Rummy game

This new guide will teach you everything there is to know about Rummy and all its variants

First, we’ll go through basic Rummy and its rules

Then, I’ll show you some Rummy variants

Sounds good? Let’s dive right in…


1: Rummy – a Great Card Family

2: Basic Rummy

3: Rummy Variants

1: Rummy – a Great Card Family

In this chapter you will read what rummy really is
I will explain what their general setting is.
The in later chapters you will see its sub-games and general rules

Rummy is a group of card games that are similar in the way they are played. They are all based on matching cards of the same rank or sequence and same suit.

The main aim of all forms of rummy is to build melds consisting of sets – three or four of a kind of the same rank; or runs – three or more cards in sequence, of the same suit.

Furthermore, in all types of rummy you can also have mixed runs as long as all seven cards are in order.

There have been various forms of rummy, whereas the original form of rummy is called Sai rummy, Straight Rummy, Standard Rummy, Traditional Rummy, or Basic rummy.

Interestingly enough, it is considered that rummy originates from Mexico, or even from China. Games scholar David Parlett considers the Mexican game of Conquian to be ancestral to all rummy games, which is actually derived from a Chinese game called Khanhoo, or even further, Mahjong.

In fact, this rummy principle that we know today, of drawing and discarding appears in Chinese card games in as early as the 19th century, or perhaps even 18th century. It is in fact, the essence of Mah-jong.
Moreover, rummy is very popular in India. Probably Indian Rummy developed from Gin Rummy and Rummy 500 which originated from the USA.

In all rummy variations, a meld can either be a set or a run. A set is consisted of at least three cards of the same rank. For example, you can have three sevens or three kings, etc. A run consists of at least three consecutive cards of the same suit. For example, you get Jack, Queen and

King of Spades

There are only few variations that allow runs with mixed suits. In a couple of variations of rummy other patterns can be allowed.
Wild cards (such as a joker) can be used to replace any card in a meld. The number of wild cards in a meld can be restricted, depending on the game variations. Jokers are not counted during the scoring.

In general, players take turns adding and shedding cards from their hands. Usually a player draws a card from the stock and discards a card to the discard pile. There are some game variations where melds are revealed to all players by placing them face up on the table. In other variations cards are hidden in hands. A few variations allow you to take cards from your opponent’s melds.

In almost all variations of the game, a player is supposed to put all their cards into at least two melds (although they may be allowed to shed one card to the discard pile before showing). After you meld all your cards you reveal your entire hand. This is called Show.

As for the scoring, in most variations cards are valued by their face value. Scoring often involves each player adding up points in their melded cards (sets and runs) and deducting points from cards that have not been melded, and the winner can receive a bonus for winning. Normal the game continues until one player passes a threshold, for example 1000 points.

2: Basic Rummy

In this chapter I will show you what the basic rummy is.
We will go through its rules and learn how to play it.

Basic Rummy is also called Sai Rummy, Straight Rummy, Standard Rummy, or Traditional Rummy.


The number of cards dealt actually 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. Cards are dealt clockwise, face down, one at a time. After dealing, the dealer puts the rest of the deck face down on the table and this forms the stock pile. Then a single card is drawn and placed face up next to the stack and this is called the discard pile.


The game starts with the player on the dealer’s left and proceeds clockwise. On their turn, each player can draw the top card from the stock or the discard pile. Before discarding a single card to the top of the discard pile the player can meld or lay off.


Players check their cards and see if they have the desired combinations. If a player has three cards of the same suit in a sequence (which is called a sequence or a run), then he or she can meld by laying these cards face up. If you have at least three cards of the same value, you can meld a group – it is also called a set. Melding is, of course, optional. You can choose not to meld on a particular turn. It just depends on your strategy and way of playing.

Laying off

A player can choose whether to “lay off” some cards on an existing meld. This means that you can add a card to a sequence or a group that lies in front of you regardless if it is yours or of other players. You can do this as long as you have already played a set of 3 or a run. For example, if one of your opponents has a sequence consisting of A♥ 2♥ 3♥ in front of them, you can add the 4♥, or 4♥ 5♥, and so on, thereby continuing the sequence.


In the end, after any melds of layoffs, the player needs to discard a single card to the discard pile, face up. Certainly, if the player drew from the discard pile instead of the stock on this turn, they cannot replace the same card on top of the discard pile but must discard a different card.

Going out

When you get rid of all of your cards, you 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. This depends on the variation, and it can make ending a hand a bit more difficult.

For instance, if you only have two cards in your hand that have the potential of forming a sequence, even if the third card you draw belongs to the sequence, you cannot get rid of all the cards at once since you have to finish the turn by discarding one of the three cards in your hand, causing them to no longer have a sequence.

However, if this rule is not applied, the player can lay off this sequence without a final discard.

Declaring Rummy

If you are able to meld all of your cards at once, you can declare “Rummy” on your turn and go out. In order to declare Rummy, a player must not have melded or laid off any cards prior during the hand.

If you are playing with the discard rule, you must also discard after melding.

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.


This is how the scoring goes in Rummy. After a player goes out, the hand ends, and the players count up their cards. After going out, the players count up their cards. Now, every card left in each player’s hand is counted up and added to the winner’s score. The face cards count as 10 each, number cards as their face value, and aces as one. There are many variations. Common ones include counting an ace as 11 or 15.

The Stock

If the stock runs out during the game, the player who is on turn can 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.

The Winner

The first player to reach a predetermined number of points (such as 150), or to have the most points after a predetermined number of hands are played, is the winner.

3: Other Rummy Variants

In this chapter I will give you a brief introduction to other rummy variants.

You could not even imagine how many games derived from Rummy.
Some sort Rummy games according to the way players form card melds.
In some variations the first meld must meet minimum point requirements or the final meld must include a discard. Some of these are played for four players in partnerships of two. In most variations players may extensively add to or even rearrange their cards. These include:
• 500 Rum
• 5000 Rum
• Bing Rummy
• Continental
• Cuajo
• Desmoche
• Indian Marriage
• Indonesian Rummy (Remi)
• Machiavelli
• Marriage
• Red three rummy
• Panguingue
• Penang Rummy
• Scala 40
• Seven Bridge
• Shanghai rum
• Ten pennies
• Three thirteen
• Tong-its

There are Rummy games linked to “contract” rummy. In contract Rummy players have certain objectives and they are awarded or penalized extra points depending if they successfully meet these objectives.
These rummy games are:
• Contract rummy
• Kalooki
• Dummy rummy
• Carioca
• Liverpool rummy
• Zioncheck

In the so-called shedding games players play until they have a minimal number of points of cards in their unmelded hand. These rummy games are:
• Jhyap
• Conquian
• Robbers’ rummy

Canasta game family

Canasta games are usually played with two or more decks and with many wild cards. There are many rules and restrictions on first melds, final melds and taking the deck. Seven or eight of a kinds (canasta) score high.
• Buraco
• Biriba
• Canasta
• Samba

Knock Rummy

In knock rummy players usually reveal their entire hand at the end of the game.
• Gin rummy
• Indian Rummy
• Rumino
• Tonk (aka Tunk)

Other than these, there are variations with nonwestern cards and special equipment.

Rummoli games

Rummoli games are interesting because to play them you need a special board or a modified table with various squares with specific card(s) drawn on it.

In every round players put tokens in each box.

If a player lays down a card matching a box, they collect the tokens. Most versions allow multiple players to meld straights in sequence and do not use three or four of a kinds. Some versions include poker like elements.
• Pope Joan
• Michigan
• Rummoli
• Tripoli

A few companies produce special card sets which often include special cards not seen in other rumoli variations. Some variations resemble the card game Crazy Eights. Most of these games are suitable for children while Safari pals is an educational game.
• Phase 10
• Ruckus
• Safari Pals
• Uno
• Zigity

Chinese variations

There are two different kinds of Chinese decks used for rummy like games. The rules of these variations vary a lot.
• Khanhoo
• Quan dui
• Four Color Cards

Tile Rummy Games

Tile Rummy games include tiles usually of only three suits along with special tiles which are not seen in card games. A complex game of Mahjong is played in East Asia with numerous variations played in different countries. Rummikub and other international tile variations have rules similar to meld and knock rummy.
• Mahjong
• Rummikub
• Okei
• Domino rummy

Generally Rummy is extremely popular game, sometimes played with two decks and where the main goal is to try to form sets and sequences of cards.
The game is interesting and entertaining and the great thing is that there are many variations, so you can try and find the one that suits you best or that you prefer.

There are also many online versions, which is great since you can play it whenever you wish with the computer or with your friends online. Other than that, playing online can help you improve since you can understand the rules better and practice the game. Usually underneath the game there are rules written for that particular variation you have found.
However, you can find the guides on some of the most popular rummy variations here in our Ultimate Guide on All Rummy Games.