Rummy Rules: Card Game Rules. Learn How to Play Rummy Game

rummy title image
March 9, 2021

When you hear rummy, the first thing that comes to mind is the gin referred to as ‘rum.’ Well, that’s not far-fetched as it is believed that the name of the game comes from the word ‘rum.’ History has it that Rummy games were derived from the Mexican game Conquian which also derived from the Chinese game; Khanhoo.

Card games are games played with cards, and they are of different variations. One of its varieties is the game referred to as ‘rummy.’ Rummy is one of the oldest forms of card games that require about two to six players with 52 playing cards in total with official rummy rules.

If you learn how to play rummy, you will understand how players improve their skills at the table and also improve the hand they’ve been dealt initially. This is done by either picking up the card unused by the opponents or drawing cards from the stack of cards and, in turn, discard one of the cards you have.

There’s also 500 Rummy which is similar to Rummy, but it is different from the original game because it’s possible to take over one card from the pile of cards. Though rummy games vary, they share card melding games in common.

When it comes to the rules of rummy and playing the game, specific rummy rules tips can boost your chances of winning. Various terminologies are associated with the game and other things every player or enthusiast should know. 

In this guide, you will learn about:

  • Variants of rummy games 
  • Rummy card game rules
  • How to play Rumi
  • Rummy scoring
  • Official rummy rules

Read on.

rummy game process

Variants of Rummy Games

There are different variants of the Rummy games that players have enjoyed over the years, coupled with the relevant card game rules. These include:

Knock Rummy

Knock Rummy is a term in a rummy game that refers to another kind of game. In the variation, players cannot place their melds on the table or lay off on the other hand. In Knock Rummy, players do not reveal their hands but keep them hidden from their opponents until they can go out.

500 Rummy

This variant of the Rummy game has to do with a player being crowned as the winner once a total of 500 points is attained. All the players can win points as soon as they lay off the cards. This is unlike other variants in which a player lays off the cards after getting points from the losers’ remaining hands.

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This is another variant of rummy games, and it has to do with Jokers and 2s being wild. Its scoring system is also very different from the normal rummy game. With Arlington, the melded cards are also worth differently from the regular game.

  • An Ace is 15 points
  •  A Joker that is used as a wild card is 50 points.
  • Numbered cards are 5 points each.
  • Face cards are 10 points.
  • A 2 used as a wild card is 25 points.

In the Arlington rummy game, a player that loses a round must subtract 100 points for each Joker in hand and 50 points for every 2 in his hand. Players also get bonus points if they declare ‘rummy,’ and it works like this. 

  • Round 1 to 3, rummies = 100 points
  • Round 4, rummies =200 points  
  • Round 5, rummies = 300 points
  • Round 6, rummies = 400 points
  • Round 7, rummies = 500 points  

The Aim of a Rummy Game

The first thing to note in a rummy game is the objective or goal of players in the game. Knowing what your aim then leads to other actions and decisions you make as the game progresses. A player’s goal in rummy is to ‘meld’ the cards into two kinds of combinations; either sets or runs. Simply put, your goal is to be the first to play all your cards.


Melds in Rummy can either be a run or a set(book). Sets refer to three or four cards that are of the same rank, such that if you are using two decks, a set might be two identical cards of the same rank or suits—for example, K♥ K♦ K♠ K♣ or 4♥ 4♦ 4♠.

While runs refer to the consecutive sequences of three or more cards of the same suit. For instance, J♣ Q♣ K♣ or 4♥ 5♥ 6♥ 7♥. However, some variations of rummy allow runs to have mixed suits while some others do not. Bear in mind that the ace is always a low card when forming a sequence in the game and might not be played above the king.


As we’ve mentioned earlier, the Rummy game is of various types. Depending on the variation, each player gets a particular number of cards from either a standard deck of 52 cards, a unique deck of cards used for other games, or more than one deck. The cards that have not been dealt are then kept face-down piled in the middle. This is also known as the stock.

For most variations, a single card is placed upwards next to the stock where the players shed cards, and that place is called the discard pile. In 10 cards Rummy, for instance, each player receives 10cards with two, three, or four players. If it’s the basic Rummy game, five players can play, and they each get six cards. While in 500 Rummy, players get seven cards each, and in Indian Rummy, each player is given thirteen cards.

Rummy Gameplay

In playing Rummy, players are to take turns in adding or discarding cards from their hands, which can be done in different ways. The critical thing is that it involves the players picking cards from the stock or shedding cards to the discard pile. Some variations allow that melds are revealed to the players by placing them upwards, while in other variations, every player is to keep their melds hidden till the real show begins. Some variations of Rummy also allow taking the whole discard pile, and a few enable sealing cards from the opponents.

Scoring in Rummy Games

If all the cards have been dealt, all the players or the winner, in particular, scores his or her hand. The majority of the variations have certain cards with a specific number of points, and the royal cards also have points on each one. Like J, Q, K, for instance, and A, usually have points assigned to each of them.

To score rummy, each player needs to add up points in their melded cards and subtract points from cards that haven’t been melded. The winner automatically gets awarded a bonus for winning. If the melds are difficult, that implies more points to the winner. And that is simply what rummy scoring is all about.

Note that a player might have a negative score once the melded cards are less than the un-melded cards. The play is to be continued until a player passes a threshold like 1,000 points, for instance. Note that after a player goes out, the hands end, and all the players count their cards.

If any card is left in each player’s hand, it is counted and added to the winner’s score. The face cards count as 10 each, aces count as one, and number cards as their face value.

Laying Off

This is one of the terms associated with Rummy card games, and it means adding a card or cards from your hand to a meld already on the table. For ‘laying off’ to be valid, the cards added to a meld must make another valid meld.

A player can choose to add to a group or sequence in play or on any other players’ side. Laying Off cannot work in some variations of Rummy unless the player has already played a run or a set of three.

Let’s say a player has a sequence that consists of A♥ 2♥ 3♥ right in front of them; the player can choose to add the 5♥, 4♥, or 4♥, etc., and as such, continue the sequence. Some Rummy games allow players to play the K♥ and continue the game.

The Deck

In basic Rummy games, the aces are low. A-2-3 is a good run but Q-K-A. But note that some plays that aces can be counted as high or low, such that Q-K-A is also a valid run. When you’re thinking of how to play rummy, aces are good ones as they are given the higher value of 15 points instead of 1 point. These aces also reflect other usefulness. Some of the players take a step further by allowing ‘round the corner’ runs with an ace right at the center of it, but that is not uncommon.

The Discard

In rummy games, the ‘discard’ is the card that is removed from your hand and placed on the top of the discard pile. If you choose to pick a card from the discard pile, you cannot end the turn by removing that same card. This means that to leave the pile the same way, you have discarded a different card. 

rummy game cards process

How Do You Play Rummy?

In playing a rummy card game, every player draws a card, and the player with the lowest cards is to deal first, while others follow suit. The number of cards that are being dealt depends on the number of players. For instance, just two players are playing the game, each player will get ten cards. But if the players are three or four, seven cards are dealt with each one player. The shuffling and dealing forms the stock pile and then one card is drawn and turned upwards close to the discard pile.

Going Out

Once the aim of the game is achieved which is for a player to exhaust all the cards, the player emerges the winner of that round. The very first player to go out of the game receives extra 10 points. Winning or going out is of two variations.

The first is that the player has to discard the remaining cards in the hand on the final turn or they might not need to. This rule makes winning a bit difficult. This is because irrespective of the sequence a player has, the discard rule variation might invalidate the win.

The discard rule says that the winning player has to finish the turn by discarding one of the three cards in their hands and that implies no sequence. If it is the other rule, a player is allowed to lay off the sequence without getting to the last turn and the game ends like that.

The player can put down the cards after the game ends. Bear in mind that a player can also win if rummy is thrown away as the last card. It is also very possible to take a card from the discard pile and throw it away if it is with a different card.  

The Draw

As a player, you have to start playing the game rummy by picking one card from either the top card of the discard pile or the top of the stockpile and add it to your hand. If it’s the discard pile you are picking from, you can see the exact card you’re drawing.

If it’s from the stockpile, you cannot see the card until after you have picked it and turned it. Picking from the stock permits you to add the card to your hand without letting your opponent know what the card is.

Declaring Rummy

Rummy rules are important to note and ‘declaring rummy’ is one. If it is the case that a player gets the opportunity to meld all the cards at once, he is to say ‘Rummy’ on their turn and go out. To declare ‘Rummy’ means that the player has not laid off or melded any cards before the hand. If you are using the discard rule, you have to discard after melding.

But if a player says ‘Rummy’ when the card can still be played, that player is out for that particular turn. The game players are still in the game but the hand goes inactive. Note that playing for rummy is risky but the rewards are twice the normal rummy game. We hope these rummy rules help to increase your chances to win.

Every player has to hold on until their second turn to go out. If a rummy is seen in the pile, the player who is called ‘rummy’ has to draw two cards from the stockpile or take the whole discard pile. If it is in a close discard joker, a player can choose to declare ‘rummy’ at his first attempt and get double the score.


Rummy game is entirely different from other card games, just that it comes with its own rules and tips. And learning how to play rummy will help you understand the basis of the games and become a master at the game table.

With this guide, anyone that has never played before can get started. Or if it’s the case that you are not so good with it, well, here’s your chance to get better! Rummy is Yummy. You just have to taste it, enjoy!

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