Joined: Aug 15, 2011
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October 17th, 2016 at 4:44:27 AM permalink
I have chanced upon a land casino in my local city last week and came across a variation of blackjack called pontoon. I have read the wizard's page on pontoon and recall the rules as follows:

1)Hit Soft 17
2)Double after split allowed
3)European no hole card rule
4)Double on 9 to 11, no doubling on soft hand
5)Late surrender, If dealer up card is 10 or A and later indeed BJ, entire bet lost
6)Player 21 or blackjack win immediately
7)Double down rescue, by giving up the amount of the original wager to get the other half of the remaining amoutn
8)A five-card 21 pays 3 to 2, a six-card 21 pays 2 to 1, a seven-or-more-card-21 pays 3 to 1. No bonus paid if doubled
9)A 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 of mixed suits pays 3 to 2, of the same suit pays 2 to 1, and of spades pays 3 to 1. No bonus paid if doubled
10)Suited 7-7-7, when the dealer has a seven face up, pays $1000 for bets of $5-$24 and $5000 for bets of $25 or over. In addition, all other players receive a $50 "envy bonus." This bonus does not pay after doubling or splitting

Other info:
1) 5 Spanish decks (with 10s removed)
2)ENHC (European no hole card) followed
3)2 splits allowed
4)No hit on split aces and no respliting of aces
5)Doubling allowed on 2 cards only
6) Auto shuffled used, every round is shuffled

In this casino there is a dead chip programme offered which can be used at pontoon as well but not for there blackjack games. The rebate is offered at 1.1% and I was wondering whether would there be any edge for the player given the choice of wagering to be this game (pontoon). I have tried computing the house edge via MGP's freeware blackjack combinatorial analysis which displayed as 0.85%. Likely the figure is incorrect due to the wrong input as figure from the wizard of odds is around 0.6% or maybe less. I am not technically inclined and therefore i likely made mistakes during the input of the rules.
If anyone can enlighten me on the house edge of the above game i would be very much grateful.

Thanks for your attention
Joined: Oct 14, 2009
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October 17th, 2016 at 6:40:08 AM permalink
Just eyeballing it, I don't think there is an edge here. This looks like Spanish 21 with lousy rules. In particular no peeking at the hole card, double on 9 to 11 only, and doubling on the first 2 cards only. The dead chip rule is worth about half the rebate, so 0.55%. The house edge on the game is higher than that, unless I am overlooking something.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Joined: Aug 15, 2011
  • Threads: 4
  • Posts: 9
October 17th, 2016 at 7:15:20 AM permalink
Thank you Sir for your prompt insight, much appreciated.

Actually for the game pontoon as indicated by your web page , having no hole card benefits the player due to the fact that a player can draw to 21 and win immediately even if the dealer draw a BJ subsequently. Also doubling on 9 to 11 is the standard rule for pontoon. The only variable rules are
1) The number of decks
2)Hole card rule (e.g. OBO, BB+1, OBBO, ENHC)
3)Number of splits, 1 or 2
4)Resplitting aces allowed or not
5)Doubling with 2 cards only or any number of cards

Pretty much the other rules like Hitting soft 17 and dealer not taking a hole card is quite standard for the game of pontoon. I just visited your website and calculated a house edge of around 0.58% based on the said game though i cant see to get this figure on the blackjack combinatorial analysis, i believe i am probably inputing the rules in a erroneous way. Would greatly appreciate any more feedback, thanks.

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