History of Rummy
Several theories exist on how the game of Rummy came to be.
One of the earliest Rummy games was Conquian, which some sources say originated in Spain and was exported to Mexico. Other sources insist the game was developed in Mexico in the mid 1800's. One thing that is not disputed is that the game crossed over into Texas and the American Southwest in the late 19th century. At some point the game made its way to England, where it was called "Rum”. The game then made it back to the United States, where it officially became "Rummy".
This theory holds that Rummy evolved from Poker, which originated with the French settlers in the New World. Poker and Rummy have certain similarities in how cards are combined, both sharing the concepts of sequences and groups. Specifically, Rummy developed from a game called "Whiskey Poker", which later became known as "Rum Poker", and later just "Rum" and then "Rummy".
There are two Chinese card games called "Khanhoo", and "Kon Khin" which were first reported in the late 1800's, and which contain the distinctly Rummy and Poker characteristics of creating combinations of cards. Many Chinese domino games are also built on this principle, as is the Chinese game of Mahjong.
Rummy is regarded to be the second most popular card game after Poker. In fact, if you include Mahjong, which is conservatively estimated to be played by over 400 million people across Asia, along with western Rummy games, it has been estimated that Rummy games are played by over 700 million people worldwide. This makes it not just one of the most popular card games but also one of the most popular games in the world ranking up there with the likes of Scrabble, Chess and Monopoly.