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The Rules of Rummy

Rummy (also known as Regular Rummy, Straight Rummy, Basic Rummy, Standard Rummy or Traditional Rummy) remains one of the most popular Rummy card games. As with many other Rummy games, it is well suited to wagering as it contains all the exciting ingredients of a high octane Poker game but with a great deal more skill involved.

These are the default, most commonly used Rummy rules which we understand to be as close as possible to being the official rules of this card game, though no official rules actually exist as such. However, optional variations on certain elements of play do exist and are given in the section "Other House Rules". These rules were originally prepared for a real life card playing situation but also apply to the online version of the game.

Players & Deck - Straight Rummy may be played by 2 - 6 players and uses a standard playing card deck of 52 cards. The game can be played for a round, a number of rounds or to a target score which needs to be agreed before the start of play.

The Deal - The first dealer is chosen at random. Otherwise, it can be decided by each player drawing a single card from the deck, with the lowest card getting to deal first. The number of cards dealt is dependent on the number of players as below:

Number of players Number of cards dealt
2 Players 10 cards each
3 or 4 Players 7 cards each
5 or 6 Players 6 cards each

 

After each game, if there are just two players, the deal alternates. If there are more than two players, the deal moves clockwise (to the left) around the table. Starting with the player to his left, the dealer deals the cards one at a time to each player around the table until all players have the required number of cards. The dealer places the remaining cards face down on the table to become the stock. He then turns over the top card and places it face up on the table to the right of the stock to start the discard pile. Once the cards have been dealt, the players can then examine and sort their cards. The player to the left of the dealer takes the first turn.

How to play turn by turn

The object of the game is to dispose of all your cards and you can do this in one of three ways after the initial draw.

Draw (Compulsory) - Each player begins their turn by either drawing a single card from the top of the stock pile, or taking the top card from the discard pile - this is called "Drawing" or "The Draw". If you draw from stock, you add the card to your hand without showing it to the other players. If you draw a card from the discard pile you do the same but your opponents will know what card you have taken as the discard pile is face up and the top card can be seen by all players.

(1) Melding (Optional) - Cards may be grouped by placing approved combinations (ie melds) of three or more cards from your hand face up in the designated meld area on the table before you. Alternatively, you may choose to keep melds in your hand for reasons of strategy and/or the chance to gain a bonus. There are two kinds of combinations: Runs and Sets.

A Run (aka sequence) is three or more cards of the same suit in sequence:

Example of a Valid Run Example of an Invalid Run
     
       

 

A Set (aka group) is three or four cards of the same rank and different suits:

Example of a Valid Set Example of an Invalid Set
     
      

 

(2) Laying Off (Optional) - This involves adding cards from your hand to melds previously placed on the table by yourself or other players. Cards added must form a legitimate meld. Thus, if there is a run of    on the table, you may add or you could add and  or even   and . You are also not permitted to move cards from one meld to another to form new melds. You are not obligated to lay off cards just because you can but there is no limit to the number of cards you can lay off during a single turn.

(3) Discarding (Compulsory) - This is where you place a card from your hand on the discard pile. Each player must end their turn by discarding one card from his hand face up on the discard pile. Once the player has discarded, his turn is over and he may not play any cards again until the turn moves back to him.

A single turn therefore, consists of a player drawing a card (compulsory). He or she may optionally place a meld on the table and/or lay off cards to an existing meld or melds on the table (if any). He or she must then discard one card thus ending a turn (compulsory).

What if the stock pile runs out?

If the stock pile runs out, the top card from the discard pile is set aside and the remainder of the discard pile is shuffled and turned face down to become the new stock pile. The top card starts the new discard pile.

Ending the Hand

A player wins the hand by being the first to play all the cards in their hand by either melding, laying off or discarding. Once a player has gone out, the hand is ended. No other players may meld, lay off or discard their cards even if they have valid combinations already in their hand.

Point Scoring

At the end of the hand, each player adds up the points of the cards remaining in his or her hand as follows:

Cards Value Example 1 Example 2
Aces 1 point  is worth 1 point  is worth 1 point
Faces 10 points  is worth 10 points  is worth 10 points
Others Pip value  is worth 5 points  is worth 7 points

 

Faces (King, Queen and Jack) are worth 10 points each. Number cards are worth their pip value, for example: is worth 5 points, an is worth eight points, etc. Aces are low in this game and worth 1 point each. Aces are low by default and the cards rank in order: Ace 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Jack Queen King

The total value of all cards remaining in the hands of other players is added to the cumulative score of the winning player. The game can continue with further hands until a previously agreed upon target score is reached (100 points by default). The winner is the player with the highest score or the first to reach the target score or the player with the highest score after a previously agreed number of hands has been played.

Going Out & Going Rummy

A player "goes out" when he gets rid of all his cards and he therefore wins the game. If all his remaining cards are melded, he may lay them down without discarding a card to end his last turn. This ends the game and there is no further play.

A player "goes Rummy" when he disposes of all the cards in his hand in one turn and goes out without previously having put down melds in the meld area or laid off any cards against existing melds that have already been placed there. When this happens, every other player earns him twice the amount of points they would ordinarily owe.