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A Short and Brief History of Rummy

Author: Neha Agrawal

Like most card games in the world, the history surrounding the origin of Rummy, are clouded in mystery. There have been numerous attempts to piece together the tale, each one with their own originators and myths that span many different peoples and spread across the entire globe.

One of the more popular beliefs is that Rummy came from a form of poker played by the French. One theory by John Scarne in his book Scarne on Cards from 1949, states that Rummy comes from a card game known as Whiskey Poker, which was gradually reduced to Rum Poker, to Rum before finally being known as Rummy; although there is no direct evidence of this.

Other theories state that the game may have come from a Japanese game known as Hanafadu (the flower cards), that may have been picked up by the Portuguese when they frequented Japan, in the fifteenth century.

Rummy may also have originated in China with the Mah Jong game. Mah Jong has a similar structure to Rummy and has been played in China for over a thousand years.

Regardless of its true origin, the modern game of Rummy is thought to have first appeared in Germany at the turn of the last century. A similar game is also known to have been developed in the United States over a hundred years prior though, and it is this game that would later be known as Gin Rummy around the same time as the game was appearing in Germany.

It is thought that Gin Rummy takes its name from the alcoholic drink largely produced in the United Kingdom, and that it gained this name during the time of prohibition in the United States during the 1920’s and early 1930’s. The game was more popular than any other card game in the United States during this time, and by the 1940’s and 1950’s the Hollywood masses had took it to heart.

There is probably some truth in all the claims for the origin of Rummy. A very simple card game that involves the grouping of symbols or numbers, or sequences is one that could easily have developed in several areas across the globe. That they would all amass into one game entitled Rummy is also very likely, largely due to the limited number of ways you can group or sequence cards.

Today, Rummy has taken the next logical step like most other cards games and has become a mainstay of the online gambling world. Although not found directly at many online casinos, online Rummy can be found across the internet at special online gaming sites exclusively devoted to this classic and elementary card game.