- Both games of 21 share similar characteristics
- Learn the rules that differentiate these classic card games
Blackjack is a game which most people are familiar with, even if they’ve yet to play it at an online casino. For complete novices, the game’s simple rules make it a cinch to master.
This historic game remains one of the most popular casino staples, and is referenced heavily both in film and pop culture.
It also happens to be highly profitable, with the odds stacked in your favour compared with most casino games; the house edge tends to average around 1.5%. Who knew that those rainy days spent playing cards with your grandparents would come in handy one day?
In terms of brand recognition, so to speak, blackjack beats pontoon hands down, but there’s more to a game than sheer fame. Its lesser known derivative pontoon also has a lot to love about it, even if it attracts less fanfare online and in the movies.
It would be naive to assume that pontoon’s relative obscurity implies that it is a weaker game than blackjack.
Pontoon shares many similarities with blackjack but has some key differences that make it an interesting alternative. These contrasting features give rise to a debate over which game is best.
Stick or trick?
The five-card trick is a distinct feature of pontoon. This feature differs from blackjack, allowing an additional way for a player to win the hand. By selecting five cards that amount to 21 or less, this trick can give the player an advantage over the dealer.
Even playing at 2 to 1 odds, the five-card trick trumps a non-pontoon 21 of three cards.
Blackjack adheres to the simpler rules that the closest to 21 wins the hand. Given that this extra feature allows for added variety, it could be argued that pontoon brings more to the table.
However, pontoon’s policy with regards to ties puts the player at a disadvantage. Blackjack’s rules state that a tie with the dealer is what is known as a “push”.
In this instance, bets are returned to players. On the other hand, pontoon’s rules dictate that the house has the advantage. Despite having a winning hand of 21, you are guaranteed to win if the dealer draws the same. Doubling down also differs greatly between the different versions.
In blackjack, the ability to double down is only allowed on the two original cards in the player’s hand. Pontoon, in contrast, allows this option to be used when the player possesses cards over and above their original hand.
Once you go blackjack
A final difference that does benefit those who favour Blackjack is that game provides an opportunity to view the dealer’s cards when gauging whether to hit or stick.
Pontoon seems to favour more of a “lucky” approach because the dealer lays both sets of cards face down on the table, concealing the values underneath.
This in turn presents a challenge to the player in that it limits their possible playing strategies due to the absence of information. As a consequence, blackjack is the better option if you enjoy playing a game that mandates a modicum of strategy to win.
So which is better? That’s really for you to decide. If you can’t make up your mind, you can try both casino games for free at Genting Casino before settling on a favourite and laying some real cash on the table.
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