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.

Setup

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.

Melding

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.

Conditions

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.

Borrowing

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.

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