Tonk Card Game Rules

By Chris Moore

Tonk is a card game played using the standard 52-card deck. It is frequently played for money with the winner getting a prearranged stake from the other players. The rules can differ depending on who plays the game, but there are some basic rules used by most players.


The dealer deals five cards to each player, one at a time in a clockwise direction. The top card from the remaining deck is laid face up on the table to begin the discard pile, and the deck, called the stock, is placed beside the discard pile.


Each of the cards has a value in the game. The numeric cards are worth their number (the ace is worth 1), while all face cards are worth 10 points.

Winning on the Deal

Any player who is dealt a hand totaling 49 or 50 points must declare this after the deal and wins twice the normal stake from the other players. If multiple people have this point total, there is no winner and the cards are dealt again.


A player starts his turn by drawing a card from the stock or discard pile and ends by placing one card in the discard pile. In between this, he can lay down a spread of cards to reduce the amount in his hands.


A spread can be either three or four cards of the same rank (think three or four of a kind in poker) or three or more cards of the same suit that run consecutively (for example, the ace, two and three of spades).


Whoever gets rid of all her cards first wins the game and a stake from each of the other players. If she gets rid of all cards through spreads only (without the end-of-turn discard), she wins a by a "tonk" and gets twice the stake.

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