Rummy is a card game that is played over several rounds. While there are many versions of it, the basic principle of Rummy is to get rid of all your cards by building melds of at least three cards.
What You Need to Play Rummy
- 2 decks of 54 cards (Jokers included).
- 2 to 5 players.
- A pen and a sheet of paper to keep score.
Setting Up the Game
- Shuffle the two decks of cards.
- Deal 13 cards to each player.
- The remaining cards will form the draw pile. They are placed face down in the middle of the table.
- Turn over the top card of the draw pile to start the discard pile.
- If the draw pile is exhausted, the discard pile will be shuffled to form a new draw pile.
In Rummy, players try to form combinations of cards called melds.
A meld must have at least three cards. There are two types of melds:
- A run: Consecutive cards of the same suit. (Example: Ace of clubs, 2 of clubs, 3 of clubs.)
- A set: Cards of the same rank and different suits. (Example: Ace of diamonds, Ace of hearts, Ace of clubs.)
- An Ace cannot be considered the highest and lowest card in the same meld. This means that in a meld, an Ace cannot be placed before the 2 and after the King at the same time. Therefore, the following meld is legal: Queen of Hearts, King of Hearts, Ace of Hearts. While the next meld is illegal: Queen of Hearts, King of Hearts, Ace of Hearts, Two of Hearts.
- The Joker is wild and therefore can represent any card, but there must be only one Joker in a meld. (Example: Jack of Hearts – Queen of Hearts – Joker)
The Values of the Cards in a Meld
A card from 2 to 10 is worth its face value.
Each Jack, Queen, or King is worth 10 points.
An Ace placed before a 2 is worth 1 point.
An Ace placed after a King is worth 11 points.
Each Ace used in a set meld is worth 11 points. (Example: Ace of Spades, Ace of Clubs, Ace of Hearts. This meld is worth 33 points as each Ace is worth 11 points.)
A Joker is worth the value of the card it represents. (Example: 4 of Hearts, 4 of Spades, Joker. In this meld the Joker is worth 4 points as it represents a 4.)
How to Play
- Players take turns in a clockwise direction.
- A regular turn takes place over three steps:
– Draw a card from the draw pile or take a card from a meld that was formed by an opponent.
– Place a meld if possible.
– If you’re unable to place a meld, you have to discard one card into the discard pile.
- The first player to place a meld must have a combination that’s worth at least 51 points.
- A player can retrieve a card from the melds on the table if the following conditions are met:
– The card to be retrieved is immediately used to form a new meld.
– The meld they’re retrieving the card from consists of more than three cards.
– A player can retrieve a Joker if they are going to replace it with the card it was representing.
Note: The player can enlarge or modify an already placed meld.
The Values of the Cards at the End of a Round
- The goal of Rummy is to have the lowest score.
- A round ends when a player has placed all of their cards. That player is the winner of the round and no points are added to their score.
- Each one of the losing players must then tally the value of the cards they still have in their hand and add them to their score.
- The values of the cards remaining in the players’ hands are counted as follows:
– A card from 2 to 10 is worth its face value.
– Each Jack, Queen, or King is worth 10 points.
– An Ace is worth 11 points.
– A Joker is worth 20 points.
- If a player fails to place at least one meld before a round ends, 100 points are automatically added to their score.
- If a player manages to place down all of their cards in one turn before any other player places at least one meld, 200 points are deducted from that player’s score. (Note: A player can have less than 0 points. For example, if a player had 150 points, then deducting 200 points from the 150 would cause their score to become -50 points.)
Winning the Game
- A game of Rummy ends when a certain number of points is reached or surpassed by a player.
- The players decide on that number before starting the game, depending on how long they want the game to be. (The bigger the number, the longer the game.)
- The player with the lowest score is the winner of the game.
Rules in PDF
Explore the Rummy rules in PDF.