What are the Differences between Blackjack and Pontoon?

  • Friday, Feb 25, 2022

Blackjack and pontoon are often used interchangeably by most players. However, despite both of them originating from the early version of the British Vingt-Un, they are different. Undoubtedly, these two games have significant similarities, which can make it hard to differentiate them, especially for beginners in the gambling industry. Here are the major differences between blackjack and pontoon to find your way around both of them.

Positions that the Card Face

In both blackjack and pontoon, you will be dealt with two cards facing up, and also the dealer will receive the cards. The difference is in blackjack, one of the dealer's cards faces down and the other up, whereas in pontoon both will face down. For this reason, it can be hard to beat the dealer in pontoon because you won't estimate their count.

Therefore, in pontoon, you will be making decisions without knowing what card the dealer might have. However, the dealer will first check if they have a natural when both cards are still facing down. When the dealer confirms they don't have a natural, the player will continue to pick extra cards. The following are other steps between the games that are similar. Examples are:

  • You need to form a hand with a count close to 21
  • Your count should surpass 21, as this will be an automatic loss
  • The cards values are similar in both games

In both blackjack and pontoon, a win is formed by a two-card 21, which is an ace and a 1o or face card. However, the payouts are different, whereby in pontoon the natural pays 2:1, and regular blackjack pays 3:2. Hence, you should pay attention to your moves when playing pontoon to beat the dealer. If you are playing online, it is wise to play a free demo.

Differences in Terms

Pontoon and blackjack have differing terms that mean the same actions. For instance, 'hit' in blackjack means you want additional cards, but in pontoon, you will say 'twist' for the same action. Also, in blackjack, if you don't want to take extra cards, you say 'stand,' but in pontoon, you say 'stick'. Additionally, if you want to 'double down' your bet in pontoon you say 'buy.'

Doubling Down in Pontoon

Doubling down in regular blackjack involves placing an additional bet equal to the original one to get one extra card. This strategy is also available in pontoon, but the difference is you can double down before taking a 'twist.' Also, you can double down with more than two hands, in pontoon, which is not allowed in blackjack. Moreover, you can continue hitting after doubling down.


Sticking and twisting also have a few differences with blackjack's standing and hitting. In pontoon, you can't stand until your count exceeds 14. On the other hand, in blackjack, you can stand at any time. For this reason, you can't win with a 14 or less in pontoon, which is allowed in blackjack. The following are other differences in pontoon regarding sticking or twisting.

  • The dealer always hit on soft 17
  • The house edge for pontoon is lower

A Tie is a Loss

In pontoon, a tie is loss, which means when you and the dealer form a winning hand with the same count, the dealer wins. In regular blackjack, when you and the dealer tie, you will get your bet back. However, it is rare for a tie down to happen, but if it vital to know this rule to avoid being surprised when it happens.

The 5-Card Trick

Pontoon has also introduced a 5-card trick which increases the chances of winning. With this strategy, a player can form a winning hand that totals to 21 or close to it but not exceeding it. However, this can be a challenging tactic as you can surpass 21 without knowing. Thus, if you want to use this trick ensure that your hand has cards with less values.