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Tonk players need a good memory and a knack for well timed aggression (Dropping). Your memory can serve you well in two ways. You have to remember which cards have been discarded. Remembering which cards have been discarded will help you if you want to change the run or spread you will look for.
For example, if you have been holding the 7 and 8 of spades and you pull another 8 from the deck and you are contemplating discarding the 7 of spades hoping to get another 8 then you need to remember if any of the remaining 8’s have previously been discarded.
You also need to remember which cards you discarded and your opponent decided to pull. You never want to help your opponent complete a spread or run.
For example, if you discard a 6 of Spades and your opponent pulls the 6 of Spade, then later in the hand you pull another 6 or either the 5 or 7 of Spades then you might not want to discard any of those cards. Discarding one of those cards could possibly complete a run or a spread for your opponent.
Dropping in Tonk is when you lay your cards down on the table, when you feel you have a lower point total in your hand than your opponent's point total. Dropping is an aggressive move and if you know when to do it, you can get some easy wins. You may drop before any cards have been laid or after you have laid a run or a spread. You have to be careful if you drop before any cards have been laid. Dropping with a high point total is like playing with fire, you can get away with it but it increases your odds of getting burned.
Dropping after you have laid a run or a spread is less risky if your opponent still has all 5 cards in their hand. However, if they have laid a spread or run you have to be careful. Try to remember which cards they previously pulled and have not yet discarded. This can give you insight on how many points may be in your opponent’s hand, and whether to drop immediately or later when you discard some of your higher cards.
To increase you odds of winning in Tonk, try to get runs or spreads with low cards in order to keep low point totals in your hand. If you can lay a run or spread before your opponent, then try to drop before they get the same opportunity. This is the safest way to play and win in Tonk. Master this Tonk strategy and you will WIN more often than not!