Panguingue (Pan)

Panguingue (pronounced pan-ginn-geh), also known as Pan, is a Rummy-type game for two to fifteen players. It is best for six to eight. Unlike most Rummy games, however, players cannot simply hang onto the cards they draw. They must be melded immediately or discarded!

Panguingue is probably of Philippine origin. In fact, the Oxford English Dictionary attributes the name Panguingue as deriving from Tagalog, one of the principal languages of the Philippines. It was first recorded in the United States in 1905. In the early twentieth century, Panguingue was widely played throughout the American Southwest, including in Las Vegas casinos. While it is no longer played as widely, an active community of players still enjoys the game.

Object of Panguingue

The object of Panguingue is to be the first player to meld eleven cards.

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Panguingue is played with an unusually large number of cards. A Panguingue deck is based upon 40 cards, obtained by starting with a standard 52-card deck (like Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards) and removing the 10s, 9s, and 8s. Eight of these 40-card decks with the same back design are shuffled together to form a 320-card pack. (Some players choose to play with as few as five or as many as eleven decks—a 440-card pack!)

You will also need some sort of tokens to keep track of the score with, such as poker chips. If you wish, each chip can be purchased for an agreed-upon amount of real currency. Otherwise, the chips will serve as valueless MacGuffins, which should be distributed equally to the players.

All players ante to form the pot. Shuffle and deal ten cards, two at a time, to each player. Place the stub face down in the center of the table, forming the stock. Turn over the first card of the stock. This card, the upcard, is the first card of the discard pile.

Game play

Prior to the first play of the hand, each player has the opportunity to drop out of the hand. If they choose to do, they must play two chips to the pot.

The player to the right of the dealer goes first. Thereafter, turn order continues to the right, the opposite of most games.

A player begins their turn by drawing a card. This may be either the upcard or a card from the stock. If a player draws from the stock, they may either meld it or discard it. If drawing the upcard, the player must be able to meld it immediately, then discard another card from their hand. A player may not draw a card and add it to their hand for use later.

If the current player is faced with an upcard that they can meld, any other player may compel them to draw and meld that card. This is known as forcing. Forcing can cause players to discard cards they might otherwise wish to hold onto.

In the event that the stock runs out, set the upcard aside and turn the rest of the discard pile face down. Shuffle it to form the new stock. The upcard remains in place as the new discard pile.


As players form melds, they lay them face up on the table in front of them. A player may meld as many cards as they wish on their turn. There are two types of melds in Panguingue. The first is the spread or square, and the second is the rope or stringer, which roughly corresponds with the sequence found in other rummy games.

A spread consists of three or four cards of the same rank in different suits. A spread can also be three identical cards (i.e. three copies of the 5♠). A meld of two cards of one suit and one of a different suit, e.g. 5♠-5♠-5♦, is not a valid spread. Aces and kings, however, are exempt from suit restrictions on melds. That is, any three kings or aces may form a valid meld.

A rope consists of three or more cards of the same suit, in sequence. An example of a valid rope is 5-6-7♥. Because the 8s, 9s, and 10s have been removed, 7s are considered consecutive with jacks, so 6-7-J♦ is a valid meld. Cards otherwise rank in their usual order, with aces always low.

As players acquire cards that match with their existing melds, they may lay off these cards to their melds. Spreads that are all of one suit can only be extended with further cards of the same rank and suit. Spreads of multiple suits may be augmented with any card of the correct rank (suits may be duplicated). Ropes may be extended on either end by cards of the same rank in sequence.


Players score extra payouts from certain melds known as conditions. Whenever a player forms a condition, each of their opponents pays them a certain number of chips depending on the condition. Some conditions are based upon valle cards (pronounced as in “valley cards”)—3s, 5s, and 7s.

The conditions are:

  • A spread of valle cards…
    • …of different suits (one chip)
    • …all clubs, diamonds, or hearts (two chips)
    • …all spades (four chips)
  • A spread of non-valle cards…
    • …all clubs, diamonds, or hearts (one chip)
    • …all spades (two chips)
  • A sequence of A-2-3 or J-Q-K…
    • …all clubs, diamonds, or hearts (one chip)
    • …all spades (two chips)

If a player lays off further cards to a condition they played, their opponents must pay them the prescribed amount again for each card added to it.


A player may split a meld of six or more cards into two melds, so long as both of the new melds are valid melds on their own. This is known as borrowing from the larger meld. A player may also take cards from an existing meld to form a new meld with cards from the hand. The remaining cards must still form a valid meld, however. For example, you cannot cannibalize the 4 from a 2-3-4-5 rope to form a spread of 4s, as 2-3-5 is not a valid sequence.

When borrowing creates a new condition, the players opponents pay them exactly as if they had just played the meld from the hand.

Going out

A player is out when they have eleven cards melded in front of them. This means that a player must meld all ten cards in their hand, plus one draw. That means a player may find themselves with ten cards on the table and none in hand. A player in this situation must simply keep drawing, hoping to find a card that matches with their melds to allow them to meld that critical eleventh card.

This situation is the only time in which a player does not have to meld a card they just drew. If the next opponent in turn order has ten cards melded, and discarding the card they just drew would cause the next player to go out, they may instead retain that card and discard another.

When a player goes out, the hand ends. The player collects the pot, plus one chip from each active player, plus another round of payments for each condition they hold.


10 responses to “Panguingue (Pan)”

  1. Sheila Oken says:

    do you have a website? If so, do you offer online play for free or for real money?

    • We sure do have a website—you’re on it! (We don’t offer online play, though, because it’s really hard to send physical plastic playing cards through the network…)

  2. Richard Allen says:

    Can you explain this further?
    “This situation is the only time in which a player does not have to meld a card they just drew. If the next opponent in turn order has ten cards melded, and discarding the card they just drew would cause the next player to go out, they may instead retain that card and discard another.”
    Are you saying if I draw a card that will no put me out, but will put the next player out, I can just hold the card? Do I discard one that I melded? What if I discard one I melded but the only way is to break up a meld? Can you give some examples of this? I have never heard this rule.

    • Hey Richard,
      This rule can be found in Bicycle Official Rules of Card Games, 89th Edition (2000). In the situation described, you would place the card you drew in your hand, and discard any other card from your hand that you wished. Bicycle Official Rules of Card Games does not explicitly state that you cannot discard an already-melded card, but it does heavily imply that the card must come from the hand.

  3. Judy Rifkin says:

    I’ve been playing Pan for 63 years and I’ve never heard of this rule and neither does anyone else I know, except maybe Bicycle. I know that if you draw a card that will put someone out and throw it, the other players can demand to see your hand and they can force you to use it if you can. Also, once your original 3-card meld is down, you can add additional cards of ANY suit. That’s how Pan was played in Vegas, and they should know.

  4. Steve Adams says:

    My question is is there a place in Las Vegas that still plays pan in a private club cuz I believe that there is no casino that still plays it in Las Vegas

  5. Sheri says:

    There are private games. I belong to a ladies group and we play Pan. Right now we are not playing and don’t know when we will be back. If you know any ladies in Las Vegas who would like to learn the game, I teach it. And if you know any ladies that already play the game, I would be happy to have them join us at some time in the future. Also, depending on where you live, there could be a game.

  6. Sheri says:

    Sorry, but there are no places in Las Vegas that play Pan unless it is a home game, a game where you live or a game like I am in with the ladies group.

  7. Sheri says:

    There are lots of “House” rules for Pan. In Las Vegas casinos and any game I have ever played in:
    1: You NEVER put a card in your hand or your hand is dead. You continue to pay for the rest of the game.
    2. If a card you pick touches your hand cards, your hand is dead.
    3. You can throw ANY card you want and no one can ask to see your hand.
    4. You can not retain a card by putting it in your hand. That card touches the cards in your hand, your hand is dead.

  8. Judy says:

    5 people are in this Pan game. Tops are put in. Only one player puts a chip in and declares he will play. Since only one player declares, no game and the one player gets his chip back and the tops.
    Does this sound correct? Or tops stays in and a redeal, with the declaring player gets to play first.

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