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Rummy Variants – The Similarities and Differences of the Games

Author: Neha Agrawal

There are several well known Rummy variants in existence and it would be most wise for any player seeking to play Rummy on a regular basis to become acquainted with a few of them. Moreover, it would make more sense, if they could become familiar with the differences and similarities between the varying games. Perhaps there is a game of Rummy that is better suited to them than the one they are considering playing. Below is a brief run-down of the most common Rummy variants and some of the similarities and differences between them.

Obviously the original standard Rummy or Straight Rummy is the one all games should be compared to. Rummy involves one deck of cards, with ten cards being dealt to two players, seven cards to three or four players, and six cards to five or six players. There are no jokers, although players are permitted to layoff cards. There is no specific number of games or points that have to be played or earned, and it is up to you to decide the target.

Rummy 500 involves the use of one or two decks of cards. If there are two players, they each receive thirteen cards, whilst this figure drops to seven cards for three or more players. Jokers (wild cards) are optional in Rummy 500, and the target is roughly five hundred points to win.

In Gin Rummy, only one deck of cards is used. Each player is dealt ten cards, and there are no jokers, with the ability to layoff having to be decided prior to playing. Generally the target is one hundred points in Gin Rummy.

In Indian Rummy, there are thirteen cards dealt to each player, with two or three decks used, depending on how many people are playing. Jokers and wild cards are used and there are no layoffs.

Contract Rummy, although not as popular as those we have just mentioned, involves the use of two decks of cards, with players receiving ten cards for the first three rounds, and twelve cards for the last round, in a seven handed game. There are both layoffs and jokers in this Rummy variant.

Then we come to Kaluki (there are many ways to spell it) which contains two decks, with each player picking up thirteen cards. There are jokers and layoffs permitted and again the target must be determined by the players prior to play.

And finally, Canasta is another popular Rummy game. In Canasta, two players are dealt fifteen cards, three players – thirteen; and eleven cards are dealt to four players or more, from a two decks of cards. Jokers are used in this game, although layoffs are not permitted, and the target is five thousand points.

You can already see the similarities and differences between Rummy game variants, but with a bit of practice you’ll find them not too challenging to learn. Rummy is, after all, an incredibly simple game to play.