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How to Play Rummy – A Brief Introduction

Author: Neha Agrawal

Rummy is a relatively simple game to play, and as long as you have at least two players in the game, it can be played with as many as six (sometimes more) players involved. Generally speaking, between two and four players is a good figure to play Rummy with. The amount of games (deals or hands) or a point’s score must be decided before play. Rummy is played with a deck of fifty two cards, which in order of lowest ranking are counted as Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10, Jack, Queen and King.

The players take it in turns to deal. If there are only two then the dealer is alternated, if there are more than two players, the dealer rotates clockwise. A total of ten cards are dealt for two players, or seven cards for three to four players, and six cards for five or six players. The remainder of the cards are turned face down to form the stock.

The objective of the game of Rummy is to discard all of your cards, and a player can do this by three methods. Firstly, a player may meld their cards. This simply means that they are taking a combination of several cards (at least three) and placing them down in front of them. Valid melds include sequences or runs (for example 2,3,4), or groups (also known as sets or books) such as 2,2,2. Other players are also entitled to add their cards to already existing melds as they stay for the remainder of the game; this is known as laying off. No card once melded may be moved to another meld. For example, you are not permitted to take the 2 from a 2,2,2,2 and add it to an already existing meld of 3,4,5 so you can put down an ace.

Lastly, a player may choose to discard one of their cards onto a pile known as the discard pile. Other players may pick up this card, but may only discard it again on their next go.

A player must begin their turn by drawing a card from the stock pile. Similarly, at the end of a turn, every player must discard a card onto the discard pile, or meld or lay off a card.

The winner of the Rummy game is the first player to successfully discard their hand. When this happens, all of the remaining players cards are added up (Ace counts as 1, the face cards as ten, and all the others are worth their face values). The combined total is the amount the winning player has now scored. The game then starts a fresh until the pre-stated amount of hands (games) or points totals have been reached and an ultimate winner has been determined.