Commencing Your Tong-Its Journey


Tong-its is a three-player knock rummy game that has become popular in the Philippines. Both the name and composition of the game suggest a connection to the American game Tonk. Tong-Its emerged during the late 20th century and seems to be a lengthened version of Tonk, playerd with 12 card hands.

Players and Cards

Tong-Its is a game specifically for three players, using one standard Anglo-American deck composed of 52 cards without jokers. The cards in each suit rank: Ace 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Jack Queen and King. Aces are worth 1 point, Jacks, Queens, and Kings are worth 10 points, while the remaining cards count their face value.


The main goal of the game is, by drawing and discarding, to construct sets and runs, and to lessen the count of unmatched cards remaining in your hand.

A run is composed of three or more consecutive cards of the same unit, while a set consists of three or four cards of the same rank. Take note that players cannot use the same card as part of a set and a run at the same time.


The first dealer is selected at random. From that time on, the dealer is passed on to the winner of the previous hand. The cards are dealt one by one following a counterclockwise orientation: thirteen cards go to the dealer while twelve cards are given to the other participants. The remaining cards of the deck are placed face down to serve as the stock.


The dealer commences the play. The dealer may opt to expose one or more sets or runs face up on the table, which opens his hand, and must then discard one face up to the middle of the playing field to begin the discard pile. Discarding a card finishes the dealer’s turn and then the turn is passed on to the next player. A counterclockwise play is observed.

Each turn consists of the following:

Draw – You must start by taking one card from the stock pile or the discard pile, and adding it to your hand. However, players are only allowed to take a card from a discard pile if they are able to create a meld with it, and are then required to show the meld. After all, you can’t get your BGO Casino bonus without finishing the registration process, right? The same rule applies here.

Exposing Melds – For players in possession of a valid meld, they can expose any of them on the table. Melding is an optional move if a card was taken from the stock, but players are not obliged to expose a meld. Additionally, it is important to take note that melds held in hand are not valued against players at the end of the play. A player must put down at least one meld on the table for the hand to be considered opened.

Laying Off – This is another optional move wherein players may add cards to sets or runs previously melded by yourself or other. There is no limit to the amount of cards a player may lay off in one turn. A player does not need to open their hand to lay off. Laying a card off on another player’s exposed meld blocks that player from calling Draw on the following turn.

Discard – At the end of a turn, one card must be discarded from a player’s hand and placed on top of the discard pile face up.

End of Play

The play can continue until any of the following occurs:

  • The stock is exhausted
  • A player calls Tongit (If all cards are used in combinations or by laying them off on melds)
  • A player calls Draw (Players who opened and believes that both other players have a higher point total or fill fold, can call Draw at the beginning of his/her turn)