Panguingue Rules

Panguingue (pronounced "pan-ginn'-gay"), often called Pan for short, was a staple of the gambling halls during the Californian gold rush in the mid-1800's, and this Rummy variation remains popular in many regions, particularly in the western United States and Southern Florida. It's an unusual game, and has its own unique lingo (see Panguingue glossary).

Number of Players: From 2 to 15 may play. The game is best for 6, 7, or 8 players. Chips are used for scorekeeping.

The Deck: Panguingue is played with eight 40-card packs (some versions of the game use five decks). These Spanish-style decks can be created by stripping the 8's, 9's, and 10's from a standard 52-card deck. The game is thus played with a total of 320 cards in the resulting (huge) deck. Cards rank from (hi) K-Q-J-7-6-5-4-3-2-A (lo).

Starting a Game: To determine who deals first, the deck is shuffled, and each player draws a card. The player drawing the lowest card deals first.

Rotation: The rotation of dealing and playing is to the right (counter-clockwise), which is the opposite direction of most games. The player to the dealer's right is the eldest hand. The winner of each hand becomes the eldest hand for the next round, with player at his left dealing.

Dealing: Each player must ante 1 chip to be dealt into the game. Each player then receives ten cards, in five rounds of two cards each. The remainder of the deck is placed face-down on the table to form the stock. The top card of the stock is turned face up and placed beside the stock to begin the discard pile.

Going On Top: Before play begins, each player is given the opportunity to declare whether he will play the hand or not. If a player chooses not to play, he must pay a penalty, usually two chips. These "tops" go to the player who wins the hand.

Play: Each player in turn draws one card. If he draws the top of the stock, he can either use it in a meld or discard it. If he draws the top card of the discard pile, he must meld it immediately. A drawn card is never put into a player's hand - it must be either melded or discarded. After drawing a card, the player may meld (lay off) as many cards as he likes. When he's done, he discards one card face-up onto the discard pile.

Melds: The objective is to be the first player to lay down (meld) eleven cards - all 10 cards in your hand, in addition to the final card drawn. Melds consist of either sets (known in Panguingue as "spreads" or "squares") or sequences (called "ropes" or "stringers").

A set consists of three or more cards of the same rank, and either of three different suits, or of the same suit. Two cards of one suit and one of a different suit is not a valid set. Aces and kings (called "non-comoquers") are special cases - they can form valid sets regardless of suit.

A valid sequence is any three cards of consecutive value in the same suit. (Since the 8-9-10 are not used, the 7 and J are considered to be of consecutive value.)

Conditions: Certain melds are called "conditions", and result in an immediate payoff from all other players. All 3-s, 5's, and 7's are "cards of value" (known in Panguingue as "valle cards", pronounced "valley"); cards of other ranks are non-valle cards. The conditions and payouts are:

  • A set of valle cards, not in the same suit. Collect 1 chip from each player.
  • A set of valle cards of a single suit. Collect 2 chips from each player, 4 chips if the suit is spades.
  • A set of non-valle cards of a single suit. Collect 1 chip from each player, 2 chips if the suit is spades. Also, an additional chip is collected for each extra non-valle card of the same suit beyond the initial three cards.
  • A sequence starting with an Ace or ending with a King. Collect 1 chip from each player, 2 chips if the suit is spades.

Laying Off: A player may lay off only on his own melds. A set in the same suit may be increased only by adding cards of the same rank and suit. A set in different suits may be increased by cards of the same rank, regardless of suit. A sequence may be increased by additional cards in correct sequence and suit.

When cards are added to a condition, the player collects the value of the original condition for each additional card.

When more than three cards are in a meld, it may be split into separate melds provided that each part is valid in itself. Existimg melds may not be destroyed to form others. If splitting a meld (known as "borrowing") forms a condition that did not exist before, the player collects for just as if the meld were created without splitting.

Forcing: If, when it's a players turn to draw, and the top of the discard pile contains a card that can be laid off one of his melds, he can be forced to draw it and meld it upon the demand of any other player. This may force him to make a discard that he would not otherwise have made.

Going Out: The player who first melds eleven cards wins the hand. Since a hand contains only ten cards, a player with ten cards down will continue to draw and discard, even with no cards in his hand, until he draws a card he can lay off.

Settlement: The winner of the hand collects one chip, plus the total value of all conditions he melded, from every active player (i.e. those who did not drop out before play began). He also collects the tops (the chips forfeited by those who dropped out), plus he becomes the eldest hand on the next deal.


  • If a player finds he has the wrong number of cards before he has made his first draw, he can discard his hand and demand a new hand from the top of the stock.
  • If a player finds he has the wrong number of cards after he has made his first draw, he must discard his hand and retire from the deal. If he has collected any chips, he must pay them back, and he must continue to make payments to others for conditions and winning.
  • If a player lays down an illegal meld, he must make it valid upon demand. If he can do so, there is no penalty. If he cannot do so, he must return any collections he has made on that meld, and continue his play. If the error is not discovered until after he has discarded, he must retire from the deal, return all collections he's made on the hand, and continue to make payments to others for conditions and winning. However, if he manages to make the meld valid before anyone else notices, there is no penalty.
  • If a player avoidably discards a card that his neighbor can lay off, when that neighbor has ten cards down (thus giving the neighbor the game), the offender must pay all the losses for all active players.

Other Panguingue Resources

Panguingue Quotations

In the western United States many commercial clubs flourish devoted principally to furnishing their habitues with 'Pan' games.

Albert Morehead and Geoffrey Mott-Smith

Panguingue has achived notable popularity in the Southwest United States and on the Pacific Coast; in this region there are many many public gaming houses devoted to "Pan".

Richard Frey

Additional Information