Blackjack Pontoon - The table game's Australian Cousin
Blackjack is one of those casino games that nearly everybody has heard about and many people have played. It's been immortalized in books, movies and even video games and as such, is easily one of the most played casino games in the world.
It’s been around for hundreds of years but it was made famous by James Bond in the original Casino Royale movie. Now though, Baccarat is found all over the world and is the favored game of Chinese billionaires in Macau and Las Vegas. If you want to know a little more about this brilliant game, have a look though our Baccarat guide.
Slots are, without a doubt, the easiest online casino games to play and as such, are the most popular. Millions of people, around the world, play them on a daily basis so if you want to see what all the fuss is about, play a few of the free games on our site.
Whenever you visit a casino, there is always one game that draws in the crowds, whether its players or spectators, there is always a crowd around the Roulette tables. It is easily one of the most fascinating games to play and if you want to learn more about the game, we can help.
If you’re looking for entertainment, excitement and the chance to win a pocket full of money, then Craps is the game you’ll want to be playing. Even though Craps is difficult to play, there are few games that can provide a bigger adrenalin rush and if you want to learn more, look no further.
Video Poker had an interesting start and is probably one of the more unusual casino games you’ll encounter. In essence, the game is a combination of poker and slots which means you get to enjoy the simplicity of the slot machines with the excitement of playing poker.
Video Poker Guide
Bonus Poker, or Texas Hold Em Bonus Poker to give it its official name, is the casino version of the game where you play against the casino as opposed to playing against other people at the table. If you know how to play Texas Hold Em, you'll be able to play Bonus Poker so if you're bored, give it a go.
Bonus Poker Guide
Bingo is another simple casino game that is loved by those of all ages. Its simplicity is also what makes it an extremely popular game and its not often that you’ll find an empty bingo hall. If you love shouting out random names such as “monkey’s cousin” or “duck and crutch” then you’ll love playing Bingo.
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Caribbean Stud Poker
Poker is always an exciting game to play and Caribbean Stud is no different. It resembles a traditional game of 5 Card Stud, but you play against the casino instead of the other players at the table. If you know how to play any poker game, you'll be able to play Caribbean Stud, so give it a go.
Caribbean Stud Poker Guide
Pai Gow is a Chinese gambling game played with dominoes. Pai Gow means "make nine" which, like Baccarat, is the aim of the game. To win, you will need to get as close to nine as possible. It's a simple game to play, but is still one of the most exciting and interesting casino games there is.
Pai Gow Guide
The Australian Pontoon Game
If you've ever visited or resided in Australia, I'm sure you're quite familiar with this game.
The Australian version is very much like the North American Spanish 21 and offers really good odds for the players. Just like in Spanish 21, all tens have been removed so that all decks used in the game only contain 48 cards.
The main difference between Spanish 21 and Australian Pontoon is that in the latter both dealer cards are undisclosed. This is a real setback for the players as the showing card of the dealer is usually the best source of information on which to base the in-game decisions.
This, coupled with the fact that 4 ten-value cards already have been removed, should be enough for every odds-calculating blackjack player never to park his or her Gluteus Maximus even close to a Pontoon table.
Pontoon's Favorable Conditions
The reason why Australian Pontoon is one of the strategic players' favorites is all the bonus wagers and a variety of rule adjustments that axle the chances of winning toward the player.
Five-card 21's, Super Bonus payouts and late surrenders are all great reasons for choosing Australian Pontoon instead of a regular blackjack game. Unfortunately, this game is only available in South-East Asia and Australia.
The Online Version of Pontoon
When playing Pontoon online, regular 52-card decks are used so no tens have been removed. Usually, 8 decks are used. A Pontoon (a two card hand totaling 21, also known as a Natural or Blackjack in other Blackjack variants is the strongest hand possible but it is beaten by a dealer's Pontoon.
The next strongest hand is a five-card trick, which is basically all five card hands that haven't been busted. If you get a five-card trick totaling to 21, and the dealer a five-card trick hand totaling to 20 the dealer still wins the hand as the dealer wins all ties and all five-card tricks are of the same value.
If your hands have three or four cards and totals to 21 you still have a strong hand, but it is not as strong as a five-card trick or a Pontoon. The latter two pays 2 to 1, whilst a three or four-card 21 only pays 1 to 1.
One thing that differs in Pontoon in comparison to Blackjack is that a players hand is not valid unless it reaches a total of 15 or higher. In effect this means that you can't just stay (or stick as it is called in Pontoon) on hard hands ranging from 12 - 14 as you can in regular blackjack.
This means that even though you only get one card after splitting Aces, dealer will automatically deal you another card if your two-card hand doesn't reach a total of 15 or higher.
Here is our strategy chart of how to optimize your chances of winning in Pontoon. click the image to enlarge the chart.
One thing that the online version has adapted from the Australian live game is the game expressions.
It differs a bit from regular blackjack terminology, but you won't have any problem adjusting to the new lingo. Instead of "hit" you say "twist" and instead of "stay" you say "stick". The "Double Down" button has been replaced with a "Buy x2" icon.
Playing Blackjack Pontoon Online
You can play Pontoon online in most online casinos.
You will find them amongst the blackjack tables.