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Pontoon is sometimes said to be an early version of blackjack. Today Pontoon is offered by Real Time Gaming Internet casinos. In Pontoon any five-card hand or a pontoon (same thing as a blackjack) pay 2 to 1, including after splitting. However there is no dealer up card and the dealer wins on ties. There are several other rule changes from blackjack so read carefully before playing. If played according the basic strategy below the game offers a low house edge of 0.17%.

1. The game is played with eight 52-card decks.

2. All cards have the same value as in blackjack.

3. The ranking value of hands in pontoon is as follows:

A pontoon, which is defined as an ace and any 10-point card, including after splitting
A five-card trick, which is defined as any 5-card hand that has not busted. All five-card tricks are of the same value, the point total does not matter.
A non-busted hand of 21 points of less with 4 or less cards. Hands will be ranked within this group according to the total number of points.
A busted hand of 21 points or more.

4. The dealer will deal each player two cards face up and two cards face down to the dealer.

5. The dealer will peek at his cards for a pontoon. If the dealer has a pontoon he will immediately turn it over and collect all wagers and cards.

6. The player may stand on any total greater or equal to 15, or on any 5-card hand.

7. The player may hit at any point, including after doubling.

8. The player may double on 2 to 4 cards, but only once per hand. The option includes after splitting, and once for each split hand.

9. The player may split two cards of equal rank. The player may resplit once, up to a total of three hands. When the player splits the first card dealt to each hand shall be automatic.

10. If the player busts he immediately loses and forfeits his cards and total wager.

11. After all players have played out their hands the dealer shall expose his two cards. Then the dealer shall continue to draw cards until he has a total of 17 points or more, except the dealer shall hit a soft 17. The dealer will also stop with any five-card hand.

12. The dealer shall compare his hand to each player hand. A winning player pontoon or five-card hand shall pay 2 to 1. All other player wins shall pay 1 to 1 (even money).

House Edge
The house edge following the basic strategy above is 0.17%. The average final bet size is 1.125 units so the element of risk is 0.15%. The standard deviation is 1.44.

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