Australian Pontoon

Really a game of blackjack with Australian rules, this variant is rapidly gaining fans around the globe.

With interest growing in the Australian version of blackjack, a number of top gambling software companies have added this down-under game to their software offerings. 

The game itself is played using eight packs of 52 standard playing cards, with the card values identical to those in regular blackjack. The dealer deals two face-down cards to himself and two face-up to each player. The dealer first looks at his own cards and if he has pontoon, he turns his cards over and gathers in the losing bets. Each player's point count is then calculated according to the following priority list: 

  • Pontoon: Any 10-card or face card plus an ace.
  • Five-card trick: Player holds five cards with a point total less than or equal to 21.
  • Four cards or less with a point total less than or equal to 21.

Standard blackjack rules such as hitting and standing apply on any point totals greater than or equal to 15 points, and on any five-card trick. Splitting and doubling is also permitted but doubling can only be performed on two to four cards, and this is only allowed on one hand at a time. As in normal blackjack, if a player busts over 21, he loses his bet. 

When the dealer's cards are exposed, he must take another card until his hand scores a minimum of 17, not including a soft 17 (an ace and a six more points in one or more cards). The dealer is permitted to stand on a five card trick. Payout out odds are 2:1, but dealer's advantage operates. With the dealer's hand finalized, comparisons are made to each player's hands and wagers paid out or collected by the dealer. 

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