Pusoy Dos, also known as Filipino Poker, is a popular shedding-type card game that originated in the Philippines. It is popular a family activity in that country, although the San Francisco Giants seem to enjoy the game as well.
Furthermore, the game is being a lot played online, with a decent selection of apps available for both Android and iOS.
To play the Pusoy Dos card game you will need:
- A standard 52-card deck
- 3 to 4 players
- A flat surface for dealing and playing cards
- A desktop or mobile device if played online
To be the first player to discard all of your cards. The other players try to end with as few cards as possible.
Cards rank from high to low as: 2, A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3.
As you can see the card rankings are quite unique due to the 2 being high and the 3 being low.
The suit order ranks as:
- Diamonds (♦) – highest
- Hearts (♥)
- Spades (♠)
- Clubs (♣) – lowest
This means that the 2♦ is the best card in the game and 3♣ the worst!
Below you can find a straightforward overview of the card combinations in Pusoy Dos:
|Combination||Example||Rank (low to high)|
|Three-of-a-Kind||6♠ 6♣ 6♦||Low|
|Straight||3♠ 4♦ 5♠ 6♦ 7♣||Medium|
|Flush||7♠ 3♠ K♠ 5♠ J♠||Medium|
|Full House||Q♦ Q♥ Q♣ 8♠ 8♥||Medium|
|Four-of-a-Kind||2♥ 2♠ 2♦ 2♣||High|
|Straight Flush||8♣ 9♣ 10♣ J♣ Q♣||High|
|Royal Flush||A♥ K♥ Q♥ J♥ 10♥||Highest|
A single card played from your hand. If two players play a single card of the same rank, the one with the higher suit wins – diamonds being the highest suit and clubs the lowest.
For example, a 5♦ would beat a 5♥.
A pair consists of two cards of equal rank. Pairs rank according to the rank of the cards. If two players play pairs of the same rank, the one with the higher suit wins.
For example, a pair of Kings with a diamond would beat a pair of Kings with a club.
A three-of-a-kind, also known as a trio or set, contains three cards of equal rank. Trios rank based on the rank of the three cards.
For example, a trio of 8s would beat a trio of 5s.
A straight is made up of five consecutive ranked cards not all of the same suit. Straights rank according to their highest card.
For example, a Queen-high straight (Q, J, 10, 9, 8) would beat a Jack-high straight (J, 10, 9, 8, 7).
A flush contains five cards all of the same suit, but not consecutive in rank. Flushes rank first by suit – diamonds being highest, then hearts, spades, and clubs lowest.
A further tiebreaker is the highest-ranked card in the flush.
For example, a diamond flush with a King beats a heart flush with a Queen as its highest card.
A full house contains three-of-a-kind and a pair. Full houses rank according to the rank of the three cards.
For example, Three 8s and Two Kings beat Three 6s and Two Aces.
Four-of-a-kind, also known as quads, contains four cards of equal rank. Quads rank by the rank of the four cards.
For example, Four Queens beats Four 9s.
A straight flush contains five consecutive ranked cards all of the same suit. The ranking is based on the highest card.
For instance, a Jack-high diamond straight flush beats a 9-high heart straight flush.
The highest straight flush containing the Ten, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace all of the same suit. The ranking is by suit order. This means that the diamond (♦) Royal Flush is the highest in Pusoy Dos.
Deal and Setting Up
The deck is shuffled and each player is dealt 13 cards. When playing with 3 players, each player gets 17 cards instead, and 1 card is set aside.
The player with the lowest ranked card (3♣) starts the first round.
The starting player plays their lowest-ranked card or a combination including it. This combination is played face-up.
Play continues clockwise and the next player has two options:
- Play a higher combination
- Pass, which means
If all players pass, the last player to play starts a new round by playing any valid combo.
Play continues until a player discards all their cards and wins.
Some interesting psychology to this game is that whenever another player asks you how many cards you have in your hand, you are obliged to tell him or her the truth.
You can try to hide your cards so other players won’t see how many you have, but as soon as one of them asks you, it was all for nothing.
There are multiple options here.
Win or Lose
The most straightforward is simply ending the game after a player manages to discard everything that was in their hand.
Usually one game of Pusoy Dos does not take that long, so players can agree on a set number of wins needed in order to secure the overall victory.
Another option is to play until there is only 1 player left. This means that for every game there will be a winner, a runner-up, a 3rd place, and a loser.
You can then award points to players based on their results, for example:
|Runner-up (2nd place)||5|
To spice things up, penalty points can be used for the number of cards left in someone’s hand.
Pusoy Dos Rules Summary
Below you can find the key takeaways with regard to the rules:
- Follow suit order and card rankings
- Valid combinations: Single, pair, 3-of-a-kind, 5-card hands
- Higher combos must be played to beat lower ones
- The player with the lowest card starts the first round
- Play proceeds clockwise
- The first to discard all cards wins
Example Playing Scenario
Let’s assume you are observing a game of Pusoy Dos:
- Player 1 starts with 3♣. They play 3♣ and 4♣.
- Player 2 plays a 5♥ and a 6♥.
- Player 3 passes.
- Player 4 plays a pair of Queens (Q♥ and Q♦ of diamonds).
- Back to Player 1 who passes.
- Player 2 draws a 7♥ and pairs it with their 5♠.
- Player 3 passes again.
- Player 4 is stuck and also passes.
- Player 1 starts a new round by playing a pair of 10s.
And so on…until a player discards all their cards.
Strategy Tips and Tricks
Be Very Aware of What Combos You Have
Carefully analyze your hand at the start for potential combinations you can play. Take note of any pairs, three-of-a-kind sets, or potential straights and flushes in your cards. This will help you plan out your moves and combinations you can build towards.
For example, if you have a pair of 5s, three Kings, and some scattered cards of the same suit, you can plan to first play your pair of 5s to put low cards out.
You now know that you have a strong three-of-a-kind in your back pocket along with a potential flush if you draw more suited cards.
Play Your Lowest When Possible
This ties in with the tip above.
In general, it is strategically wise to play your lowest-ranked singles and pairs early in the game to get those weaker cards out of your hand. In Pusoy Dos, holding onto low cards risks getting stuck with them at the end.
Pay Attention to What’s Been Played
Keep close track of what cards and combinations your opponents play. This gives you important information about what’s still available and unused in the deck.
For example, if you see multiple players play straights containing the Queen card, you know it’s a lot less likely you’ll draw a Queen-high straight.
Bluff When You’re Stuck
If you get stuck with no playable options, try bluffing with a high pair for example to force other players to fold. This can possibly get you out of a sticky situation and lets you start fresh next round.
Just be careful not to bluff with your only good combination! Measure the risk before going all in on a blatant bluff.