Tongits: A Guide to the Exciting Filipino Card Game

Discover Tongits, the thrilling Filipino card game! Our guide breaks down rules and strategies for a fun and engaging experience.
tongits guide

What is Tongits 

Tongits, a fascinating card game known as “tong-its” or “tung-it,” seamlessly blends the thrill of Rummy and Poker. This three-player game is renowned for its fast-paced action, involving the formation of melds, strategic discards, and a race to achieve the lowest score or be the first to empty your hand.

Setting Up the Game

Gather the Essentials

For Tongits, get a deck of 52 cards and a flat surface.

Determine the Dealer

The dealer, crucial for the game’s flow, is decided before the first round, with subsequent rounds seeing the dealer’s position rotate clockwise.

Deal the Cards

Each player gets 13 cards face down. The draw pile goes in the center.

The Gameplay

Card Values

Understanding the values is critical:

  • Face cards (Jack, Queen, King) are worth 10 points each.
  • Number cards (2 to 10) carry corresponding numerical values.
  • Aces are valued at 1 point each.


Melds are the heart of Tongits and come in two forms: sets (three or more cards of the same rank) and runs (three or more cards of the same suit in consecutive order).

Game Objective

The goal? Be the first to discard all your cards or have the lowest score when the game concludes.

A Player’s Turn

Draw and Discard

Each turn begins with drawing a card from the draw pile and then strategically discarding one face up to the discard pile.

Forming Melds

After drawing and discarding, players can create melds by placing sets or running face-ups on the table. Adding cards to existing melds is allowed, regardless of the originator.

Laying Off

Players can further enhance existing melds by “laying off” cards from their hand onto the table, extending runs, or adding to sets.

Calling Tongits

The pinnacle moment comes when a player manages to play all their cards, shouting “Tongits!” to signal an immediate victory and game conclusion.

Ending the Turn

Once melds are played, cards are laid off, or a card is discarded, the turn concludes, passing the action clockwise to the next player.


If no player calls Tongits, the game persists until the draw pile is empty. Players then tally the points of the remaining cards in their hand, with the lowest score securing victory.

Variations and Additional Rules

Blind Draw

Some Tongits versions incorporate a blind draw, where players draw cards blindly from the pile instead of selecting the top card.

Discard Pile Limit

In certain variations, there’s a cap on the number of cards that can be discarded in the discard pile, adding an extra layer of strategy.

Special Melds

Discover Tongits’ depth with variations introducing special melds like a run of four cards of the same suit or a set of four cards of the same rank.

Tips and Strategies to Help You Win at Tongits

  1. Prioritize forming melds: The key to winning Tongits is to form melds as quickly as possible. This will reduce the number of cards in your hand and bring you closer to calling Tongits or having a low score at the end of the game.
  2. Be observant of your opponents’ discards: Pay attention to the cards your opponents discard. This can give you clues to the melds they might be forming. For example, if opponents discard a 4 of Spades, they likely have other Spades cards in their hand.
  3. Use the discard pile to your advantage: The discard pile is a valuable resource in Tongits. You can use it to form melds, lay off cards, or even block your opponents from forming melds.
  4. Don’t be afraid to draw from the draw pile: Even if you can form a meld with your current hand, it’s sometimes worth drawing from the draw pile. This could give you a better chance of forming a more valuable meld or drawing a card you need to lay off onto an existing meld.
  5. Be strategic about your discards: When discarding a card, consider how it might affect your opponents’ chances of forming melds. Discarding a card that blocks an opponent from forming a meld could give you an advantage in the game.
  6. Take your time calling Tongits: While calling Tongits immediately can secure a win, having all your cards down is important before making the call. If you call Tongits and still have cards in your hand, you’ll receive points for each remaining card.
  7. Be familiar with the different melds: There are two types of melds in Tongits: sets and runs. Sets are three or more cards of the same rank, while runs are three or more cards of the same suit in consecutive order. Knowing the different melds will help you identify opportunities to form them and lay off cards.
  8. Practice your card counting: Keeping track of the cards that have been played and discarded can give you a significant advantage. This will help you anticipate which cards might be available in the draw pile and discard pile.
  9. Play with experienced players: Playing with experienced players can help you improve your game by observing their strategies and learning from their mistakes


Have fun! Tongits is a fun and social game, so don’t take it too seriously. Enjoy the game and the company of your friends and family.


Take charge and immerse yourself in the thrilling world of Tongits with this casino guide. Don’t wait any longer, grab a deck of cards and assemble your friends or family to start playing.


The dealer is decided before the first round and rotates clockwise in subsequent rounds.

 Face cards (Jack, Queen, King) are valued at 10 points each.

A player can win by being the first to discard all their cards or having the lowest score at the end of the game.

Players can add cards to existing melds on the table, even if another player placed them

If no one calls “Tongits”, the round ends when the draw pile runs out. The player with the lowest score wins.


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