Card games have always captivated the minds of players seeking entertainment and a bit of challenge. Two popular contenders in the realm of card games are Blackjack and Pontoon. Although they share similarities in their objective to beat the dealer's hand without exceeding a certain total, they also have distinct rules and strategies that set them apart. If you've ever wondered about the difference between these two card classics, look no further. Let's delve into the intricacies of Blackjack and Pontoon to help you make an informed choice for your next card gaming adventure.

I. The Origins

Blackjack, also known as "21," holds its origins in French casinos in the 1700s. The game's popularity soared when it made its way to the United States, where the name "Blackjack" emerged due to the early rule stating that a player instantly wins with an Ace of Spades and a black Jack.

Pontoon, on the other hand, has a murkier history. Some believe it originated in Britain, while others attribute its creation to the Spanish game "Ventiuna." Regardless of its exact origins, Pontoon gained popularity in various forms across different countries.

II. The Card Values

Both Blackjack and Pontoon aim to achieve a hand total as close to 21 as possible without exceeding it. In Blackjack, a hand with an Ace and a ten-value card (10, Jack, Queen, or King) constitutes a "Blackjack" and guarantees a win, usually paying out 3:2.

In Pontoon, the card values differ slightly. While a hand of an Ace and any 10-point card is the best hand, it is not termed a "Blackjack." Instead, it is referred to as a "Pontoon," and it pays out 2:1.

bj dealer

III. The Terminology

While both games utilize specific terminology, the names for certain actions can vary. In Blackjack, players "hit" to take additional cards, "stand" to keep their current hand, "double down" to double their initial bet and receive one more card, and "split" to separate matching cards into two hands. Some Blackjack variants also offer options like "surrender" or "insurance" in specific situations.

Pontoon, being of British origin, uses distinct terms. Players "twist" to take extra cards, "stick" to stand, "buy" to double their bet and receive another card, and "split" to divide matching cards. Similar to Blackjack, Pontoon may have additional rules, such as the "five-card trick," where a hand of five cards totaling 21 or less is unbeatable.

IV. The Dealer's Hand

In both games, the dealer plays a crucial role in the gameplay. However, there are differences in how the dealer's hand is managed. In Blackjack, the dealer receives one face-up card and one face-down card. If the face-up card is an Ace or a ten-value card, the dealer checks the face-down card to see if a Blackjack is achieved before proceeding.

In Pontoon, the dealer's cards remain face-down throughout the game. This increases the house edge and adds an element of mystery and challenge for the players.

V. Doubling Down and Splitting

The rules for doubling down and splitting also vary between the games. In Blackjack, players can double down on any two cards, whereas in Pontoon, doubling down is only allowed on certain hand values.

Similarly, the rules for splitting differ. In Blackjack, players can split any pair of cards of the same value, and they can even re-split up to a certain number of times. In Pontoon, players can split only if they have a pair of cards with the same rank, but resplitting is generally not allowed.

VI. The Number of Decks

The number of decks used in each game can influence the odds and strategies. Blackjack can be played with one to eight decks of cards, while Pontoon traditionally uses a single deck.

VII. The Strategy

Due to the differences in rules, the optimal strategies for Blackjack and Pontoon also diverge. In Blackjack, basic strategy charts are available, guiding players on the statistically best moves to make in each situation. Such charts are harder to find for Pontoon, and players often have to rely on their intuition and experience to make informed decisions.


In conclusion, Blackjack and Pontoon, though sharing some similarities, are distinct card games with their own set of rules, terminology, and strategies. Blackjack has a well-established set of rules and strategies, making it more approachable for beginners, while Pontoon offers a more enigmatic and challenging experience. Whichever game you choose, remember that the most important aspect is to have fun and enjoy the thrill of playing with the cards dealt in your favor. Good luck and may the cards be in your favor!

With digital marketing strategies in his blood Louis Wheeler has traveled around the world, exploring gambling cultures and gaining experience in casino games from 2003. If you are in a casino anywhere around the planet, you may find him right next to you, playing blackjack, roulette or texas hold'em.