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-Number of players: three or more-Playing time: as desired.-Cards: standard deck, no jokers.-Ranking: court cards count 10 points, Aces count 1 or 11 at the holder’s option, pip cards their face value.

The 10s and court cards are collectively known as “tenths”-Deal: one player acts as banker, the rest as punters. The cards are shuffled at the start of play but thereafter only on a pontoon when the bank changes hands. This simple yet subtle gambling game, a traditional favorite of the Armed Forces, is also known as Twenty-one and, with minor modifications, as Blackjack in casinos (where the punter is strongly advised to read the house rules before venturing to play).

Whilst stakes are essential for Pontoon, the game need not, of course, be played for money.

To hold two or more cards which together sum to 21 (ideally an Ace and a tenth, this is known as pontoon or a natural) but above 15 and as near to 21 as possible. Play This takes place in a number of stages.-The banker deals one card to each player, including sled. (See Stage 1).-The banker deals a second card all round.

(See Stage 2).-The banker addresses the players in turn, who either complete their hands or are busted.

(See Stage 3).-When all punters have been accommodated, the banker’s hand is turned over.

The banker is free to add cards face up to it, stopping when satisfied or is busted.-Debts are settled.

The banker pays all punters whose hands beat the banker’s hand, matching the punters’ stakes, and collects the stakes of the losing punters.

Stage 1The punters look at their cards then put them back face down on the table, indicating their bets by placing counters beside them.

Stage 2When all the punters have bet, banker deals a second card face down all round.

Stage 3The banker now addresses each punter in turn, starting with Eldest.

A punter has three options and a possible fourth as follows.-Stick.