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Rummy has been a popular card game since its introduction in the early 20th century.
There are several versions of Rummy games played across the globe, the famous being Indian Rummy, Rummy 500 and Gin Rummy.
Each variant of the game has its own specific rules. The rummy game involves a higher skill factor when compared to its
counterparts. The rules being discussed here are a part of the basic rummy (also known as Straight Rummy, Standard Rummy or
These rummy rules are extracted from the commonly played rummy game, as there are no authoritative rules as such existing for the game.
The rules are intended for a real life card game, but also apply for the online version of the game which can be played right here at
Rummy.net. There are quite many variations of rules which are optional for a play, but are discussed as apart of the section "other house rules".
Players & Deck-
Basic Rummy is best played with 2 to 4 players, but can be played with up to 6 players. A standard deck of 52 playing
cards is used for the play. It is usually played to a target score (the default target score is 100 points) or for a fixed number
of deals. Players agree to one of the two ways before the deal starts.
The Deal- The first dealer is chosen at random, usually
by each player drawing a card from the deck, and
the player with the lowest card deals first.
In the game the cards are ranked from low
to high as follows: Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King.
The number of cards dealt depends upon the number of players in the game:
Number of players
Number of cards dealt
or 4 Players
or 6 Players
The dealer distribute the cards face down,
one at a time, beginning with the player on his/her left and moving in the
clockwise direction and ending with his/herself, this continues until every
player has the required number cards in their hands. If there are more than
2 players, the game always begins with the player on the dealer's left and
continued by the players in the clockwise. The deal also passes in clockwise after each play.
After the process of dealing is done, remaining cards in the deck are placed
face down in the middle of the table. This turns into stock pile. The dealer
then turns over the top stock card and places it face up on the table next to
the stock pile. This upcard becomes the first card of the discard pile.
How to Play Rummy Turn by Turn
The object of each game is to dispose all the cards of the hand before any other player does.
The winner is the first person to reach the target score, or have the highest score after all the deals have been played.
Each player on his/her turn, draws (picking up) a card and discards (getting rid of) one.
The discarded card can be any card the player holds, including the one he/she just picked up.
Draw (Compulsory) -
The player on the dealers left starts the play first on drawing a card. Likewise each player begins their turn by
drawing a card from the top of either of the stock or the discard piles. On drawing, a player studies his complete
hand to decide on a discard. And discards a card which he needs the least and ends his turn. If a card is drawn
from the stock pile, the player can conceal the card from the other players and hence conceals the melds he may
form with the card. If the picking is done from the discard pile, the opponents can observe the card picked and
some times can also speculate the melds a player is forming.
As said earlier the player needs to get rid of cards in the hand
to go out to win and this is done in one of three ways discussed below:
(1) Melding (Optional) -
This is when a player takes a combination of cards from his/her hand and lays them together,
face up, on the table at a chosen place. Every player places the melded cards in this place.
There are two types of combinations that can be made to form a meld; a Run (sequence) or a Set.
A Run (or sequence) comprises 3 or more successive cards of the same suit.
Example of a Valid Run
A Set (or group) is the one with 3 or 4 cards of the same face (rank) value.
Example of a Valid Set
Aces always have a low card value and can not be placed after a King in a sequence (Run).
(2) Laying Off (Optional) -
This is when a player takes a card (or cards) from his hand and adds it to an existing meld on the table.
The additional cards must still create a valid meld.
- If a meld on the table consists of: 456 and you
hold in your hand 3 and
7, you can add them to this existing meld to form
(3) Discarding (Compulsory)
- This is when a player takes a card from the hand and places it on top of the discard pile.
Only one card can be discarded at a time and it ends the player's turn. Once the turn of a
player ends, he can not play the game till his next turn arrives.
Melding is optional and there is no limit on the number of melds a player can make
and add to the table on a turn. A player may hold a meld till the end of the game to gain extra points (this is
explained in later sections).
Laying off too is optional. You can lay off cards against any meld placed on the table.
There is no limit to the number of cards that a player can lay off in one’s turn until it makes a valid meld.
What If The Stock Pile Runs Out?
If there are no cards left in the stock pile and the next player does not want the card from the discard pile,
the upcard is left on the table and the rest of the discard pile is shuffled and placed face down next to the
upcard and this becomes the new stock pile.
How and When to go Out
A player goes out by melding or laying off the cards in his hand. The player can
go out to win the game melding till the last card and hence a discard is not necessary for the winning hand. As a player goes
out, play ceases immediately and points are scored.
Once a player goes out, no other player can meld or lay off cards and the cards remained
in hand, even if they can be made valid combinations are counted against the player.
A player can also go out by "going rummy". This happens when a player disposes of all the
cards in one turn without having previously made any melds or laid off any cards against the melds on the table. On "going rummy", a
player earns from every other player double the points they are normally obliged to pay.
Some Notes On Scoring
When a player goes out (or goes rummy), all the other players add up the score of cards remained in their hands.
The total score of the cards in the hands of the other players is added to the winner's cumulative score.
The point values of the cards are as follows:
A is worth 1 point
A is worth 1 point
Q is worth 10 points
K is worth 10 points
5 is worth 5 points
7 is worth 7 points
The game continues until a player reaches the target score (generally 100 points)
or till a fixed number of deals are played. Therefore the player who reaches the
target score first or the one with the highest score after a fixed number of deals
are played is the winner.
Other House Rules
These are optional rules and are not used in online games but give knowledge
of different variations played by a large number of people across the globe.
These rules on the discretion of players can be introduced in to their play.
1. Players are allowed to lay down only one meld in each turn.
2. A player can not lay off cards on to the existing melds until he has placed at least one meld of his own on the table.
3. When a card is drawn from the discard pile, a player can not discard the same card on the same turn.
4. Once the stock pile runs out, the game ends and the players add up the points of the cards in their hands.
5. In one of the variant, on "going rummy", only 10 extra bonus points are added to the winners score.
6. Aces can be counted as low or high, so here sometimes K-A-2 (round the corner) and Q-K-A also are valid runs.
They are invalid in the basic game as Aces are low. When Aces are calculated as both low and high, they are generally
assigned the value of 15 points (instead of 1 point) to balance the better usage possibilities.
7. A player must discard his last card to go out, hence can not go out by melding or laying off his last card.
8. In one of the system, the point values of the cards remained in a players hand are counted as a penalty when an opponent goes out.
In such a case, a player with the least score after a number of deals are played is the winner.