What is Shoot Pontoon?

Shoot Pontoon

It is quite amazing to find that Pontoon is the British version of the world wide famous banking game Twenty-One. The game of twenty one also known as Blackjack is the name often recalled at American casinos.  The word Pontoon is derived from the French word ‘Vingt-et-un’ meaning 21. One of the variations of Pontoon games is called as Shoot Pontoon where betting makes the game more interesting by creating a betting mechanism named as ‘Shoot’

Let us learn for information sake what Shoot Pontoon is all about.

According to Jeffrey Burton Shoot Pontoon is Pontoon modified by incorporating the betting mechanism of Shoot in addition to the normal betting. Both Shoot and Shoot Pontoon were popular in Britain in the mid 1950’s.

The Forming of Kitty

Kitty- this word is often used on a collection of some amount of money contributed by people. Here in this game the dealer forms a kitty by putting in any amount of money, between agreed minimum and maximum limits.

The Shoot Bet

After all the players have bet on their first card, then starting again with the player to dealer’s left, they each have a turn to make a shoot bet.

  • Shoot bets are kept separate from the players’ normal bets, and are placed between the player and the kitty.
  • You are never forced to make a shoot bet but if you do, it can be any amount you choose, provided that the total of all the shoot bets is not more than what is in the kitty.

Thus if the first player shoots half the kitty, the second player can shoot any amount up to half the kitty; if the first player decides to shoot the whole kitty, the remaining players cannot for the time being place any shoot bets at all.

After the shoot bets have been placed, the dealer deals everyone a second card face down. If the dealer has a Pontoon, all the shoot bets are added to the pot and the players each pay double their stake to the dealer. Otherwise each player has the same options as in normal pontoon, but with some extra betting opportunities:

The fourth card

Buying or twisting a third card is the same as when you play normal pontoon – no extra bets are allowed.

  • If a player has a three card hand totalling less than 21 and wishes to ask for a fourth card, either by twisting it or (if the third card was bought) by buying it, then before receiving the card, the player is allowed to place a shoot bet.
  • This bet can be any amount which does not make the total of shoot bets greater than what is currently in the kitty.
  • You can place a shoot bet before receiving your fourth card even if you did not shoot at your previous opportunity; conversely, shooting before your second card does not compel you to shoot before your fourth card.
  • There is no further opportunity to shoot after you see your fourth card, even if you decide to take a fifth.


When a player splits having made a shoot bet, the shoot bet remains on the hand containing the first card, and the player has the option to place a new shoot bet (not necessarily of the same amount) on the other hand, subject to the usual limitation that the total of all shoot bets must not be more than the kitty.

Going bust

If a hand goes bust, that hand’s shoot bet, if any, is immediately added to the kitty – thus increasing the amount that subsequent hands can shoot.

At the end of the hand, after the dealer has played, all outstanding shoot bets are settled at the same time as the normal pontoon bets. Players who have a better hand than the dealer are paid an amount equal to their shoot bets out of the kitty, and players whose hands are equal to or worse than the dealer’s have their shoot bets added to the kitty.

The Banking

Before each new deal the dealer has the option to add more money to the kitty, but must not take anything out of it. If there is nothing in the kitty at the end of a hand the dealer must either put up a new kitty or offer the bank for sale to the highest bidder. When the deal passes to a new player, either because they had a Pontoon or because it was sold, the old dealer retrieves anything that was left in the kitty, and the new dealer puts up a new kitty.

Interesting Pontoon isn’t it!