General pontoon question

kvajnto

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Mar 1, 2007
Location
London
I'm looking at Wizard of Odds pontoon page and can't really "get" the strategy chart. For example, when you have 15 with 4 cards you should double and with 4 cards or less you should stand? I really don't understand this...

Also, is pontoon regarded as a form of Blackjack according to online casinos? Many bonuses exclude "all forms of blackjack" but does that include pontoon?
 

happygobrokey

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Jul 24, 2006
Location
canada
correct. if you make a 5-card trick (stay below 21 with five cards) you get paid 2:1. taking a 5th card on 15 busts your hand more than half of the time, but it pays double if you make it and the dealer could easily beat your 15 if you stood with four cards, so in that spot it makes the most sense to hit/double. if you have two/three cards totalling 15, you have little chance of improving your hand, and with no dealer upcard even if you drew a 3 for 18 the dealer might have you beat regardless.

also you see the chart shows to only hit on four-card 17. in this spot it is not economical to double down, because so few cards will really help you, but again you'll get 2:1 if you catch an A-4 and the dealer would have won if he tied your 17 or made a standing hand so you'd still be praying for a bust if you stood so why not take a chance?

to formulate basic/optimum strategy, they play millions (billions?) of hands on a computer simulator and it tracks which decision at each juncture gives the highest return.

and if you want to play pontoon on a no blackjack bonus, get it in writing that you can, and if they're dim enough to allow pontoon on no bj bonuses, they will probably turn around and blame it on you. even if it doesn't say specifically, of course they can use that not to pay if you win, so make sure to ask ahead.
 

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