Part of the appeal of Rummy is it is simple to learn.
The Basics of the Game
The game is designed for two to four players, all of whom are dealt seven cards (for a four player game) or ten cards (for a two player game).
The aim of the game is to arrange cards into what is known as melds. There are two types of meld:
- 'Sets' are the same value card across different suits; for example, three aces or four twos.
- 'Runs' are cards from the same suit presented in sequence; for example the two, three, four and five of hearts or the nine, ten and jack of spades.
Aces can be used either as a one (inserted before a two in a run) or as eleven (inserted after a king). During the course of the game you put your own melds on the table and can also add to those already there; for example adding a two of hearts when the other three twos are already laid out. This is called 'laying off'.
The Aim of the Game
The aim of Traditional Rummy is to be the first player to lay all their cards on the table: either by setting down their own melds or a combination of laying down their own melds plus adding to those already on the table.
The Run of Play
The cards are dealt face down with the remaining cards placed on the table as the 'stock pile'. The upper most card is flipped over for all to see.
Each player takes a turn, during which they:
- Pick up a card from the stock pile or the top of the discarded deck.
- Assess their hand and either retain this card or keep it.
- They may also play some or all of their hand in two ways:
- By putting a run or set on the table, or
- By adding to existing melds on the table.
- Melds must have at least 3 cards in them.
- At the end of each turn, a player discards one card.
- To win the game you either have to had to have 'gone out' - played your hand over consecutive goes; or played a 'rummy' - played all your cards into melds within one turn.
- When a player has played their entire hand, the other players are penalized to the value of their remaining hand.
- Cards are scored according to their face value with picture cards scoring ten and aces scoring one or eleven (check the rules!).
- Hands will continue to be played until the player with the lowest score is declared the winner. This is triggered when one of the players reaches a predetermined ceiling score or after a specified number of hands has been played.
There are many variations of rummy but the best way to start is by learning Traditional Rummy.
Online Rummy is a relatively new online phenomenon that this catching on like wildfire. Now that you know the rules you can join in the fun.