Rummy is the name given to a group of different matching card games that are same in terms of gameplay, involving matching of cards belonging to the same suit, same rank or in a sequence. The primary goal in any Rummy game is to create melds that comprise of:
– Four or three of a kind sets using cards of the same rank, or
– Runs made up of three or more cards arranged in a sequence, belonging to the same suit
Please note, you’re also allowed to have mixed runs in a good number of Rummy types, as long as all the 7 cards are arranged properly in a sequential order. You can play Rummy in almost every offline and online casino throughout the world, for instance Bet365 etc.
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Many scholars have studied Rummy’s past and a notable one of them, David Parlett has recognized Conquian, the popular Mexican game, to be the main ancestor of all new-age Rummy variants. That game in turn was derived from a popular Chinese card game known as Khanhoo, which goes back even further, and can be traced to Mahjong!
The main Rummy principle of drawing new cards and discarding unwanted ones, with the purpose of melding, can be commonly seen in various Chinese card games that came into being during the early part of the 19th century.
Common features of different Rummy games
Every Rummy player at the table is normally dealt 13 cards for each Rummy hand. The basic idea is to arrange all these cards into 4 different groups of 4, 3, 3 and 3 cards. Such group formations can be either as a ‘set’ or a ‘life.’ You require at least 2 lives for making a valid arrangement. The player must submit his/her cards in groups, after successfully making them, and get them validated. This submission of cards is referred to as show. However, as also mentioned above, a player must arrange all his/her cards into sets and/or lives to make a successful show. This task of arranging cards is referred to as melding.
You can have a meld either in the form of a run or a set (also referred to as a book). A run is made using at least 3 consecutive cards belonging to the same suit and a set is made using 3 cards belonging to the same rank. Although minor variations may exist with regard to these formations, it’s almost considered a universal pattern in this game. The variations may be in the form of allowing only sets for a successful Rummy show or requiring runs consisting of all cards of different suits.
Some Rummy variants make it mandatory for run to have minimum 4 cards. Others also incorporate wild cards that can be used as an alternative to any card in a meld. However, please note that there may be restrictions on the number of wild cards permitted in a meld.
In general a large number of cards are used in the game of Rummy, varying from just one standard 52-card deck to anywhere around 5 standard 52-card decks, apart from jokers.
Every Rummy player at the table is dealt a specific number of cards in facedown position. The number of cards dealt to the players is determined by the exact Rummy variant being played. In any case, the cards’ deck never gets emptied. The remaining cards of the deck (after the deal) are placed in a stacked manner, in facedown position, at the centre of the Rummy table. A separate pile of discarded cards is maintained, which is kept in face up position. This pile may be empty at the beginning of the game, or may consist of just one card that’s turned out from the stock. The responsibility of dealing lies with the winner of the previous game.
How the game is played
As also mentioned above, the number of cards dealt to every player depends on the Rummy type being played, apart from the total number of players.
The gaming action starts with the person sitting to the immediate left of the dealer. The dealer flips up one card from the stock and places it next to the pile of facedown cards, to start the game. The first player then takes one card from the table, which can either be the card flipped-up by the dealer, or the top one in the facedown cards’ stack. That player may use that card to form a run or a set. In case the card is of no use to him/her, the player cannot normally discard the same card into the discarded cards’ pile on the table. He/she must discard a different unwanted card in exchange for that one.
In the event that the player decides to use that card, he/she must still discard another card from his/her hand in return, and place it on top of the discarded cards’ pile on the table.
This rule generally remains the same whether you’re playing Rummy in an offline or an online casino such as Bet365, or anywhere else.
A player is said to have won a Rummy hand if he/she successfully melds all of his/her cards. He/she is said to have ‘gone out’ by winning the game. The game ceases as soon as any player goes out. No further melding is allowed thereafter, even if the remaining players on the table have almost-complete runs or sets in their hands.
The remaining players on the table then add the value of their cards in the following manner:
– All face cards (J, Q and K) are awarded 10 points each
– Aces are worth one point each
– Cards from 1 to 10 are scored based on their face values, for instance, a 5 is worth 5 points, 7 is worth 7 and so on.
This is followed by the dealing of the next game, and the action goes on until a particular player has earned a certain pre-decided number of points, or until a pre-decided number of games have been played.
About Basic or Standard Rummy
The original Rummy game is also commonly referred to as basic Rummy, straight Rummy, traditional Rummy, conventional Rummy, Sai Rummy or standard Rummy. It features a deck of a regular 52 playing cards. ‘2’ is the lowest ranked card and Ace is the highest one. You can continue playing basic Rummy either until the accomplishment of a certain score or till a fixed number of games. In the event that more than one player achieves a score higher than 500 in one single Rummy round, it’s the player having the highest score who wins. In case of a tie, it’s the player leading till the previous round, wins. This rule is almost universal no matter where you’re playing, whether in an offline or an online casino like Bet365.
Shuffling and dealing of cards
Every player on the table draws a card and the one with the lowest card becomes a dealer. The deal happens in clockwise direction. The number of cards dealt to every player depends on the total number of players on the table. Normally, 10 cards are dealt if there are only 2 players on the table. In case of 3 / 4 players on the table, 7 cards dealt to every player. On the other hand, 6 cards are dealt to every player if there are 5 or 6 players on the table.
All these cards are dealt in clockwise direction and in facedown position. The dealer places the remaining portion of the deck in facedown position at the centre of the table. This leftover pile is then used for drawing cards by every player, taking turns in clockwise direction. However, before that happens, one single card is drawn from the top of the remaining deck and placed in face up position next to that stack. It is meant for the formation of the discard pile.
The action begins with the first player sitting to dealer’s left, and then in clockwise direction. Every player draws a card either from the discard pile or the stockpile. He/she may then lay off or meld, before discarding one card into the discard pile (at the top). Let’s look into each one of these actions in brief:
Melding – In case a player makes a sequence of 3 same suit cards (called are run or sequence), he/she may meld them by laying them in face up position in front of him/her, on the table. The player may also meld a group (called a book or as a set) if he/she gets 3 same-rank cards. You’re allowed to play Ace as a low or a high card, but not both. Please note, melding is only optional and the player may choose to not meld in a particular turn. He/she may alternatively do so in order to declare ‘Rummy’ at a later stage in the game.
Laying off – Players are allowed to add cards to a group or a sequence in front of themselves or other players on the table. This is referred to as “laying off” of cards into an existing meld. For instance, if some player on the table has a 7s 8s 9s sequence in front of him/her, you can add 10s or 10s Js to it and lay off those/that card/s.
Discarding – Once a player has laid off or melded his/her card/s, he/she must discard one single card to the discard pile, in face up position (at the top). In the event that a player accidentally discards more than one card to the discard pile, he/she can withdraw the extra cards by making a choice. Any card that accidentally falls into the pile (in face down or face up position) while sorting or picking the cards is allowed to be handed back to the corresponding player. As a universal rule, the discarded card/s cannot be the one that the player had drawn from the discard pile (in the same turn). He/she is nevertheless free to return that card to the pile in any of his/her next turns. However, if the player had drawn the card from the stockpile instead, he/she is allowed to discard that card during the same turn.
Exhausting the stock pile
Any time that the stock pile runs out of cards, the next player is allowed to draw his/her card from the discard pile. As an alternative, the discard pile may also be turned over to create a new stock pile. Please note, it’s a general rule that the discard pile isn’t shuffled during this process. Once a new stock pile is formed, the top card from it is drawn and placed in face up position to create a new discard pile. You’re allowed to call Rummy in case your needed card gets discarded into the discard pile during this transition.
A player is said to have won the hand or ‘gone out’ if he/she gets rid of all of his/her cards. There are actually two variations of this rule. Either the player is required to discard his/her last remaining card on his/her last turn, or can do it right away. Using this rule can make winning slightly more complicated and difficult for the players.
Declaration of Rummy
Depending on the ‘going out’ rule applicable to the game, a player can say ‘Rummy’ if he/she has melded all of his/her cards, on his/her turn or out of turn, thus going out of the game/hand.
Scoring of points
Once a player has gone out of the hand, the game/hand comes to an end and the players start counting their cards/points. The leftover cards in every player’s hand are summed up and added to the winner’s score.