pinoy tongits

Pinoy Tongits or Poker: Which is easier to learn?

Poker and Pinoy Tongits are two card games that have gained popularity worldwide, particularly in the Philippines. Each game has its own set of guidelines, tactics, and fan bases. Which one, though, is simpler to learn? Let's examine both games' nuances in-depth to find out.


The Basics of Pinoy Tongits

What is Pinoy Tongits?

Pinoy Tongits, a beloved card game in the Philippines, offers a simple yet engaging experience with a standard deck of cards. Players aim to either empty their hands or gather the fewest points when the central stack runs out. It's a game of both chance and skill, as players must decide when to play aggressively or conservatively. Tongits requires strategic thinking, memory, and social interaction, making it a popular choice for gatherings among family and friends. 

Its enduring appeal lies in its blend of luck and skill, fostering a sense of camaraderie while keeping players entertained for generations.

How to Play

  • Players are dealt a set number of cards.

  • Players take turns drawing and discarding cards.

  • The game ends when one player gets rid of all their cards or the central stack is empty.

  • The player with the least number of points wins.

Why is it Popular in the Philippines?

Pinoy Tongits is a game that can be played casually with friends and family. It's a game of strategy, and players often develop their own unique tactics to win. The simplicity of the rules combined with the depth of strategy makes it a favourite among Filipinos.

Delving into Poker

The Global Phenomenon

Poker, a centuries-old card game, has experienced a rich evolution, giving rise to various captivating versions. Among these, Texas Hold'em reigns supreme as the most beloved and widely played iteration. 

In this exhilarating variant, each player is dealt two private cards, known as "hole cards," while an additional five community cards are shared openly on the table. The objective is to construct the most potent hand possible using a combination of these cards, combined with strategic betting and bluffing. 

Texas Hold'em dynamic nature, which hinges on both skill and psychology, has cemented its status as the pinnacle of poker variations, captivating players worldwide for generations.

The Rules

  • Players are dealt two private cards.

  • Five community cards are placed face-up on the board.

  • Players use the best combination of five cards to form a hand.

  • The player with the best hand wins the pot.

Why is Poker More Complex?

Poker goes beyond just playing cards; it's a game of deep strategy. It's not just about the cards you hold but also about the cards on the table and what your opponents might have. You have to figure out the best hand you can make. 

What makes it really interesting is the element of bluffing, where you pretend to have a better hand than you do, trying to trick your opponents. You also need to be good at reading your opponents and their strategies. Plus, there's a whole strategy around how and when to bet. All of these aspects make poker a complex and intellectually challenging game.

Comparing the Two: Which is Easier?

While both games demand strategy and expertise, Pinoy Tongits is typically thought to be easier to learn due to its simple rules. Players can rapidly learn the fundamentals and begin playing. Poker, on the other hand, especially varieties like Texas Hold'em, necessitates a greater understanding of the game rules, making it more difficult for beginners.

Frequently Asked Questions and Insights

Card games have always been a source of entertainment and challenge for many. In the Philippines, it stands out as a favourite, while globally, Poker is recognized and played by millions. As we continue our exploration into these two card games, let's address some of the most frequently asked questions and provide deeper insights.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many cards are needed per Player in Tongits?

Each non-dealing Player will receive 12 cards. The Dealer will receive 13 cards, one of which will be immediately discarded to create the discard pile. This leaves all Players with 12 cards at the official start of the game.

2. Can you play Pinoy Tongits online?

Yes. There are several places to play Pinoy Tongits online, as it is one of the most popular card games in the Philippines. Through Facebook, the game can be played on Tong-Its Online, published by Cynking Games. Unfortunately, currently, Pinoy Tongits is not available on the convenient website.

3. Who invented Tongits?

The origins of the game are still unknown, though the prevalent theory is that the game evolved from the American Liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese after World War II. The similar name and rules lead many to believe the name Tong-its is a Filipinization of the name “Tonk”.

4. Can you play Tongits with 4 Players?

No, Tong-its is a 3 Player game exclusively. It cannot be played with more, or less, Players.

5. What are the main differences between Tongits and Poker?

While both are card games, Pinoy Tongits is more about discarding and forming sets and sequences, whereas Poker focuses on forming hands and betting strategies. Poker has multiple variations like Texas Hold'em, Omaha, and Seven-Card Stud, each with its own set of rules.

6. Is Poker more about skill or luck?

Poker is a combination of both skill and luck. While the cards you're dealt are random, how you play them, your betting strategy, and your ability to read other players contribute to your success.

7. Which game is more popular globally?

Poker is more popular globally and has international tournaments like the World Series of Poker (WSOP). Tongits, on the other hand, is more localised to the Philippines but has a strong following there.


Poker and Pinoy Tongits both present distinctive opportunities and difficulties. Tongits is firmly established in Filipino culture, unlike Poker is popular all across the world. Personal preference will ultimately determine which of the two you prefer, but learning the intricacies of each game can improve your playing time. In the realm of card games, there's always something new to learn, whether you're a novice or an experienced player.

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