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A game of Rummy 500 in progress.
OriginUnited States
Alternative namesSai rummy, Standard rummy, Basic rummy, Traditional rummy, Gin Rummy, Knock Rummy
Age rangeAll
Cards(52) Varies on game type
Card rank (highest first)K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 A(A) differs by game type
Playing time15 min.
Random chanceMedium
Related games
Conquian, Mahjong, Desmoche, Marriage

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. If a player discards a card, making a run in the discard pile, it may not be taken up without taking all cards below the top card.

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 further back, Mahjong.[1] 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 the essence of Mahjong.[2]

Rummy games are popular in India. It is likely that Indian Rummy is an extension of gin rummy and 500 rum which originated from the United States.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • How to Play Gin Rummy: Card Games : The Object of Gin Rummy
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Hi, this is Gary Zyer for Expert Village. Now that we've dealt a hand, let's discuss what the object of the game is. What's the object of the game Gin Rummy? The object is to collect a hand where most or all of the cards can be melded into sets or runs, and the point value of the remaining unmatched cards is low. What is a run and what is a set? A run, or sequence, consists of three or more cards of the same suite in consecutive order. Such as the three, four, five, and six of hearts, or the Ace, two, three of clubs. A set, or group, is three or four cards of the same rank. Such as four Queens or three sevens. The card can belong to only one combination at a time. You can't use a card to be both part of a set of equal cards AND a sequence of consecutive cards. In this case, if you want to use the seven of hearts to join in on this meld, then you would be breaking up the meld of the three sevens. And, therefore, these two sevens wouldn't be worth anything. They'd be considered unmatched cards. Standard Gin Rummy rules play that the Ace is low. Therefore, Ace, two, three would be a good meld. But, Queen, King, Ace would not. Let's take a look at some examples of some winning hands in Gin Rummy. This would be considered a winning hand: four Queens, three fours, and a series Ace, two, three of diamonds. This would be an example of another winning hand in Gin Rummy. We have a series Jack, Queen, King; another series five, six, seven, eight of clubs; and a group of three sixes. Because each hand consists of ten cards, in order to get a winning Gin hand, you will need to form three melds. That would make two melds of three cards, and one meld of four cards.


General features of Rummy-style games


Depending on the variation each player receives a certain number of cards from either a standard deck of 52 cards, more than one deck or a special deck of cards used for specific games. The undealt cards are placed face down in the middle, it is known as the stock. In most variations a single card is turned face up next to the stock where players discard or shed cards, it is known as the discard pile.


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, for example 4-4-4 or K-K-K-K. A run consists of at least three consecutive cards of the same suit J-Q-K or 4-5-6-7. Very few variations allow runs that have mixed suits. In a few variations of rummy other patterns may be allowed. In some variations the melds (sets and runs) must be 3 or 4 cards, while other variations allow larger melds through the use of longer runs, for example: 8-9-10-J-Q or if multiple decks or wild cards are used, for example: 5-5-5-5-5 or Q-Q-Joker-Q. Wild cards (such as a joker) may be used to represent any card in a meld. The number of wild cards in a meld may be restricted.


Depending on the variation of the game, players take turns adding and shedding cards from their hands. There are numerous and quite different ways of doing this though it usually involves picking a card from the stock and discarding a card to the discard pile. In some variations melds are revealed to all players by placing them face up on the table, in other variations each player keeps their hand hidden until the show. Some variations permit picking up the entire discard pile. A few variations permit stealing cards from their opponents melds.


In most variations a player must put all of their cards into at least two melds (though they may be allowed to shed one card to the discard pile before showing). Once the player has melded all their cards they reveal their entire hand and the player submits their hand to validation. The action of submitting the cards is called Showing.


After a successful show, the winner or all players score their hand. In most variations numbered cards have certain assigned points and the royal cards (J-Q-K) have assigned points and the A often has a different point 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. The winner may also receive a bonus for winning. Some special or difficult melds may also give extra points to a hand. A player may have a negative score if their unmelded cards total more than their melded ones. Usually play continues until one player passes a threshold, for example 1000 points.

Basic Rummy

There are many variations of the card game Rummy. Basic Rummy is also called Sai Rummy. Another type of Rummy is 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.

Rummy is a popular draw and discard category card game and played in most households in India and other countries for entertainment purpose. Indian version 13 cards Rummy games is a multiplayer game with an objective to declare the successful formation of sequences and sets. A winning hand in an Indian Rummy game has minimum two sequences with at least one pure sequence, i.e. without the help of a Joker. There are many variants of rummy games such as Deals Rummy, 101& 201 Pool Rummy and Points Rummy. Rummy game is recognized as a skill game and playing Rummy is legal in most states in India except Assam, Odisha, Nagaland, Sikkim and Telangana.

The game is pretty easy to learn and play, but nonetheless very interesting. Moreover, nothing is required except a deck of cards and fellow players. The simple game throws new challenges every time it is played. Players have to apply their mental resources to play the game well. It was quite an attractive way to entertain oneself in the era that had limited amusement options. The game garnered a lot of popularity in the 1930s, when it was played by renowned Hollywood stars with great zeal. Popularity of the game witnessed a surge during the Great Depression, when the masses preferred to stay indoors and amuse themselves by playing inexpensive games.

In ancient time cards originally called Krida-Patram, initially they were made of cloth and had illustrations from the epics, along with ancient artwork. In medieval India, they were known as [and patronized by the Mughals] and the royals; although now they were not the same as the ancient ones. Various kinds of cards to find mention in the Abul Fazal’s writings. They were traditionally hand-made with great pains and meticulous art work. All strata of the society used to play cards and as such, we find different kinds of cards. They gradually decayed and ceased to exist when the Europeans introduced paper cards. A wide variety of games have been popular since, such as Indian Rummy, Seep, and Teen Patti, etc. These games have now descended onto the online platform and fall under the category of online games, such as online rummy, etc.

Most of the popular beliefs about the origin of rummy relate it to either Europe or North America. However, there is another notion too, that links the game in Asia. There existed a ‘card game known as Mahjong’ in China almost a thousand years ago. It was played with the same pick and drop style as rummy. This fact forms the basis of the assertion that rummy has its origin in China. In the nineteenth century, the same game came to be known by other names such as ‘ [Khanhoo and ‘Kon Khin]’’. The Chinese loved to play it. Hence, there is a possibility that the game of Rummy may have originated in Asia and subsequently reached India.

It is believed that the word ‘rummy’ comes from the word ‘rum’, which is British slang for odd, peculiar, strange or queer. It could have been the way the British initially saw the game. Many people think that it could have also come from ‘Rum Poker’ as the game is assumed to be the ancestor of all rummy games. It is also believed that the name has come from the alcoholic beverage rum, as in the beginning the defeated player was supposed to pay for the next round of drinks.

Shuffle and deal

Each player draws a card. The player with the lowest card deals first. The deal then proceeds clockwise. The player on the dealer's gem 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 or 7 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. On their turn, each player draws the top card from the stock or the discard pile. The player may then meld or lay off, which are both optional, before discarding a single card to the top of the discard pile to end their turn.


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.If a run lays in the discard pile, ex: 2,3,and 4, you cannot call rummy without taking all cards below the top card of said run.

Laying off

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, as long as they have already played a set of 3 or a run. 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. If the player drew from the discard pile instead of the stock on this turn, they may not replace the same card on top of the discard pile but must discard a different card.

Exhausting the stock

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.

Going out

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. You may also pick up from the discard pile and discard that card only if it is with another card. The player that goes out first gets extra 10 points.

Declaring Rummy

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 the 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 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.


Melding with a joker
Melding with a joker

In some instances, jokers are used as wildcards and can represent any card value when melding.[3] 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 other variations, such as Rummy 500 and Treppenrommé, 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 s/he 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.

Related card games

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.

Melding family

The most basic form where play continues until the stock is exhausted or a player achieves a specific number of points. Different cards (and melds in some games) are worth specific points. 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.

Contract family

In contract Rummy players are either assigned specific objectives (known or unknown to the other players) or decides their own objectives and announces them before play begins. Players are awarded and or penalized extra points depending if they successfully meet their objectives.

Shedding games

In these games players play until they have a minimal number of points or cards in their unmelded hand.

Canasta family

Canasta games usually involve partnerships using two or more decks 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.

Knock rummy

In knock rummy players usually reveal their entire hand at the end of the game. In most variations a player may signal (through knock or a specific kind of discard) that s/he has a valid hand. In some variations the other players get one final turn before the reveal.

Variations with non western cards and special equipment

Rummoli games

In Rummoli games require a special board or modified table with various squares with specific card(s) drawn on it. In each round players put tokens in each box. If a player lays down a card matching a box, they collect those 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.

Unique cards

Several 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.

Chinese cards

There are two different kinds of Chinese decks used for rummy like games. The rules of each variation vary greatly.


Tile rummy games usually include tiles of only three suits along with special tiles unseen in card games. Mahjong, a game with elaborate rules and different scoring systems, 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.


History & Evolution of Rummy Games

  1. ^ Parlett, David (1978). The Penguin Book of Card Games. ISBN 978-0-14-103787-5.
  2. ^ "Parlett's Historic Card Games: Gin Rummy – David Parlett".
  3. ^ "Rules of Rummy". Pagat. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
This page was last edited on 8 November 2018, at 23:50
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