Rules of Rummy

Rules of Rummy

Rummy is a game from the draw and discard family of card games and there are more than 500 different rummy variations!  However some basic rules are common to many rummy games. As you will read these ground rules are fairly simple and a good introduction to the entire family. Specific rules to most popular rummy variations like Gin Rummy, Canasta and others you can read here.


Playing cards

Rummy is played with the same cards as Poker, usually known as French deck. Cards are ranked: Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K. Ace is usually played as low (as 1), but can be played as high going after King in some variations. Mostly one deck of 52 cards is used, although some popular variations use two decks or more. Some variants use wild cards, that can represent any card in a meld.



Usually played between 2 to 4 players, but can be played between up to 8 players in some variations.


Goal of the game

Goal of the game is to dispose of all the cards in hand (Go Out) by grouping them in the allowed Melds and putting them face up on the table.



Dealer is selected randomly, usually by players drawing a card from the deck, with player drawing lowest card becoming a dealer. After each game dealers are changed in clockwise direction. Depending on rummy variation players are dealt a number of cards face down, starting a deal with the player left from the dealer, dealing card by card clockwise. All the rummy variations have in common two piles of cards on the table. After the deal the remaining cards in the deck are put on the table face down, this pile is called a stock pile. From the stock pile top most card is taken and laid down face up  right of the stock pile. That forms a discard pile where players will discard cards.

Player draws a card from one of the piles (compulsory), melds or lays off card (optional) and ends turn by discarding a card on the discard pile.

Play progresses in the clockwise direction. If the stock pile is exhausted cards from the discard pile are simply turned face down (with or without shuffling depending of game variation) to form a new stock pile and top most cards is again used to form a new discard pile.

Players dispose of cards by forming melds (sets or runs), placing them on the table face up. 

Melds can be formed by grouping 3 or 4 cards of the same rank and different suite (this is called a set)

Remi grupiranje karata Remi grupiranje karata

or runs, grouping 3 or more cards of the same suite in sequence
Remi niz karataRemi niz

In addition to melds cards can be disposed by laying off compatible cards to any existing meld at the table. For example: if there is a meld on the table consisting of a run 7-8-9 Hearts, player can add 6, or 10, J Hearts to the meld. In some rummy variations players are not allowed to lay of if they have not melded them self before.


Winning the game

Scoring is different depending of a rummy variation played, but again with many similarities between variations. The main difference in scoring between variations is that in some the object is to accumulate the points and in others to have less points. In first versions of the game winner scores points and in other players other than winner get penalty points and winner actually gets negative points.

The winner of the hand is the players who first Goes Out i.e. disposes of all his cards. Player can Go Rummy to, which is achieved by disposing all of his cards in one turn i.e. without previously melding. Going Rummy doubles the score for the winner.

 Depending of the variation players may be required to discard one card when going out.

After a winner goes out, players count the points left in their hand and they are added to winners score.  In variations where objective is to have less points those penalty points are added to the loosing players.  Usually face cards count as 10 points, Ace 1 point and other cards their face value, but each variation has it’s own rules.

Game between friends is usually played until agreed number of rounds or until reached sum of points.

These are the most common rules to rummy games, more precise rules to most popular variations of rummy games like Gin Rummy, Canasta, Kalooki (Kaluki), Rummy 500 and others you can find here.

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