How to Play Tonk

Tonk, also sometimes known as Tunk, is a fun and easy card game to play with friends. You can also play it for real money online.

We’re going to show you how to play Tonk, the important rules of the game, and how a winner is declared (there’s more than one way). Enjoy this complete guide to playing  Tonk.

Tonk Card Values

Before you start playing, make sure that everyone understands Tonk card values. You play Tonk with a 52-card deck, and there’s not much to remember.

  • All picture cards are worth 10.
  • Aces are worth 1.
  • All other cards are worth their numerical value.

These card values are one of the most important things to know about Tonk, so make sure you have a firm grasp of them before you start playing.

Before You Begin…

There are a few things to decide before you start a game.

  • Decide who the dealer will be. You can cut cards to do this. Move clockwise on the following hands.
  • Agree on the stakes. Everyone should put their chips in before the game begins.
  • Decide how many cards everyone gets. It can be three, five, seven, or twelve, depending on how many players are participating. Six is the maximum number of players, and you can play with only two people.

What is Tonk?

Tonk, aka Tunk, is when the initial hand you’re dealt equals 50. If this happens, you automatically win the game, and players have to pay you double the original stake. Likewise, if another player gets a natural Tonk, you’ll have to pay them double.

What happens if more than one player gets Tonk? The game is declared a draw and nobody wins. You can simply deal another hand and start a fresh round.

Some Tonk variants declare 49 a Tonk, and others also play any hand worth under 11 as Tonk. It’s up to you. Feel free to experiment and play with different rules. If you do, always remember that 50 beats any other Tonk hand.

How to Play Tonk

Ok, so how do you play Tonk? We’re going to talk you through how a typical game would go and the most important Tonk rules.

  1. The dealer gives each player the agreed number of cards.
  2. The dealer burns the first remaining card into the discard pile.
  3. The remaining cards are left face down as the stockpile.
  4. Each player takes turns to take one card from the stockpile and to discard one card.
  5. In Tonk, your objective is to make mini-hands called spreads. These consist of three or more cards of the same rank, or cards of the same suit in sequence.

Examples of spreads in Tonk include:

  • Three tens or four queens.
  • A 6,7,8,9, and 10 of spades.

When you make a spread, you lay it down in front of you face up. You can later add cards that you’ve received to these spreads. You can also add cards to other player’s spreads.

How to Win Tonk

We’ve already mentioned that you can win at Tonk by getting a hand worth 50. However, if nobody does so, then the player who gets rid of his or her cards first wins. Of course, you do this by making spreads.

Another way to win Tonk is to have a showdown called a drop. All players place their cards face up on the table, and the player with the lowest hand value wins. Usually, in this case, you have to pay every player that has a lower hand value than you, and the overall winner takes the chips from the middle.

You can agree to settle a game via a drop if the cards in the stockpile run out or because you all feel like it.