Pontoon blackjack is an exciting card game that you will really enjoy if you are looking for something new and interesting. Many casino buffs have heard of the game but have never played it because it is relatively unknown in the United States as it is most prominently played in Australian and Malaysian casinos. It is also known under the name Jupiters 21 or even Paradise Pontoon.


Pontoon is played on a standard blackjack table, but it should not be confused with blackjack as there are some pretty big differences that will affect game play!

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Rules of Pontoon

Players Rules
1) Player must “twist” or hit with 14 or lower
2) Player can “buy” or double down at any point with 2, 3 or 4 cards
3) Player can “twist” after doubling down
4) Player can only double down once
5) Player can split matching cards for a total of 3 hands

Dealer Rules
1) Both dealer cards are dealt face down
2) Dealer must hit on soft 17
3) Dealer check for Pontoon (blackjack) before hand is played

Pontoon Hand Rules
1) Pontoon (blackjack) pays 2 to 1
2) Any 5 card hand (called 5 card trick) pays 2 to 1
3) Dealer wins all ties

The basic strategy for this game isn’t much different then regular blackjack. There will be some hands that you will not have any control over because you will be forced to take a card. Because the dealer wins all ties, staying with 17 is almost like standing with 16 in regular blackjack. Since you can’t see the dealer’s cards, you may want to twist on 17.

pontoon-5-card-trickOne basic strategy in Pontoon is to always try for the 5 card trick, unless you have a score of hard 18 or more. This is because you will automatically win 2 to 1, unless the dealer also gets a 5 card trick.

You may think that this example to the right is weird, but this is the correct play in Pontoon. Usually with 21, you would never hit; but because I had four cards and could not bust, I twisted for the automatic 5 card trick.

More and more casinos are offering this variation of blackjack; so if you want to try something new and different, take a look at this list of casinos that offer pontoon.

I would suggest that you practice before you try playing Pontoon for real money. You should try practicing using this pontoon blackjack flash game. This is an ideal option that will stick with the basic rules and table layout that you know and love, but then give them a bit of a twist for some added fun!

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