A game of Rummy 500 in progress.
|Alternative names||Sai rummy, Standard rummy, Basic rummy, Traditional rummy|
|Cards||(52) Varies on game type|
|Card rank (highest to lowest)||A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 (A) differs by game type|
|Playing time||15 min.|
|Conquian, Mahjong, Desmoche|
Rummy is a group of matching card games notable for similar gameplay based on matching cards of the same rank or sequence and same suit. The basic goal in any form of rummy is to build melds which consists of sets, three or four of a kind of the same rank; or runs, three or more cards in sequence, of the same suit. You can also have mixed runs in all types of rummy so long as all 7 cards are in order. The original form of rummy is called Sai rummy or Basic rummy. The Mexican game of Conquian is considered by games scholar David Parlett to be ancestral to all rummy games, which itself is derived from a Chinese game called Khanhoo and, going even further back, Mahjong. The Rummy principle of drawing and discarding with a view to melding appears in Chinese card games at least in the early 19th century and perhaps as early as the 18th century and is, in fact, the essence of Mah-jong.
A meld can either be a set (also known as a book) or a run. A set consists of at least three cards of the same rank and a run consists of at least three consecutive cards of the same suit. This is an almost universal pattern, although there exist minor variations, such as allowing only sets or requiring runs in which its cards have no suits in common. In some games, it is required that runs contain at least four cards. Some games also feature wild cards, which can be used to represent any card in a meld. The number of wild cards in a meld may be restricted.
A fairly large number of cards is used. This varies from one standard deck upwards. There are, for example, games that use five standard decks plus some jokers shuffled together.
Each player is dealt a hand of cards; while the specific number is dictated by the strain of rummy being played, the deck is never completely emptied. The remains of the deck are placed face down to form the stock. There is also a face-up pile called the discard pile, which may be initially empty, or it can contain one card, which is turned from the stock. The winner is obliged to deal when a new game commences.
In Rummy the number of cards dealt varies based on the type of rummy game being played as well as the number of players.
The person left of the dealer is the first person to play. The dealer switches from person to person going to the left. The dealer flips one card and places it next to the pile to begin the game.
The first person to go takes a card from the deck or the card placed beside it. When the player has done that, they may either put three cards of the same number or a run. After this is done, or if they do not make a play at all, a card from their hand is discarded onto the pile beside the deck.
If another player has cards down, the others can add additional cards to the discard pile as long as this creates or continues a set or run.
In addition if all cards are put down at once and in the same suit it is an auto win for that player.
When someone melds all their cards (except, possibly, for one, which is thrown into the discard pile), the hand ends and the scores are calculated. In some games everyone can make melds at this phase, and some games allow a player to end a hand with a few unmatched cards in their hand.
They typically get positive points for their melds, and/or negative points for non-melded cards in their hand. In some games large bonuses are given for special, particularly difficult melds. Also being the person who melded all their cards is usually rewarded, depending on the game. This award may be rather small compared to other scoring, or it can be the deciding factor of the game.
There are many variations of the card game Rummy. Basic Rummy is also called Sai Rummy. Second type Rummy is also called Sanka Rummy. They all share a common set of features found in the basic game. A standard deck of 52 cards is used. The cards rank from 2 (low) to A (high). Rummy can be played to a certain score, or to a fixed number of deals. When a player picks up more than one card, they must use the first card and has to play that card or else play is incomplete.
In Rummy if more than one player goes over five hundred in the same round, the player with the highest score wins. If players tie then the player who was leading before that round wins.
Each player draws a card. The player with the lowest card deals first. The deal then proceeds clockwise. The player on the dealer's right cuts (this is optional).
The number of cards dealt depends on the number of players. If there are two players, each player gets ten cards. In three or four player games, seven cards are dealt to each player. Five or six players may also play, in which case each player receives six cards
|Number of players||Number of cards dealt|
|2 players||10 cards|
|3 or 4 players||7 cards|
|5 or 6 players||6 cards|
Starting with the player to the dealer's left, cards are dealt clockwise, face down, one at a time. The dealer then puts the rest of the deck, face down, between the players. This forms the stock pile. A single card is then drawn and placed face up next to the stack. This is called the discard pile.
Play begins with the player on the dealer's left and proceeds clockwise. Each player draws a card from the stock or the discard pile. The player may then meld or lay off, which are both optional, before discarding.
If a player has three cards of the same suit in a sequence (called a sequence or a run), they may meld by laying these cards, face up, in front of them. If they have at least three cards of the same value, they may meld a group (also called a set or a book). Aces can be played as high or low but not both, for example Q♠ K♠ A♠ and A♠ 2♠ 3♠ are legal, but not K♠ A♠ 2♠ (some variations allow this type of run). Melding is optional. A player may choose, for reasons of strategy, not to meld on a particular turn. The most important reason is to be able to declare "Rummy" later in the game.
A player may also choose to "lay off" some cards on an existing meld. This means that if a player can add to a sequence or a group that is in front of them or any of the other players, they may do so. For example: if another player had a sequence consisting of A♥ 2♥ 3♥ in front of them, the player would be able to add the 4♥, or 4♥ 5♥, and so on, thereby continuing the sequence. Some variations allow players to play the K♥ and wrap around. Also if a player has 3 of a kind, one of which continues another sequence on the field then another player may also continue off that card.
Finally, after any melds or lay offs, the player must discard a single card to the discard pile, face up. The only condition is that it not be the card that they drew from the discard pile on the same turn. They may, however, return it on the next turn. In addition, if they drew from the stock instead of the discard pile, they are allowed to return that card in the same turn. In this way, the discard pile changes every turn.
If, while playing, the stock runs out, the next player may choose to draw from the discard pile or to turn the discard pile over to form a new stock. The discard pile is not shuffled in the process. After forming the new stock, the top card is drawn to form the new discard pile, just like after the deal. You can call rummy if a point is discarded into the discard pile. You cannot however call rummy if the card becomes a point while in the discard pile.
When a player has gotten rid of all of their cards, they win the hand. There are two variations. Either the player must discard the last remaining card in their hand on the last turn, or they need not. Playing with this rule makes ending a hand slightly more difficult.
For example, if a player has only the 7 of diamonds and 8 of diamonds left in their hand, and they draw the 9 of diamonds (forming a sequence), then whether they win the hand or not depends on if they are playing the discard rule variation. If they are playing this variation, they can not win the hand at this point, because they have to finish the turn by discarding one of the three cards in their hand, causing them to no longer have a sequence. However, if the player is allowed to lay off this sequence without a final discard, then the game ends when the player lays down the sequence. And a player can lay down cards afterwards. A player may not win or go out if rummy is declared on the board.
If a player is able to meld all of their cards at once, they may say "Rummy" on their turn and go out. To declare Rummy, a player must not have melded or laid off any cards prior during the hand. If playing with the discard rule, they must also discard after melding. If a player goes rummy when a card can be played, that player is out for that turn. Game players are still in game but hand goes dead. Playing for Rummy is more risky, but it carries the reward of double the score. Each player must wait until their second turn to go out. If there is a rummy lying in the pile, the player who called "rummy" can play that card while the player who laid the rummy must then draw 2 cards from the stock pile or pick up the entire discarded pile.
After a player goes out, the hand ends, and the players count up their cards. Any cards left in each player's hand are counted up and added to the winner's score. The Queen of Spades count as 40, Aces count as 15, face cards (Except the queen of spades) and 10s count as 10, and the rest are worth 5. If a player has declared Rummy, then this score is doubled. The player that goes out first receives a 25 point bonus. The other players must deduct the points in their hand from the points they have accumulated throughout the game.
Another variation is that face cards count as 10; three aces count as 15 each; a run of ace, king, queen, the ace is 15; a run of ace, two, three, the ace is 5; and the rest are worth 5 each. Any cards left in each player's hand are counted up and subtracted from their score on the table.
In some instances, jokers are used as wildcards and can represent any card value when melding. They can be used in sets or runs but can not be replaced when 'melded', nor can a player lay off a card to replace it by themselves or their opponent. Jokers are not counted during the scoring.
In another variation, discards are placed so that all the cards are visible. At the beginning of his or her turn, a player may take any card from the discard pile, so long as he or she also picks up all the cards that are on top of it, and the last card picked up is played immediately. If only picking up the top card, the player must keep it and discard a different card from their hand.
In a variation called "Block Rummy", players do not continue after going through the pack once - if no players are out, they all lose the points in their hands after the pack has been gone through once. Round the Corner Rummy, also called Continuity Rummy, is a variant where melds can be made in the following way: Queen-King-Ace-Two, i.e. it is possible to put an ace in a run after a King.
Children's Rummy or Ruckus is played by young children; each player is dealt 7 cards. Players immediately put down all cards of the same value (example, two 6's or three Kings) face up. If another person has a card of that value, they can put it down on the pile and take the pile to their part of the table. All players do this at the same time. Once all play has stopped, the dealer hands out new cards, and the pile building and taking is repeated until all cards have been dealt. The player with the most cards in piles at the end wins. Commercial versions of this game exist.
Other variations of Children's Rummy include "Safari Pals" packs which have cards arranged in sets of animals. When playing with this pack, melds can be formed either by matching sets or by arranging animal cards together which share a behaviour or habitat. For example a meld may be formed with the crocodile, flamingo and kingfisher cards because they all live near fresh water.
There are a large number of games derived from Rummy. Although in North America the word "Rummy" is often used as a stand-in for the specific game "Gin Rummy", the term is applicable to a large family of games, including Canasta and Mahjong and rummikub.