Tong-its: Pinoy Card Game, Gone Online – Tong-it is one of the popular card games in the Philippines and it’s now online! It is a very strategic game of wits, card analysis, and bluffing that many players fell addicted into. In the actual face to face games, players sometimes take hours, sometimes a whole day, of just playing this exciting game! Many groups even add variations to add extra money bonuses aside from the pot money.
The game’s objective is to just simply be the first to get Tong-its! Where you eliminate all your cards by making hands. If in the end round the players still haven’t disposed all of their cards yet, the game’s winner will be the one who has the lowest sum of card values on their hand. Now, let us see first the basics of this game:
This game is played by three persons where the dealer receives 13 cards and the other two players receive 12 cards each. Next, the dealer throws his first card and the next player on his right must either pick the card up thrown by the dealer or pick the top card form the deck. After that, the second player must throw a card and the third player must also pick it up or just pick the top card of from the deck. The same procedure goes on all throughout the game.
Please also take note that if a player wishes to pick the card up thrown by the player before him, he is obliged to lay down his “bahay (local term in the Philippines)” or a hand made from the thrown card before disposing a card.
The Bets and Prizes
The game starts where the players must cash in the agreed minimum amount of bet that would serve as the pot money. After the round, if the winner is the one who has the lowest sum of card values, the other two players must only pay 40% of the minimum bet to the winner. For example, if the minimum bet agreed on is $5, the two losing players must pay $2 each to the winner. For the next round, each player must again cash in another minimum bet to the pot. But if the winner was able to get Tong-its! Or eliminate all his cards, the payments coming from each losing player now becomes 60% of the minimum bet.
If a player wins a round, he now becomes a Hitter. If the Hitter wins another round again consecutively, he gets the payout from each of the losing players plus take all the pot money. Some variations of the game follow a Continuous Hit Rule wherein the Hitter never resets and continuous to be the Hitter until somebody beats him.
The best advises to playing Tong-its
- Four of a Kind
- Three of a Kind
- Straight Flush (at least three, same suits – e.g. 2Diamonds-3Diamonds-4Diamonds)
- A player can lay down his hand/s once he gets his turn and he must do this before disposing a single card.
- If a player was able to lay down a hand or bahay and a turn passes him without the players laying down a hand, he automatically wins the round. So, be strategic when it comes to laying down hands!
- A player can make a sapaw or an extension to a hand laid down to remove the bahay’s owner of calling to fight. A Fight is a declaration wherein he challenges all the players to right away show their cards and see who has the lowest sum of values. If nobody responds to the fight, the fighter wins. If somebody calls, the money at stake (minimum amount) for payout is doubled.
- During the early rounds, limit yourself disposing of high cards (K, Q, J, or 10) right away. Some newbies tend to do this thinking that they can lower the sum of the value of their cards right away but in fact, they are only giving the players the advantage. What’s happening is if you throw away a high card, you are giving the next player a chance to complete his hand and if that happens, that automatically deducts 30 to that player (e.g. KHearts-KDiamonds-KingClubs). What you should do is wait for a few turns first and let the other player get impatient dispose off his possible combinations.
- Always remember and analyze cards thrown and laid down. This way, you’ll get a better view of where could the remaining cards be or if somebody is keeping it on their hands. It may take a few practices but it’s worth it.
- Extra payout for Ace cards – if a player wins and he has Ace cards on his hand, losing players must pay 40% of the minimum bet for each Ace card to the winner.
- Extra payout for Four of a Kind – if a player wins and he has Four of a Kind in hand, losing players must pay 60% of the minimum bet for each Four of a Kind hand to the winner.