We should not be surprised. Gambling has been around in the Philippines – or for as long as its discovered history indicates. Several forms of gambling are aplenty all over the archipelago. The government has a corporation that helps manage to gamble – PAGCOR, which regulates gambling. Since 2016, PAGCOR has been providing operating licenses to privately owned casino operators and overseeing the growth of online businesses in the Philippines.
Gambling has long since been a part of Filipino culture. Perhaps it is also why it is inevitable that some gambling games came out of it. Two of them are Pusoy Dos and Tongits.
In the 1734 Carta Hydrographica y Chorographica de las Yslas Filipinas, there is a visual where two Filipino natives are engaging in a cockfight.
In this illustration from the 1734 Carta Hydrographica y Chorographica de las Yslas Filipinas, two Filipino natives can be seen engrossed over a cockfight. Pre-colonization, gambling has already found its roots in the Philippines.
There is a theory that the Chinese introduced gambling to the archipelago in the mid-sixteenth century. The two countries’ closeness meant plenty of economic opportunities for the Chinese and the Filipinos for business, profits, and different trades and activities. During Magellan’s voyage to the nation, Antonio Pigafetta had seen bets on cockights in 1521.
In the 1990s, the game found popularity in the Philippines’ largest island, Luzon. The presence of the United States military, especially in the 1940s, is believed to be the game’s origin. It has been theorized that the game Tonk inspired Tongits.
It has since evolved and gone into several variations. Thus, it has spread to different regions across the Philippines, especially in Pangasinan. A similar game, Pusoy Dos, is said to be a variation of the game.
On the other hand, Pusoy dos is known as Filipino poker. Others may see the game as sketchy or chicha. It is a game where you shed cards. The roots of the game come from Calauag, Quezon. The goal is to be the first person to discard the hand of cards by playing them on the table. Three to five people can play the game.
One can also use certain combinations with poker hand rankings to win. If someone cannot be the first to play off all their hands, they need to hold as few cards as possible.
In Tongits, the dealer has thirteen (13) cards, while the player gets twelve (12), and the rest are left on the central stack. When a card gets thrown by the dealer, it signals the start of the game, and the next person can take the card if it adds to their preexisting set or takes from the central stack.
There must be a meld (locally known as “bahay”) to win the game. A meld needs a set of matching cards. It is not the only mechanic that can help one win the game. There are many ways that you can play a game of Tongits.
In a game of Pusoy Dos, there is a suit order. Clubs are the lowest, followed by spades and diamonds; 2 ♦ diamond is the highest, while 3 ♣ clubs are the lowest. There are many card combinations that you can use to win.
You can use a pair of cards that are equal in ranking, three equally ranked cards, or poker combinations.
The deck gets shuffled. All players must earn 13 cards, but it will also depend on the number of players. The game officially starts as soon as the player plays the lowest card (the three ♣) or a card combination with it. The first one who loses their hand of cards thus wins. However, the game ends when everyone loses their cards.
Both of the card games are enjoyable in their own right. Both games have many ways to win and have a social aspect since they can be played in groups and more intimate settings. Playing either of the games on holiday makes for an excellent recreational activity to bond with others.
When it comes to accessibility, Tongits takes the cake. Tongits is an old game, thus giving it the advantage of being more known. Furthermore, Pusoy Dos
Meanwhile, Pusoy Dos is learned and known by natives from the Quezon province, who have taught it to their relatives. As such, sources to learn more about Pusoy Dos are very limited.
The real winner is Tongits because of its accessibility, which plays a crucial role in the quality of a game. The main casino games, like slots and baccarat, are accessible because they have spread to different parts of the world. They were also made part of the standard casino game offerings. Thankfully, Tongits is gaining more popularity because it is also becoming part of Filipino online casino offerings!