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Pontoon, an English variant of the American game of private Black Jack, is also referred to as Van John in Australia. Its basic rules, as played throughout the British Empire, are the same except for the doubling, redoubling, and bonus variations that have been included in this text. The rules of the Private Game of Black Jack apply, with the following exceptions and additional rules:

  1. First Round of Dealing. Dealer gives one face-down card to each player in rotation, including himself.
  2. Betting. After looking at his card, each player places a bet, which must be not less than the minimum bet nor more than the maximum bet designated by the dealer (banker). After all players have placed their bets, the dealer has the option to have each player’s bet doubled, providing it does not exceed the maximum limit. Any player may thus redouble his bet. Example: A player bets one unit, dealer doubles, requiring that player to put up one more unit. Any player refusing to double loses the bet already put up and is out of the game for that hand. The player redoubles, putting up two units making his total bet four units.
  3. Completion of the Deal. Dealer then gives one card face up to each other in rotation, including himself.
  4. Natural. If the dealer has a natural (ace and 10-count), every player pays him double the amount of his bet; however, a player holding a natural pays the dealer only the amount of his bet. If a player holds a natural and the dealer does not, the dealer pays that player double the amount of his bet.
  5. Dealer Takes Ties. If the dealer and a player have the same count, the dealer wins the bet.

Bonus Payments. Any player who possesses one of the following combinations collects immediately from the dealer and cannot lose his bet even if the dealer has a higher count:

  1. If a player has five cards and his total is 21 or under, he collects double his bet; with six cards totaling 21 or under, four times his bet; and so on, doubling for each additional poker rules card.
  2. A player who makes 21 with three sevens receives triple the amount of his bet.
  3. A player who makes 21 with eight, seven, and six is paid double the size of his bet.

The dealer is not entitled to any of the above bonuses.


This game is a rather sophisticated country cousin of Private Black Jack.

  1. A regular pack of playing cards out of which have been stripped the eights and all the sixes except the six of hearts, making a 45- card deck.
  2. Two to eight players.

Value of the Cards. The cards take the same value and count as the cards at Black Jack, except that aces count 1 only.
Object of the Game. To draw cards for a total of 16 or as close to 16 as possible without exceeding 16.
Selecting the Farmer. Any player may shuffle. Any player may cut. The acting dealer deals each player one card face up, starting with the player to his left and continuing clockwise. The player to whom the six of hearts is first dealt becomes the farmer.
The Ante. Each player antes one unit in cash to form a pool known collectively as the farm.
The Shuffle and Cut. The farmer shuffles. While any other player may call for and have the right to shuffle before the cards are cut, the farmer has the right to shuffle last. The deck. is then squared and presented to the player at the farmer’s right for the cut. He may decline, and any other player may cut the cards; but if all other players decline to cut, it is compulsory that the farmer himself cut.
The Deal. Starting with the player at his left and dealing clockwise, the farmer deals each player one card face down, the last card to himself.
The Play. The player at the farmer’s left plays first, and thereafter the turn of play rotates one man at a time, clockwise, the farmer playing last. A turn of play consists of a player’s drawing at least one card. This is mandatory. The player may draw as many cards as he chooses, as long as his total count does not exceed 16. A player may stay that is, decline to draw more cards after drawing one or more. Should a player’s count exceed 16, he does not (as in Blackjack ) turn up his face-down card and announce that he is over. He merely says “I stay.”
After all players including the farmer have had a turn of play, each player-starting with the one at the farmer’s left - face their cards, and announce their count.

  1. Any player holding a count of 16 wins the farm and becomes the next farmer.
  2. If more than one player hold a count of 6, and one of those players has the six of hearts, he is the winner.
  3. If more than one player have a count of 16 without the six of hearts, the player having the fewest cards is the winner.
  4. Should there be ties and should the farmer be one of the tied players, the farmer is the winner.
  5. In case of ties, if the farmer is not involved, the tied player closest to the farmer’s left is the winner. The winner, in any case, becomes the new farmer or dealer.
  6. If no one holds a count of 16 the farm (pool) remains on the table, and the same farmer deals a new hand and each of the players must ante again.

Payoff. On the completion of each deal, whether or not the farm has been won, each player who has gone over 16 must pay one unit to the farmer who dealt the bust hand. Should the farmer bust, he does not have to pay a unit to anyone. If no one holds a count of 16, the player with a count nearest to 16 gets one unit from each player holding a lesser count-but not from players who have gone over the limit of 16. In case of ties on counts nearest 16, the tied players divide the payoff units equally.


One of the names by which this variation is known, Quince, suggests quinze and a French genealogy. It’s also known as Ace Low, and Cans. Fifteen is Black Jack for two players otherwise all the Black Jack rules apply except for the following:

  1. The count which dealer and nondealer are trying to approach but not exceed is 15.
  2. The value of the cards is the same as at Black Jack, except that aces count 1 only.
  3. Before the cards are dealt, dealer and nondealer ‘put up an equal amount in the pool.
  4. The dealer gives his opponent one card face down, then one face down to himself.
  5. The nondealer may draw cards (face up) or stay as in Black Jack. If, when drawing, he should bust (go over 15), he does not r announce that fact; he says simply “I stay.”
  6. Now, as he sees fit, the dealer may I either draw cards or stay. In either event, at I the completion of his play, both players face their down card, and announce their count.
  7. The contestant holding a count of15, or a count closer than his opponent’s to 15 without exceeding 15, collects the bets. If the players tie on the same count, or both players hold a count of 16 or more, it is a standoff. Neither wins or loses and bets are carried over to the new deal, when new bets may be laid if it is desired.
  8. The loser of the hand deals next hand.

Where the Dealer’s Advantage Lies. Although the dealer does not automatically collect his opponent’s bet when the opponent busts at fifteen, he nevertheless enjoys a tactical advantage in that the nondealer’s bust may be clear from his face-up cards. The dealer, observing that the player must have a count of16 or better, simply stays-stands pat and wins. Although this situation is un- common, it occurs often enough to give the dealer an impressive percentage.

Seven and a Half

This is the game Italians say is the forerunner of Black Jack. I’ve seen it come into rather modest vogue in the last 25 years. Although casinos won’t run it, Seven and a Half has its public in the little political clubhouses you find in the back streets of every big industrial city that has a high concentration of foreign born people.


  1. A standard pack of cards from which the eights, nines, and tens have been removed, making a 40-card deck.
  2. A banker and as many players as can crowd around an ordinary table. Onlookers may bet on the player poker hands .

Value of the Cards. The court cards, kings, queens, and jacks, count 1/2. All other cards count their numerical face value: ace, 1; deuce, 2; trey, 3; and so on. The king of diamonds is designated as the joker, and is wild. A player may assign it any value he pleases from 1/2to 7.
Object of the Game. To get a card count of 7 1/2or as close to 7 1/2as possible without exceeding 7 1/2.
Selecting the Dealer. Any player may, by mutual consent, shuffle the deck. Then he puts it in the center of the table. Any player may cut. The acting dealer squares the cut and, starting with the player at his left and going clockwise, deals to each player including himself, one card face up until the king of diamonds has been dealt. The player receiving it becomes the first dealer and banker.
The Betting Limit. The dealer may establish for his deal the minimum and maximum bet any player may make. He may raise or lower his limits as he sees fit.
The Shuffle and Cut. The dealer shuffles the cards; any player may call for a shuffle at any time before the cut, but the dealer has the right to shuffle last. He then puts the cards on the table, and any player may cut; if more than one wants to cut, he or they must be allowed to do so. Note: If the dealer does not like the way in which a cut is made, he may designate a player to make a new cut, and that cut is final.
The Betting and Deal. Before the deal begins:

  1. Each player, announcing the amount to the dealer, must place on the table before him the money he proposes to bet,
  2. Or, if a player doesn’t want to bet on that hand, he must say to the dealer, “Deal me out.” He is skipped in the ensuing deal.

Thereupon one card is dealt face down to each player who has placed a bet. The player cannot alter his bet after a card is dealt.  Each round of play requires a new shuffle and a new deal.
The Play. The player at the dealer’s left E has the first turn to play poker . He may do one of two things, as in Black Jack. He may:

  1. Stay, which he signifies by saying, “I have enough,” or “I pass.”
  2. Draw, at his discretion, one or more 11 cards provided such cards and his down  card do not add up to a count of 8 or more.

The play moves clockwise around the table. If any player draws one card giving him a total of 7 ½  he must immediately face his 1 I down card and announce his count. This is paid off at premium rates.
The Bust. Should a player, drawing cards, run his total to 8 or more, he has busted, and must forthwith pay the dealer the amount of his bet. The dealer picks up the cards with which the player went bust, and puts them to one side. All players who have not busted leave their cards in full view of the banker.
            The Banker’s Turn of Play.   The dealer’s turn of play comes last.  He may, of course, either stay or draw.  If he draws and busts, he must pay all players surviving in the game an amount equal to their bet, and must pay off at two to one to players holding a count of 7 ½ with two cards.  if he stays, he collects bets from players having a lower count than he, and pays off players having a lower count than he, and pays off players having a higher count.  All ties are stand-offs; no one 2wins or loses.
            Note:   although some club games are played in which the dealer arbitrarily wins ties, I do not countenance this rule; it is manifestly unfair to the player, and further reduces his already very meager chance of getting home solvent.
            A player holding a two-card 7 ½ wins the bank of completion of the deal as well as winning his bet at two to one; but if the dealer also catches a 7 ½ with two cards, he retains the bank.  Should more than one player hold a count of 7 ½ with two cards always beats a 7/2 with two cards always beats a 7 ½ with more than two cards.
            The Dealer’s Advantage.  Unlike Black Jack, the dealer at his turn of play and at his own discretion, may stand, or draw one or more cards in an attempt to better his count and beat the player or players.  Under such conditions, the dealer’s advantage due to players busting first may be increased or decreased due to the dealer’s skill.  A  skilled dealer may increase his dust advantage a poor dealer may even put the percentage factor in favor of the player by poor drawing and standing on certain counts.  In Seven and a Half it is wise for the dealer to play against the big money hands and ignore the small money hands. However, the only way to give yourself anything like an even chance of winning poker at this game is to bank it whenever you get the chance.  Some players have a superstitious reluctance to handle the deck as dealer.  That is a sure-fire, never-fail, fool-proof way of going broke.  The bank is a privilege.  Use it.

Ten and a Half

This is the Dutch version of the Italian game of Seven and a Half.  It is known as Satan Pong in Holland and its possessions.  Unlike the rules of Black Jack and Seven and a Half, the rules of Ten and a Half give the banker dealer less of an advantage if any at all.

  1. Two to seven players constitute the best game, although standers by may bet on the hand of any player except the dealer.
  1. A standard pack of 52 cards which are valued as follows: Court cards, kings, queens, and jacks count one-half.  All other cards count their face value, ace 1, twos 2, threes 3, and so on up to ten which counts 10.

Object of the Game.  To get a higher count (total value of cards in hand ) than the dealer (banker) up to but not over 10 ½.  Should the player draw cards forcing his total over 10 ½ .  he must immediately pay the dealer-banker, and he sacrifices any chance to beat or tie the dealer.  The player may demand and draw any number of cards until he reaches or exceeds a count of 10 ½ .
            The Rules Governing the Game such as the Following.   The selection of the first dealer-banker, the betting limit, shuffle, and cut are the same as those governing Seven and a Half. 
            The Betting and the Deal.  Before the deal begins:

  1. Each player except the dealer-banker must place on the table before him the money (within the betting limit) he proposes to bet.  Thereupon one card is dealt face down to each player including the dealer-banker.  The player cannot alter his bet after a card is dealt.
  1. When all cards are dealt out the deal (bank ) passes to the player on the left of the previous dealer-banker .  If, however, the banker-dealer is in the midst of a deal and there are not enough undealt cards remaining the deck, he is permitted to reshuffle the dealt card and complete the last hand.

The Player.  The player to the dealer-banker’s left has the first turn of play.  he may do one or two things   He may:

  1. Stay, which he signifies by saying, “No cards ” or “I have enough.”
  2. Draw, at his discretion, one or more cards, provided they and his down card do not add up to a count of eleven or more.  The play moves clockwise around the table.  If any player draws one card giving him a total of 10 ½ he must immediately turn up his down card and announce his count.  The dealer-banker immediately pays this natural 10 ½ count off at 2 to 1 odds.  If the player makes a count of 10 ½ with three or more cards, he announces the fact, turns up his face-down card and is paid off at even money (1 to 1).
  3. Bust.  Should a player drawing cards run his total to eleven or more, he has busted and must forthwith turn up his down card and announce his bust count.  The dealer-banker takes the bet and picks up the cards which the player went bust with and puts them face up o0n the bottom of the deck.
  4. All players who have not busted leave their cards in full view of the dealer-banker.

The Dealer-banker’s Turn.  The dealer-banker’s turn of play comes last.  He may, of course, either stay or draw.  If he draws and busts, he must pay all active players an amount equal to their bets.  If he stays or draws and does not bust, he collects from players having a lower count than he, and pays off players having a higher count.  All ties are stand-offs, no one wins or loses.


This blackjack variations, which is also called Three naturals, was popular in the twenties and the thirties, but isn’t played too frequently today.  It is played in the same manner as Black Jack except for the following:

  1. There is no count for the picture cards or the tens, and the aces count 1 only.
  2. The object of the game is to obtain 9 in one or more cards.
  3. Each player makes a bet and receives one card face down.  The dealer also receives one cards face down.  The dealer also receives one card face down.
  4. If the player has a nine, he is paid three times the amount bet; if it is an eight, he is paid twice if it is a seven, he is paid singly.  However, the dealer ties a nine with a nine, beats an eight with a nine, beats a seven with an eights or nine, and ties if he has the same number.
  5. If the dealer has no seven, eight, or nine, the bets involving those cards are settled.  Then each player in turn, starting at the dealer’s left, may draw one or more cards as in Black Jack.  The object is to reach 9 or as close thereto as possible without going bust (over 9).  As in Black Jack, when a player and dealer tie, there is a standoff.



Pinochle many Variations

Pinochle many Variations
Two-Handed Pinochle
Two-Handed Doubling Redoubling
Auction pinochle
Strategy at Auction
CAD found
Partnership Auction
Auction pinochle without wido Individual play
Partnership Aeroplane Pinochle
Radio Partnership Pinochle

Other Members of the Bezique Family

The Bezique Family
Rubicon bezique
Two-handed sixty-six
Two-handed piquet
Boo-Ray or BOURÉ

The Big Euchre Family

The big euchre family
Strategy of euchre
Auction euchre
Table of scoring points
Spoil five
Double hasenpfeffer
Three-card loo

The Heart Group

Heart Group
Spot Hearts
Black Widow Hearts

The All-Fours Group

All-Fours Group
Shasta Sam
Auction Pitch Joker

Banking Card Games

Banking Card Games
Black Jack, casino Style
Black Jack Strategy
CHEMIN DE PER must play
Baccarat Banque
Faro or farobank
Banker and broker
Red Dogs

Card craps

The Stops Games

Stops Game

Skarney® and How It Is Played

Skarney® and How It Is Played
Alternate Skarney
Skarney Singles
Skarney Gin Doubles

Cheating at Card Games

Cheating at Card Games
Professional Card Cheats
Nullifying the Cut
The Peek
How to Shuffle Cards

Dice and their Many Games

Dice and their Many Games
The Casino Game: Bank Craps
English Hazard
Double Cameroon
Partnership Straight scarney Dice
Scarney Duplicate Jackpots
Scarney Chemin de Fer
Applying All Card Games Poker

Games Requiring Special Equipment

Hasami Shogi
Follow The Arrow

Lottery and Guessing Games

Lottery guessing game
Tossing Game
Race Horse Keno
The match Game

Glossary of Game Terms


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