Big Two or Pusoy Dos as it is locally called (or “Poker Two” when translated in English) is a card game that has roots in China since it closely resembles Pai Gow, another climbing game type card game.
Climbing game type card games are very popular in China and in South East Asia and probably was introduced in the Philippines during the 1980’s by seafarers and Chinese migrants. It has several alternative names and variations in the Philippines, two of the most popular is Chikicha and Tong-its with just small variations in playing styles.
The game mechanics of Pusoy Dos consists of having four players, the players being dealt thirteen cards each and the first player to discard all of his/her cards wins. In Pusoy Dos the highest card is 2 with the highest suit being diamonds, the hearts, then the spades and the lowest suit are the clubs. The players during the game have to play a higher card or a card combination against the previous players until someone plays a card or card combination that no other player can beat.
That player having the highest card combination during that round can then start a new round until someone else beats his/her card. Players are allowed to pass if they don’t have a card or card combination that can beat the card on the table or as a strategy to better play later in the game. In the Philippines, the game can be played with the other players paying the winning hand every time they pass a round.
Big Two or Pusoy Dos is a very popular household card game and is played by people of almost all ages in the Philippines, from low income individuals living off the streets to rich Upper class folks. Although most types of card games where betting is involved in the Philippines are mostly played by men, in Pusoy Dos there is no lack of participants from the opposite gender since the rules are easy to learn by both sexes. Also Pusoy Dos, along with mahjong, is a very popular game played by people who are attending the wake of a dead neighbor, relative, or friend.
Lately Internet sites have sprung up to cater to the popularity of this card game with more of the traditional card based aficionados shifting to playing online due to the fact that there are more players in the internet since players are not hindered by problems like geographic limitations, setting up a playing area, and finding an active game 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Three of the most popular Big Two mobile applications in the Android Market are: Ultimate Big 2 which comes in three difficulty levels, even veteran Big 2 players will surely be challenged. They also have Big, Big, Big, Two and Taiwan Big 2 Game. These applications are designed to be user-friendly such that various rules are supported and in the case of Big, Big, Big, Two, you can even customize the rules.
Some popular applications for Big Two that are on Facebook with a good following are Big Two Card Game and Pusoy Dos Online.
Ilocanos are also fond of playing this game which they call ‘Pepito’ while Cebuanos also have their own variation of the game calling it Chikicha.
With its popularity and widespread, Pusoy Dos has become a household name making it a part of Philippine culture. It’s a card game for the masses and has become more of a thinking game rather than a “money game.”