The Complete Guide to Rummy

Rummy is a skill-based card game which has grown to be one of the top favourites in India. It’s so popular that there’s even a variant of the game that was exclusively reinvented for Indians – the Indian Rummy. Well, Rummy is the next best thing for anyone who would like to play card games but doesn’t want to struggle with the intricacies of the likes of Blackjack and Poker.

rummy-india

Today, we’re going to breakdown the game for you into easily digestible bits so that you can understand what the game is all about, starting from its rich history. On top of that, we’ll also give you a couple of tried and tested winning strategies to give you an upper hand even upon your first try.

So, if you’re looking to flip cards online, but you want to take on something less complicated, you just landed on the right page. And while this Rummy guide is aimed at newbies, it could also be an excellent refresher for veterans. You will still come across some expert tips that will be handy for veterans who may want to sharpen their skill in the game further. Let’s dig in, shall we?

The Birth of Rummy

For a couple of centuries now, card game enthusiasts across the globe have been enjoying the thrill of playing Rummy. However, when it comes to the question of the origin of this game, there’s no unanimously accepted answer. There are plenty of theories that try to explain how Rummy came into existence.

The postulation that’s most widely accepted proposes that the game was founded from Conquiana game whose roots hail from Mexico or Spain. Asians, on the other hand, believe that the game evolved from the Chines game Mahjongwhich has been in existence for close to a millennium. This Asian connection could perhaps be an explanation of why Rummy is exceptionally popular in Asian countries, such as India. The Japanese also speculate that the game could have evolved from Hanafuda; a game introduced by Portuguese travellers coming to Japan centuries ago.

Another interesting origin theory is that the game developed from a Poker format by the name Whiskey Poker which is quite similar to traditional Rummy. The name later changed to Rum Poker and finally, the word poker was dropped and it became just Rumy. Moreover, some people believe that the association of this type of game with alcoholic drinks came from the fact that the loser of the game had to pay for the next round of drinks.

Still, on the origin of the game’s name, there’s also the surmise that the word Rummy came from Rum a Britton slang meaning odd, queer or peculiar. Perhaps this is what British player thought of the game when they first saw it!

Well, wherever the game came from and however it got its name, here we are now. As the game was passed down to different generations and cultures, numerous offshoots sprung into existence, all the way to online versions that we know today. Nonetheless, whatever titles these variants came with, the basic principles or gameplay are virtually identical. In the most basic sense, the Rummy game is about melding the cards in your hand into relevant sets and/or sequences, by drawing and discarding cards. Some of the most popular variants or the Rummy game are;

üIndian Rummy

ü500 Rummy

üGin Rummy

ü13 Cards Rummy

üKalooki

üContract Rummy

üShanghai Rummy

üDummy Rummy

Among all these variants, Gin Rummy is the most popular game, especially across European countries. However, Indian Rummy is considered the closest variant to the original Rummygame and is exceptionally popular, even in online casino platforms. As such, it will be our main focus today.

Indian Rummy

Popularly known as Paplu, Indian Rummywhich is name suggests, is the most predominant variant of the game in India.The game involves creating valid sets from the 13 cards that every player on the table receives from the dealer. If there are only two players involved, 2 decks of 52 cards are used. However,3up to 6 players can also participate and in that case, three decks of 52 cards each are combined for the game. Every participating player is given a turn to draw and discard cards in each round of play. This continues until one player melds his cards with valid sets for the winning combo.

Glossary of Terms

Before You start playing the Indian Rummy game, here are terms that you should have in mind.

  1. Table: This is the place where Rummy is played and can accommodate two to six players in a game
  2. Deck of cards: A single deck of cards has 52 cards and a printed joker, the same deck used for card games like poker, and blackjack. These cards are divided into four sets containing thirteen cards each;2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 and face value cards (i.e. Ace, King, Queen, and Joker) in four suites. Every deck contains four suites which are, Clubs, Spades, Hearts, and Diamonds.
  3. Block Rummy: A type of Rummy in which the discard pile doesn’t get used repeatedly.
  4. Rummy 500: A Rummy variant where participants play to 500 and score based on the show cards and those they have in hand.
  5. Discard: To play a card from your hand on top of the discard pile, signalling the end of a turn.
  6. Open Deck: Also referred to as the Discard Pile, this term is used to refer to the cards that players discard. Players are allowed to pick a card from this pile to form combinations. These cards are placed face up and so, your opponents can get clues about the melds you could possibly be working on.
  7. Closed Deck: Also referred Stock Pile, this is the un-dealt deck of cards that are placed face down after each player receives 13 cards from the dealer. Participants in the game are allowed to pick a card from the closed deck in case they don’t find usable cards that have already been discarded in the open deck by other players in the game.
  8. Go out: To discard the last card in your hand. It also means to win and end a round.
  9. Go Rummy: To discard an entire hand in one turn by laying off or melding.
  10. Lay off: To add one or more cards from your hand to an already-existing meld
  11. Wild Joker: This is avital card selected at random from a closed deck to act as a Joker. It is mutually available to all the participants in the game at all times.
  12. Printed Joker: This is a card that forms the pack and is distinguished by a funny and clownish figure. The printed joker comes as a lucky card as it can be replaced with other cards to form better sets and sequences.
  13. Pure Sequence: This will be your primary objective for playing Rummy. That is to score a combination of three or more cards of the same suit which are arranged in their order of ascendance. A key point to take note of is that the joker card should not be part of a pure sequence.
  14. Impure Sequence: This is what you achieve, having failed to get a pure sequence. It consists of at least 3 or more cards of the same suit with a numerical arrangement of cards, but with one or more wild cards.
  15. Card Points: In Rummy, the Jack, Queen and King each will earn you 10 points. The remaining cards have a value equal to their face value. Wild cards, on the other hand, will cost you 15 points each while Aces will cost you a point.
  16. Joker and Wild Card: Each deck contains one printed joker. After the cards are dealt to the participants of the game, a wild card will be randomly picked. Both wild card and the joker serves the same purpose. A joker/wildcard will be used to replace the desired card to form a set or impure sequence. If the open joker is a printed joker, all the Aces are considered to be wild card jokers.
  17. Palpu: A name given to the next higher card of a similar suit. This particular card also functions as a joker, but unlike the jokers, the holder of this card earns a bonus from every participant when the round ends. Usually, the holder of this card will receive 10 points from every player, and in case you hold two palpi, you’ll receive 25 points from each player.

How to Play Indian Rummy

The objective of the game is to have all the cards arranged in required sets or sequences. All that players need to do is form at least two sequences. The player who forms valid sequences and sets before the other players will become the winner of the game.

The main rule for the Indian Rummy is that at least two sequences must be formed. Moreover, one of the two sequences formed must be pure in that it shouldn’t contain any joker cards. For example, 3, 4, 5 of the same suit of the card is a pure sequence. On the other hand, 3, 4 and a Joker is an impure run. Here’s a breakdown of how the game runs;

Deal:

Each player in the game receives 13 cards in the beginning. These are the cards which are supposed to be melded into valid sequences sets. The remaining undealt cards(stock) are kept face-down on the table for use by the players. A discarded card is then put face up next to the stock and is used by players to shed their cards.

Players take turns dealing when playing a two-player game. When playing with three or more players, the deal role rotates clockwise in every round. The first player to deal is chosen at random.

Sorting:

This is done at the beginning of each game. Sorting involves arranging your cards in a way that it helps you make your sets and sequences. It also enables you to avoid mixing of cards. Having received your cards, hit the Sort button and start playing.

Drawing:

Each player must start their turn by adding a card to their hand. You can choose to use the stockpile or the discard pile. Drawing is technically the first step of melding.

Melds:

This involves taking multiple cards from your (the player’s) hand and placing them face-up on the table. You’ll need to arrange your cards in proper Sequences or Sets that follow a given pattern or format. This is referred to as building Melds of cards. That combination of cards then stays there.

Players are supposed to pick a card from the open pile or the closed deck during their turn. With every card a player selects, another card (from their hand) should be discarded to the open pile.

A meld can either be a Set or a Sequence. A set here is a group of 3 or 4 cards of different suits but of the same value. It is also referred to as a book or group. For example;7♥7♦7♠ (3 cards) or 10♧10♤10♢10♥of hearts (4 cards).

In the course of melding, you can use any kind of joker (either wild or printed) to replace any card in the set.

The arranged cards should form at least two sequences, with one being a Pure Sequence. All the other cards that have been can be taken as close as it can possibly get to return valid Sets and Sequences. As you Meld, you are supposed to draw the card placed at the top of an Open or Closed deck. In this melding process, you’re only allowed to put down one meld per turn. You shouldn’t forget the fact that all the discarded cards by other players cannot be used to make subsequent Sets or Sequences.

Melding is, however, optional for all players, but then again, there are a maximum number of times you can skip.

Laying off:

After melding, you are given the option to ‘lay off’ a couple of cards on a meld. Meaning that you can add to a sequence or group in front of you or that already melded by the other players. Players can lay off as many cards per turn as they wish to accordingly. Like melding, laying off is optional as well.

Discarding:

You must discard a card from your hand to the discard pile to signal that your turn is over. In this process, you aren’t allowed to discard the same exact card that you had picked up from the Open Deck at the beginning of your turn.

Bear in mind that when the stock runs out, the discard pile is shuffled. The pile is then turned face-down, and the top card is turned face up next to it. The game is then allowed to continue. However, the round immediately ends when a player gets rid of all cards in his hand. The player that eliminates all the cards wins the round.

Show:

This is an integral part of the game where a player shows his/her combination of cards which he claims to have made. The player must isolate all the cards at hand in a minimum of two melds which are subjected to given conditions. Having to meld all the cards, a player needs to declare their hand. This is followed by pressing it forward for validation. Showing has to be done as soon as you can before your competitors do the same to end up winning in your stead. At the end of the game, the remaining players need to arrange the cards.

However, before a showing, you’ll need to keep your cards hidden from the other players. In the meantime, you’ll need to try and make a valid set of combinations within the shortest time possible.

Drop:

Any player can decide to drop a game at any point in time. However, you’ll be charged a penalty every time you drop, the penalty being getting fixed points depending on when you’ll drop.

First Drop: any player has an option of leaving the hand if he believes he cannot make a good combination from the cards he has at hand. On a player’s first drop, 20 points will be awarded. Take note that the player must drop the game at the very first turn without picking another card from the Open Deck.

Middle Drop: this is the second stage after the First Dropwhereby a player exits the hand after the first turn of cards. The penalty for a middle drop is parting with points twice those of the first drop. Therefore, a player will leave the game with 40 points

Consecutive Misses: take note that although you are allowed to skip your turn, you can’t possibly keep on missing your turn at will. If you deliberately exit the hand three turns in a row, you’ll be dropped from the game. Here’s you’ll suffer the same fate as middle droppers.

Leave Table: this is considered to be equal to the middle drop and is thus 40 points. Take note that it is only applicable if a player exits the table having drawn just one card from the Closed Deck.

Full Count: Finally, any player who fails to meld any cards at the end of the game but instead chooses to leave the game, they will receive 80points.

Wrong Declaration: take note that if a player erroneously claims that he has completed a Set or Sequence, the player instantly pays for it with a leaving the game with the value of cards at hand.

Collection of Points and Scoring:

The Winner’s score in a Rummy game is set at zero points. This score is awarded to the participant who finishes the game after they complete the objective. On top of that, in cash-based games, the winner of the Rummy game will collect cash based on all the points from all other participants on the table. So, after the hand ends, the unmade points which the losing players hold will be added together. In most cases, the score will be rounded off to the nearest five; for instance, 52 points will become 50.

The maximum points that a player can get in a13-card Rummy game are 80 points irrespective the number of high-value cards in their hand. If the player fails to score one Pure Sequence and two sequences overall, the card values of what the player has at hand are added, up to a maximum of 80 points. Any other amount of points you accrue under 80 will be awarded as they are.If you succeed in forming a pure sequence or at least two sequences, you will accumulate points only for the cards that you could not achieve a valid Set or Sequence for.

Types of Indian Rummy

In case you were wondering, there are three kinds of Indian Rummy that follow the same pattern of play, based on the draw and discard of cards. These are:

  • Points Rummy:

This is a type of Rummy in which the monetary value associated with each point is set at the beginning of the game. The first player to finish wins the prize. The total amount is attained by multiplying the sum of all opponent’s points by the monetary value of 1 point. This type of Indian Rummy is the quickest and easiest to play.

  • Deals Rummy:

This involves determining the number of rounds to be played at the beginning of the game. The player with the maximum points at the end of the rounds wins the game. The game involves typically two or three rounds and takes much longer than Points Rummy.

  • Pool Rummy:

In this type of Indian Rummy, the maximum limit for the points (either 101 or 201) is determined at the start of the game. The last man standing after all the other players have been eliminated on surpassing the maximum limit wins the game. This is the longest form of IndianRummy and is similar to playing Points Rummy over and over again. However, the last person to remain wins it.

Other Rummy Variations

While the above variants of Indian Rummy are the most popular, you may still come across other spinoffs with a twist in the rules, particularly in online casinos. Some of the variations that you could come by including the likes of;

  1. a) No Additional Jokers: in this variant of Indian Rummy, only the deck Jokers (those that are printed)can be used as wild cards. There are no extra wilds that are randomly determined from the deck.
  2. b) No Jokers: In this type of Indian Rummy, the printed Jokers are not used. Likewise, no random card is exposed to be used as a Joker or wild cards.
  3. c) 21 Card Indian Rummy: This is a variant of Indian Rummy that is similar to the 13-card IndianRummy. The only difference is that 21 cards are dealt instead of the usual 13.
  4. d) Double Score on Printed Jokers: in this type of game, all the Joker scores are double in an ongoing hand. The card that is picked for exposure to establish the Jokers of the round has to be an actual printed Joker, and the only accepted wilds in the game are the printed Jokers.
  5. e) Ace Jokers: in this type of Indian Rummy, in case a printed Joker is the card flipped when the wild cards to be used for the hand are being determined, all Aces will then be considered wilds as well.
  6. f) At the Block: In this Rummy variant, once the closed Deck is depleted and no player can go Rummy, the hand will end without a score. Nevertheless, for the standard Rummy game, discard pile can be shuffled and re-used.

Tips for Winning in the Rummy Game

As you are enjoying the Indian Rummy game, some of the tips and strategies that could get you ahead include the following:

üGet rid of face cards and other high-value cards. If possible, do so as soon as the game begins. If it’s not possible at the beginning of the game, then try to do so towards the end of the game.

üThe main reason behind getting rid of high-value cards is because they lead to the inflation of your penalty points. But even when you are discarding the high-value cards, you should be cautious. In case your opponent already has consecutive high-value cards and you discard yours, you’ll end up making it easier for them to meld and gain ground in the game. Thus, you have to watch out with this move.

üTry to take note of your opponent’s card count before they run out of cards and win the game before you.

üTechnically, it’s much easier to make a sequence than it is to get 3 of a kind. You will thereby be forced to discard either a card that could later form a run or one that could be part of a set. It is, however, much better to discard one card that could later build a set.

üPay attention towhat your opponent does. For example, if your opponent takes a 7 of spades from the deck, there is a probability that they already have a 7 waiting. You, therefore, know that he is trying to complete a run of spades. All you need to do is try your best to prevent them from discarding their cards.

üDon’t forget that a run can have more than three cards in a row. This means that the fastest way to discard the cards is to form a 5- or 6-card run.

üTry to discard cards that hold the least value to you and your opponents in the game.

House Rules you can use in an Indian Rummy Games in Social Settings

As you know by now, the Indian Rummy game is exceptionally popular in India and across Asia. Other than in casino settings, it’s also popular in social settings with family and friends and even in parties. In case you are enjoying the game in social settings, you could tweak the rules to make things more interesting. Some of the rules you could twist to take the entertainment factor a few notches higher include:

  • Laying Off Before Melding: Participants can agree that laying off cards is prohibited until the player has laid down a meld.
  • Set Number of Rounds: Players can decide to play to a set number of rounds instead of playing to a target score. When this happens, the player that wins the round is the player with the least amount of points after the set number of hands.
  • Aces High: When this house rule is implemented, the aces count for 15 points rather than 1 point.
  • More than One Meld:This is a game where the players are allowed to lay down any number of melds in each turn. However, all players have to agree on the number of melds can be played in a single turn at the start of the game. Players also get bonus points if they goRummy in one turn. For instance, your score could be doubled in such a case.
  • Discard Last:In this house rule, players will be required to discard a card even at the end of their last turn. In such a scenario, a player also won’t be permitted to meld or lay off all of his cards. This is because he cannot finish by discarding one card.
  • Reusing Discard Pile: it is recommended to shuffle the discard pile to achieve fair gameplay. The discard pile can be reused as a new stock over and over again. However, it has disadvantages in that players can hoard cards that other players want. This can be avoided by limiting the number of times the discard pile is reshuffled in any round.

Playing Rummy in India

Indian Rummy has grown to be one of the most played cards games in India. The game has been sweeping multitudes of generations of their feet for decades now. In case you are wondering about the legality of playing Rummy games, you’ll be happy to know that it’s 100% legal.The game was legalised in India on the basis that it is a game of skill and not of chance, and this was back in 1967. On top of that, given that it’s a game of skill, playing Rummy in India for money is considered a business transaction by the law.

Players can, therefore, bet amongst themselves socially for fun and for money or even play on online gaming platforms that accept Indian players. The most exceptional advantage of playing via the internet is that you’ll come across a selection of variants which you can enjoy both for free and for real money.

However, you should bear in mind that while you can play this game anywhere in India for fun, it is against the law to play Rummy for real money in some states. Telangana, Orissa and Assam have banned real cash Rummy for a long time, and Kerala joined the states that prohibit real money Rummy recently.

Are you Ready to Have a Good Time?

Having gone through our guide, there’s no doubt that you now have the upper hand in playing this card game. With all the rules and tips at your fingertips, you now have all that it takes to win the game whether you are playing in a land-based setting or over the internet. Like any other game, the key to becoming better is through practice to a point where making the moves will feel like second nature. A word of advice from us, however, is that before you play any variant of the game, run through the rules to understand what’s different from what you’re used to. That way, you’ll never be caught off-guard by any rules you may have overlooked. Good luck!