Tonk Card game, also known as Tunk is a Knock Rummy and Conquian game having its origin in the US. The game is actually a descendant of Filipino Card games – Tong-Its. The game is quite popular and you might like it to. It is usually played for money.
To know how to play tonk game, rules and more, keep reading further.
- Aim on Tonk Card game – To Play all cards in hand or to have the lowest value non-pair in hand at the end of the game so as to win the stake.
- No. of Players – 2-3 Players
- Number of Cards – 52 Card deck
- Game Type – Rummy
- Game Audience – Adult
What Is Tonk
Tonk or tunk, is a fast paced matching card games that combines the characteristics of Knock rummy and Colonel. It was a favorite of jazz musicians in the 1930s and 1940s. It is a relatively fast game that can be played by 2-4 players. It can only play with points or bet money. First, you need the correct no. of players and cards. From there, you must accept the bet and decide who starts trading first. Once you start playing a hand, if your hand matches Tonk, you have a chance to win immediately.
This has since become the mainstream, and there are many variants. However, many players seem to be convinced that their own way of playing is the only correct one.
Scoring in Tonk
The card values in the game are as below –
- Aces = 1 point
- Face Cards = 10 points
- Number Cards = Face Value
It is played usually for money. Before the game starts, the players decide the stake, which is the amount paid by each player to the winner. At times, winners can double stake and this is called as tonk.
Number Of Players, Cards & Stakes
How many players can play? Well, according to the theory it is best suited for two or three players. Even 4 can work. Some people prefer to play with only two participants because there is a chance of collusion when two or more people play together.
In this game a standard fifty-two cards (plus two jokers) is used. Jokers are wilds and can be used like any card required by players who are lucky enough to land one of them.
Picture cards are worth ten points, aces are worth one point, and all other cards are worth their face value.
The players should agree on the fundamental stake before starting (the amount which the winner of each hand will normally be paid by each of the other players). In some situations, the winner can win a tonk, which is a stake that is doubled.
How to Deal?
- The player who gets the highest card becomes the dealer.
- The deal passes to the left.
- The dealer deals 5 cards to each player starting from left of the dealer, one at a time.
- Once all the players get 5 cards each, the top card on the deck is flipped to create the discard pile. Only the top card of the discard pile can be visible.
- The rest of the cards form the stock pile.
- The game proceeds clockwise.
Note – If a player’s cards sum up to 49 or 50 points, they have to declare it before the game begins. This is a tonk. The hand is not played and the player who has the ton khets twice the stake from every other player.
In case there are more than 1 players who have got a tonk, then it is considered a draw and none of them are paid. The cards are then collected from all players, shuffled and a new deal is set.
How to Play?
The game starts with the player to the left of the dealer and proceeds clockwise.
- The players form spreads by drawing and discarding their cards. The spread is formed of runs and books.
- Players also have the option to discard cards into existing spreads.
- In order to win, a player has to get rid of all their cards and have the lowest sum of unmatched cards with them until the game ends.
- Getting a 49 or 50 when the game has begun is of no use. Tonk can be called only before the game starts.
- At their turn, a player has 2 options – They can either play at the start and place all their cards faced up on the table. This is often known as ‘dropping’, ‘knocking’ or ‘going out low’. When a player knocks, they claim that have the lowest total value of cards.
- The other option is to continue playing by drawing a card from the stock or discard pile. A tip here would be to get rid of the cards in your hand by adding to or creating spreads.
- Once a player discards a card to the top of discard pile, their turn ends.
Related Keywords: Card from the stock, spreads a spread
A spread is made of 3 or more cards. Adding cards to a spread is known as Hitting. In case you have a spread of 3-4-5 of diamonds, and a 5 of diamonds then you can add that to the spread at your turn but before discard.
These cards do not count as your hand. There are generally 2 types of Spreads –
- Runs – A run is a group of 3 or more cards from the same suit, in a sequence. For example, 3-4-5-6.
- Books – A book is is a group of 3 or more cards of the same rank. For instance, K-K-K-K, 3-3-3-3.
When a player uses all of their cards in a turn the game then ends. And that player is the winner.
But if all the cards are not used, the player can complete their turn by discarding and if after discarding the player is left with no cards, that player is the winner.
If the game does not end that way or by knocking, then the players are required to play until the stock runs out and players all the cards possible with their hand. In such cases, the game ends when a player does not want to take from the discard.
End Of The Game – Payments
If no one claims 49 or 50 points right away after the trade, the game can terminate in one of four ways.
- Someone discards all of their cards without the final discard: This can happen because a player places a second spread or hits an existing spread three times. This is often called a tonk, or the player is said to be “tonk out”. The winner is paid a double amount by each other player.
- Someone ran out of cards when they dropped their last card: The player without cards wins and each other player pays the agreed base stake to the winner.
- Someone drops, down, or knocks at the start of their turn: In this case, each person reveals the cards he/she still holds in his/her hand and adds up the values of the cards he/her holds.
- If a player with the lowest score drops out, that player wins and is paid the base bet by each other player.
- If the player who dropped does not have the lowest score, then that player who dropped has to pay double stake the base bet to all players with equal or lower scores. The player with the lowest points in their hand, in addition to receiving a double bet, also receives the base bet of the others. In the event of a tie for the lowest between two players other than the quitter, both players are paid a double bet by the dripper and a single bet by the others. This is sometimes referred to as a catch.
One of the most common Tonk variations is when the after the deal, the discard pile is not formed. In such a game, the first player forms the stock pile and then the discard pile is created with their first discard.
The players are not allowed to have a spread in their hand. In case they have one, they are required to place it down. One exception to this rule is when there are 3 aces in the hand.
The players get the option to double the fundamental stake if they make a new spread and get rid of all their cards without discarding. But the fundamental stake can be won only if the player hits spreads and runs out of cards.
That was all about Tonk card game, its variations and the rules. In case there is anything you wish to ask us about the game, feel free to let us know in the comment section below. We will get back to you as soon as possible.