Easy and Simple — Tonk Card Game Rules Explained

In Tonk Card Game maximum of 2 to 4 players are allowed to play which is usually played to gamble. It is also called Tunk and was very famous in the 1930s and 1940s, and was originated in the Philippines includes the 12-card game, and currently played there. This game became more popular with its numerous variations. A deck of 52 cards is used in which joker is not present instead has values like picture cards count 10 points, aces count 1 point, and other cards with face values. At first, the players have to agree with the primary stake, and the winner can win a double stake, which is a Tonk.

In this article, you will get the idea of playing tunk, proper tonk rules, and other regulations in this game.

Good Old Introduction to Tonk Card Game

Five, seven, or nine cards are dealt according to the number of players in a clockwise direction at a time.  Only one card is faced up to start the game; others are faced down in the form of stock. If a player got 49 or 50 points, the player should declare themself first and show the cards, as mentioned in the tonk rules. However, if you forgot to declare even you got 49 or 50 points, then the player has to pay the amount twice, and if two players have 49 or 50 then the game will be drawn, and no payment will be made next game will start. If all of your cards are completed in the tonk card game, you will be declared as the winner. When your left side partner passes you to play then you will have two options to choose as follows:

  • If you want to end the play at the starting, you just have to turn all your cards face up, which is called dropping the game, and it will be declared that you have low points compared to others.
  • If you don’t want to drop the game, either pluck the top card from the stock or take the top card of the discarded pile.

The Deck of Cards Needed for a Tonk Game

In the tonk card game, the playing time allotted is 5 to 15 minutes with two jokers with a deck of 52 cards. Usually, seven cards are given to each player to play in a clockwise direction, and the first card is faced up to begin the game. In Tonk the face cards are of 10 points, the numbered cards are of their value, and the Ace card is of 1 value; and when the player reaches 100 points, and they are out of the game then the last player whoever is alive will be the winner. A full deck of the cards should include four “suits” that are clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades; and the 13 cards per suit will include ace, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, jack, queen, and king.

At the game time, the card which should be visible is the discarded pile, and the players are restricted to see the faces on the discarded cards. In the tonk rules, there are two types of spread:

  • The cards’ book consists of four cards having the same ranks such as black Q, red Q, diamond Q, or red heart 4, black leaf 4, red diamond 4, and black 4.
  • A run consists of the same suit that has three or more consecutive cards such as black A, black 2, black 3, or red heart 8, red heart 9, red heart 10, and red heart J. And, the ace in the deck counts as low, and after two cards the king is available.

Starting the Tonk Card Game – The Deal

If you don’t know how to play tonk, then here is the answer. At the start of the game, the first thing or the game’s procedure is to put up a fixed amount of money from each participant who agrees to play the tonk card game. And, whoever is the winner then the player will win all the fixed amount from each player. Also, to determine the first dealer players cut the cards, and the player who gets the highest card will get to deal first, and then it passes in the clockwise direction to each player.

Start the dealing of the first hand by keeping them facing down, and no one will be able to see each other’s cards, and one card should be dealt at one time then there will no chance to dealt more than one card. While playing the tonk card game, make sure to keep the tonk rules in mind, the numerical values in the cards are – one point for the aces; ten points to all the picture cards which includes the jack, queen, and the king; the face value cards in the numerical cards such as two hearts that equals to two points.

The Process of Gameplay Explained

In the gameplay, the first dealer turns up the first undealt card to start the discard pile, and to start the stockpile the rest cards which are not used are kept aside faced down, and the play starts typically from the dealer’s left side as it is played in the clockwise direction. The main aim of the tonk card game is to use your cards that forms spreads which are made up of three or more cards from the same rank; or to put three or more cards of the same suit in a proper sequence like 3, 4, 5, 6 of diamonds. As it is discussed in the Tonk that when a player gets 49 or 50 points, they have to declare immediately with the word “Tonk” followed by the tonk rules as the standard way to win this game is to get rid of all your cards through new spreads or by adding cards in the existing spreads. Also, if you have lower points compared to other players, you will be declared as the winner, and if you dropped the game at the beginning with low points, it would be known as being caught. The winner while playing tunk will get the agreed stake from each player as the winning prize.

Post-Play or Payout

While playing tunk, if none of the players gets 49 or 50 points, then the game can be finished in four ways as following:

  • Without any final discard if a player remains empty from the cards – If the player is tonk out, then the winner will be paid by double stakes from each player.
  • Without discarding the last card if the player runs out of cards – When the player loses all the cards while playing tunk, he will be declared as the winner and rewarded with each player’s primary stake.
  • If a player drops or goes down at the beginning of the game – Followed by the tonk rules each player exposes the cards in their hand and adds up their values, then two cases arise as follows:
  • When the player has dropped with a low point count, then the player will be declared as the winner and get paid with a direct stake fixed at the beginning of the game by each player.
  • When the player dropped the game but did not carry the lowest point count, the player would have to pay twice the primary stake to everyone with the lower or equal point count.

Other Tonk Card Game Variations

While playing tunk, you can play this game in some alternative ways for the player if the lowest scoring player is the player who has dropped this game:

  • The player who scored the lowest point after knowing the tonk rules will collect the primary stake from each player and double stake from the dropped player so that the dropped player has to pay only one person.
  • While playing tunk, if the player has dropped this game but not a low scorer, this player will pay everyone’s stake to the low scorer.
  • The dropper has to pay the primary stake to the player who has the same or lower score and the player with the lowest score with collect the primary stake from each player.
  • If a player without any reason considering the tonk rules drops the game, he will have to pay a double stake to each player.


As you may get the idea about how to play tonk due to the discussion that happened above. In this game, some player plays the last few deals of the entire game for double stakes, and the dealer announces it as “The Big One”.


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