Blackjack is a popular game at Australian online casinos, partly because of the glamour associated with it at land casinos. In almost all online blackjack variants the dealer is dealt his first card face up and the second card is not dealt or dealt face down. Therefore the player makes his moves with only the first dealer card being known. There are blackjack games at Microgaming online casinos with important differences in this regard. Double Exposure has both dealer cards dealt face up and Pontoon has both dealer cards dealt face down. They can be played at online casinos like Casino Mate and Royal Vegas.
In Double Exposure you play your hand after seeing both the dealer’s initial cards. The significance of this is illustrated through the following situation. If your hand value is 19 and the dealer has a count of 20, in Double Exposure Blackjack you have to hit hoping for an ace or deuce. Because you can see both the dealer’s cards you have an advantage that in the normal course would lead to an average return of over 100%, making this online blackjack variant unviable for online casinos. Therefore some of the payouts and rules have to be altered in the dealer’s favour in order to level the playing field. Blackjack pays at 1 to 1 in Double Exposure instead of at 3 to 2 as in normal games. And the dealer wins all ties except blackjack ties. In normal online blackjack variants ties push returning the player’s wager.
In Pontoon both the dealer’s cards are dealt face down so you play without knowing what cards the dealer holds. Before we understand the implications of that it is important to know that Pontoon uses terms different from normal online blackjack games. Stand becomes stick; hit becomes twist; double down becomes buy and a dealt hand of two card totalling 21 is not a blackjack but a pontoon. In Pontoon, the player starts with a disadvantage so the payouts and rules are tweaked in his favour. A pontoon pays out at 2 to 1 instead of the 3 to 2 payout in blackjack. Pontoon has a special hand called the "5-card trick". It is a hand valued at 21 or less but made with five cards. This hand beats any dealer's hand except pontoon and pays 2 to 1. In Pontoon you can buy with up to four cards in the hand.