Welcome to the exciting world of casino card games. If you’ve ever wondered, “What is the difference between Blackjack and Pontoon?” you’re in luck. In this article, we’ll delve into the similarities and distinctions between these two popular games, helping you understand the unique features that set them apart. So, let’s get started and explore the fascinating universe of card game comparisons!

First off, let’s talk about Blackjack. This classic game is all about trying to beat the dealer’s hand without going over 21. With a strategic approach and a little luck, you aim to get as close to 21 as possible and hope the dealer goes bust. It’s a thrilling game of skill and chance, and it’s no wonder why it’s so beloved in casinos worldwide. But what about Pontoon?

Pontoon, sometimes known as British Blackjack, shares similarities with its American counterpart. In fact, the goal of both games is the same: to acquire a hand value that is higher than the dealer’s, without exceeding 21. However, there are a few key differences that make Pontoon its own unique experience. From the terminology to the way the cards are dealt and the specific hand rankings, Pontoon adds its own flavor to the mix.

So, whether you’re a fan of traditional Blackjack or curious to explore the nuances of Pontoon, this article will guide you through the distinct characteristics of each game. By understanding the differences, you’ll be able to choose the game that suits your preferences and skills. So, let’s dive in and explore the fascinating world of Blackjack and Pontoon!

What is the difference between Blackjack and Pontoon?

The Difference Between Blackjack and Pontoon: Explained

When it comes to popular casino card games, Blackjack and Pontoon are two names that often come up. Both games share similarities, but they also have distinct differences that set them apart. In this article, we’ll explore the nuances of Blackjack and Pontoon to help you understand what makes each game unique. From their origins to the gameplay and strategies involved, we’ll delve into every aspect of these thrilling card games.

The Origins and History

Before we dive into the specifics of how Blackjack and Pontoon differ, it’s important to understand their origins and the history behind each game. Blackjack, also known as 21, has a rich history dating back to the 17th century. The game traces its roots to France, where it was known as “Vingt-et-Un” (French for 21). Over the years, it made its way across Europe and eventually found its place in the casinos of Las Vegas.

Pontoon, on the other hand, has its roots in the United Kingdom and is closely related to another popular card game called “Vingt-et-Un.” While the exact origins of Pontoon are unclear, it is believed to have been played in British casinos as early as the 19th century. The game gained popularity and spread to other parts of the world, including Australia, where it became a beloved casino staple.

The Basics: Gameplay and Objective

Although the objectives of Blackjack and Pontoon are fundamentally the same – to beat the dealer without exceeding a total of 21 – the gameplay and rules differ slightly between the two games.

In Blackjack, the player’s goal is to achieve a higher hand value than the dealer without going over 21. Each player is dealt two cards face up, while the dealer receives one card face up and one card face down. The player can request additional cards (known as “hits”) to improve their hand value or choose to “stand” if they are satisfied with their current hand. If a player’s hand exceeds 21, they go “bust” and lose the round.

In Pontoon, the objective is the same – to get a hand with a total value closer to 21 than the dealer’s hand – but there are a few key differences. In this game, all of the dealer’s cards are dealt face down, adding an element of mystery to the gameplay. Players are dealt two cards face down and can take turns requesting additional cards to improve their hand. The dealer must hit on a soft 17 (hand that includes an Ace) but can only stand on a hard 17 or higher. If a player’s hand exceeds 21, they also go bust and lose the round.

Card Values and Terminology

Understanding the values of the cards and the terminology used in Blackjack and Pontoon is crucial to playing the games effectively. In both games, numbered cards have their face value, while face cards (King, Queen, and Jack) are valued at 10. The Ace holds a unique position as it can be counted as either 1 or 11, depending on the player’s preference and the current hand value.

When playing Blackjack, it’s essential to know terms like “hit” (requesting an additional card), “stand” (refusing any more cards), and “double down” (doubling the initial bet and receiving one more card).

In Pontoon, players use terms like “twist” (requesting an additional card), “stick” (refusing any more cards), and “buy” (doubling the initial bet and receiving one more card).

Strategies and Tips

Developing effective strategies and utilizing smart tactics can significantly improve your chances of winning in both Blackjack and Pontoon.

In Blackjack, players often employ strategies like card counting to track the ratio of high-value to low-value cards left in the deck. This allows them to make more informed decisions about hitting or standing. Additionally, understanding basic strategy charts, which outline the statistically optimal moves in every situation, can prove invaluable.

In Pontoon, due to the face-down nature of the dealer’s cards, card counting is not as effective. Instead, players focus on understanding the rules and employing sound decision-making when it comes to twisting, sticking, and buying. Learning optimal strategies based on the value of their hand and the visible cards can give players an edge.

The House Edge and Variations

When comparing Blackjack and Pontoon, it’s important to consider the house edge and the different variations of each game.

In standard Blackjack, assuming you use basic strategy, the house edge is typically around 0.5%. However, depending on the specific rules and variations (such as the number of decks used, doubling after a split, and surrender options), the house edge can increase or decrease.

Pontoon, while similar to Blackjack, generally has a higher house edge due to the dealer’s face-down cards, which gives them a slight advantage. Additionally, different variations of Pontoon may exist, each with its own set of rules and house edge.

In Conclusion

Now that we’ve explored the differences between Blackjack and Pontoon, it’s clear that while they share a common objective, each game offers unique gameplay experiences. From their origins and history to the structure of the gameplay and the strategies involved, Blackjack and Pontoon have their own distinct flavors. Whether you prefer the transparency of Blackjack or the mystery of Pontoon, both games provide ample opportunities for excitement and skill. So, why not try your luck at both and discover which game captures your heart? Remember to approach them with a strategy, keep your wits about you, and most importantly, have fun!

Key Takeaways: What is the difference between Blackjack and Pontoon?

  • Blackjack and Pontoon are both card games played in casinos.
  • The objective of both games is to get a hand with a higher value than the dealer’s, without going over 21.
  • In Blackjack, the player’s hand is revealed, while in Pontoon, the player’s hand remains hidden from the dealer.
  • In Blackjack, the dealer initially receives one face-up card, while in Pontoon, the dealer’s first two cards are dealt facedown.
  • In Pontoon, a five-card trick (a hand of five cards totaling less than 21) is considered higher than any other hand, including a blackjack.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we will answer some common questions about the difference between Blackjack and Pontoon.

1. How is the gameplay different in Blackjack and Pontoon?

In Blackjack, the objective is to get a hand value as close to 21 as possible without exceeding it, and beat the dealer’s hand. Players are dealt two cards initially and have the option to hit, stand, or use other available actions based on their hand. In Pontoon, the goal is the same, but the terminology and specific actions differ. In Pontoon, players are dealt two cards face down and can only view their own hand. They can ‘twist’ to take another card or ‘stick’ to end their turn. The dealer’s cards are also both face down.

Additionally, in Blackjack, the dealer reveals one of their cards after players have completed their actions. In Pontoon, the dealer only reveals their cards after all players have finished their turns. This means that players in Pontoon do not have the advantage of knowing one of the dealer’s cards before making their decisions.

2. Are the card values the same in Blackjack and Pontoon?

Yes, the card values are the same in both Blackjack and Pontoon. The numbered cards (2-10) are worth their face value, face cards (King, Queen, Jack) are worth 10 points each, and the Ace can be counted as either 1 or 11, depending on the player’s hand.

However, there is one key difference in Pontoon regarding the value of a hand with a total of 21. In Blackjack, a hand with a total of 21 is referred to as a “Blackjack” and is the highest-ranking hand. In Pontoon, a hand with a total of 21 is called a “Pontoon” and is also the best possible hand.

3. How are the payouts different in Blackjack and Pontoon?

In both Blackjack and Pontoon, a winning hand is paid out at a 1:1 ratio. This means that if you bet $10, you would win an additional $10 on top of your original bet. However, there is a key difference when it comes to the Blackjack and Pontoon hands in terms of payouts.

In Blackjack, if you win with a Blackjack hand (a 10-value card and an Ace), you typically receive a higher payout of 3:2. So if you bet $10, you would win $15. In Pontoon, there is no specific higher payout for a Pontoon hand. Both Blackjack and Pontoon hands are considered the best hands and pay out at the regular 1:1 ratio.

4. Are the rules for splitting and doubling down the same in Blackjack and Pontoon?

No, the rules for splitting and doubling down differ in Blackjack and Pontoon. In Blackjack, players have the option to split their initial two cards if they have a pair, creating two separate hands to play. Players can also choose to double down, which involves doubling their bet and receiving one additional card.

In Pontoon, there is no option to split cards. However, players have the opportunity to double their bet after receiving their initial two cards. Once they do so, they can then twist for an additional card. This can be done multiple times during their turn if the cards allow.

5. Can you surrender in Blackjack and Pontoon?

Yes, surrendering is an option in both Blackjack and Pontoon, although it is more commonly available in Blackjack. Surrendering involves giving up your hand and losing half of your original bet. It is typically done as a strategy when a player feels they have little chance of winning the hand.

In Pontoon, surrendering is less common and may not be available at all tables or variations of the game. It is important to check the specific rules of the Pontoon game you are playing to determine if surrendering is allowed.

How to Play: Pontoon


Blackjack and Pontoon are similar card games, but they have some important differences. In Blackjack, the player’s goal is to get a hand that is closer to the value of 21 than the dealer’s hand, without going over. In Pontoon, the objective is the same, but the player’s hand must always be equal to or less than 21.

Another difference is in how the hands are valued. In Blackjack, an Ace can be worth 1 or 11, depending on what the player needs. In Pontoon, an Ace is always worth 1. Additionally, Blackjack allows players to see one of the dealer’s cards, while in Pontoon, all of the dealer’s cards are face-down.

Both games have their unique rules and strategies, so it’s important to understand the differences before playing. Whether you prefer the excitement of trying to get as close to 21 as possible in Blackjack, or the challenge of keeping your hand low and hidden in Pontoon, there’s a card game out there for everyone to enjoy!