Telefunken is the sort of rummy which is usually played by four people with a double pack of cards with four jokers. You also need a supply of chips or tokens, 7 per player.
As in all rummy games, the objectof the game is to collect sets of equal ranked cards and runs of consecutive cards of a suit, which can then be melded (laid down). The game is, like all other rummy games, based on drawing and discarding.
Since Telefunken is a contract rummy game, it is based on deals and specific combinations you must achieve. Your first meld in each deal must consider of the arranged combination. Only after this you can get rid of further cards by adding them to your own or your opponents’ combinations. You can also meld fresh combinations. The other players then score penalty points for any cards left in their hands.
Combinations and Dealing
There are two types of combination that can be melded:
- A set of three or more cards of the same rank. A set of 3 equal cards is called trío, a set of 4 equal cards is a cuarteto, and a set of 5 equal cards is a quinteto.
- A run of three or more consecutive cards of the same suit, known as a sequidilla. In a run, an ace can be high (…-Q-K-A) or low (A-2-3-…) but it cannot be used in the middle of a run (K-A-2 is not valid).
A joker can be used to replace card, but not more than one joker can be used in any set or run.
A game of Telefunken consists of seven deals, and the contract for each deal is as follows:
- Deal 1: one set of equal 3 cards (trío), which must be pure (limpio) – no joker can be used and the cards must be of three different suits.
- Deal 2: two sets of 3 (2 tríos)
- Deal 3: one set of 4 (cuarteto)
- Deal 4: two sets of 4 (2 cuartetos)
- Deal 5: one set of 5 (quinteto)
- Deal 6: two sets of 5 (2 quintetos) – all players discard before the play begins
- Deal 7: one set of 3 (trío) and one run (seguidilla) of 7 or more cards and the player must go out on that turn.
Bear in mind that it is only in the first deal that the set of 3 required for the contract must be pure. In later deals, identical cards and a joker can be used to complete a set.
Before the first deal, players are given seven chips which are then used for “buying” cards.
The first person to deal is chosen randomly and the turn to deal passes to the right after each hand. The dealer shuffles the cards and places them face down on the table. Then the player to the left of the dealer cuts the deck. The cutter looks at the bottom three cards of the top portion, and if any of these are jokers, he takes them, shows them and keeps them as part of his hand. He or she then places the remainder of the top portion of the pack face down on the table alongside the bottom portion.
Then the dealer takes the bottom portion of the pack and deals from it. Each player will have 11 cards, dealt one at the time.
If the player to dealer’s left has taken any jokers, this player must be given correspondingly fewer cards in the deal. The dealer then turns the next card face up and puts it on the table to start the discard pile.
If the dealer runs out of cards in the bottom portion, he or she should pick up the top portion and thus continue dealing, and whatever remains is returned to the table face down alongside the face up card. If the player to the dealer’s left managed to leave a bottom portion containing the exact number of cards required for the deal (45 for four players if no jokers were taken by the cutter), the person who cuts is rewarded with an extra chip.
In deal 6, when the dealing has been finished, everyone can discard any number of cards from their hands face down. The dealer then gathers these discards together, shuffles them, and deals them out to the players, giving each player as many cards as he or she discarded.
In the first turn of the deal only, the player to dealer’s right is allowed to take the face up card turned up by the dealer instead of drawing from the stock, without paying a chip and without taking any extra cards.
For the remainder of the hand, every player’s turn begins by drawing the top card of the stock. A player that would like to take the top card of the discard pile actually has to “buy” this card, which costs one chip and one extra card drawn from the stock.