How to Play Rummy

Rummy or also called Rum or Straight, Traditional or Standard Rummy is one of the most popular card games. This game is suitable to play in a home environment since the Rummy rules are easy to learn and play. It is quite simple. However it contains all of the excitement of games such as Poker, but it requires a lot more skill. In this guide, we will explain the default and most commonly used rules, which are the closest possible to be the official Rummy rules of this exciting game.

However, there are no official rules. The rules do differ in various countries, but the game is usually referred to as Rummy. This often causes lots of confusion, and there is a high chance that Rummy that we are describing here is not the one you are looking for.

How to play Rummy card game

Rummy Rules

Rummy is a classic and very popular card game in which you have to get rid of all your cards. The easiest way is to create melds which are sets of three or four same ranks of cards. For example an 8 of hearts, an 8 of spades and an 8 of clubs. They can also be runs which are three cards or more of the same suit, for example, a 2, a 3 and a 4 of hearts. However, they must be in the correct sequence. This is called Traditional Rummy. However, there are lots of other variations of Rummy, which is normal because of its popularity.

Rummy card game rules explained Players and the Deck

Can be played from two to four players and the deck is a standard one containing 52 cards. Rummy could be played in a single round, a specific number of rounds or until reaching a particular score. This is something all of the players need to agree on before starting to play.

Card Ranks

From high to low they start as it follows King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace. However, in the different variations of Rummy, the Ace may be either a high or a low card.

How to Play Rummy Card Game and Typical Gameplay

Rummy can be played with two, three or even four players. If there are only a couple of players, each of them should get ten cards. Moreover, if there are either 3 or four players, each of them should get seven cards. After dealing the cards, the deck should be placed face down on the table, with one card facing upwards put next to it to start the discard pile. The player who is sitting left of the dealer should begin the hand, and the gameplay continues like this:

  1. You can start your turn by taking a card either from the discard pile or the deck.
  2. If it is possible, you should place a meld on the table. In most versions of Rummi game including the classic one you can put down as many melds you can in a single round, however, there are some versions in which you can lay down only one.
  3. You can also lay off cards on already existing melds, for instance, if there is a 4, a 5, and a 6 of hearts you can place a 7 of the same suit. It does not matter who put that meld down, as soon as it is on the table it does not belong to anyone so that everyone can use it. There is no restriction on the number of cards you can lay off, as long as you did not place a meld in that round.
  4. You should remove a card from your hand in the discard pile. If you drew a card from that pile, you could not drop it in the same round. If you have only a single card left in your hand, you should place it in the discarded pile and win.

This continues until a player has removed all of the cards in their hand. The player does not have to place a card in the discard pile if he can place all of his cards into melds or lay them off into already existing ones to win Rummy.


If the deck ends before a player can win, the discard pile should be shuffled and used as the new deck. If the stock ends another time, the hand should be considered as a stalemate, and no one should get any points for that round.

Now, if you want to play real money Rummy we recommend you to check our guide first.

  How to win Rummy game?

How to Play Rummy and Keep Score

When a player melds all their cards (except, for any cards that are into the discard pile), the hand ends and therefore the scores are being calculated. In some cases, everyone might make melds in one round, and a few games permit a player to finish a hand with a few unmatched cards in their hand.


Players usually get positive points for the melds they have and negative points for non-melded cards in their hand. In some games, massive bonuses are given for special, significantly hard to get melds. Аdditionally being the one who melded all their cards is typically rewarded, depending on the type of Rummy. This award could also be rather tiny compared to alternative scoring, or it may be the deciding factor of the particular game.

Going Rummy

If a player has not melded or laid off any cards throughout Rummy, however, might get to remove all his cards in one turn to earn a bonus, his points will be doubled! This is often referred to as Going Rummy, and could be a risky move since you have got many of cards for an extended amount of time. However, it can pay off if you manage to do it successfully!


There are a couple of cases in which Rumi game may end in a stalemate. One, as mentioned before, is when the deck has depleted twice. Another case is if the game detects that none of the players can finish their hands. This could, for instance, happen when all players have just a single card left in their hands, and there are not any possible layoffs on the melds on the table. Once there is a stalemate none of the players get any points, and Rummie is considered as a loss for each of them in the statistics. The way players handle this in the games played in real life varies widely. However, we have chosen this easy method to avoid complications such as two or more players having the same score.

End of the Deck

Sometimes when the deck runs out if the next player does not want the discard, the discard pile has to be shuffled before reusing it as a deck. This can often be the version which is currently given in most books. However, if the pile does not get shuffled, if any of the players can remember the order of the cards, they will get a huge advantage.


It is highly unlikely, however, possible that each player has the exact cards that the others are playing need. In that case, each turn every player will draw a card and place it in the discard pile. In this case reusing the pile as a new deck, no matter if it is shuffled or not, will not be helpful to anyone. The game can even be endless, depending on how stubborn the players are. So it is usually a good idea to set a limit on the times the deck can be reused.


In the version often referred to as Block Rummy, the discard pile cannot be reused at all. If the deck runs out, and the player does not take the discard, the game ends, and the players get scored with the cards they currently hold in their hands. The player who has the smallest value wins, if two people are tied, they share the points.


Each of the players can count the remaining cards when their turn comes. However, they have to tell the other players the exact amount of cards left so that it would be fair for everyone.

Variations of Classic Rummy

Classic Rummy card game variations

In some cases, jokers can be used as wildcards and may represent any cards value once used for melding. They may be used in sets or runs, however, cannot be replaced once they are melded, neither can a player lay off a card to replace it by themselves. Jokers cannot be counted during the scoring.


Another variation includes the discarded cards being placed, so all of the cards can be visible. At the beginning of his or hers turn, a player can take any of the discard cards, as long as they as long as they make all of the cards that are on top of it as well and also the last card that he or she picked has to be played immediately. If the player decides to take only the last card, he can keep it and discard another one of his choosing.


The third variation we will discuss is often referred to as Block Rummy. Players cannot continue after going through the deck the first time. If no one managed to win the round, all of them lose the values in their hands.


Moreover, last but not least commonly referred to as Continuity Rummy or also called round the corner Rummy, is a variant in which the melds could be made in a way such as this: a King, an Ace, a 2 and a 3. Alternatively, in other words, in this variety of Rummy, it is possible to place an Ace after a King.

In the past it was difficult to find place for playing online rummy but now there are various mobile platforms where people can play the game no matter their location.

Childrens Rummy

Rummy card game variation - Ruckus

Rummy for kids or Ruckus is usually played by small children. Every player is dealt seven cards. Players directly place down all cards of equivalent value (example, two 7’s or three Queens), they should be placed upwards. If another player has a card of that same value, they may place it down on the pile and drag it to their part of the table. All players should do that at the same time.


Once the playing has stopped, the dealer hands out the new cards and the pile and drawing cards is repeated until the point in which deck is depleted. The player with the biggest amount of cards in piles at the end of the game wins. There are versions of this type of Rummy for adults as well.


Another variation of Rummy for Kids includes a deck called Safari Pals in which the cards are organized in sets of animals. Once you play with this pack, the melds are formed either by matching sets or by arranging animal cards which share a behavior or environment. For instance, a meld can be formed with the cat, the lion and the cheetah cards since all of them are in the cat family.

Other Rummy Rules

The rules we mentioned above are the ones that are usually used for Rummy, however, the Rummy rules we will talk about in this section could also be introduced by the people who organized the game:

  1. You can only lay down one meld throughout your turn.
  2. A player cannot lay off any cards unless they have already placed down a minimum of one meld of their own.
  3. If you draw from the discarded pile, you are not allowed to discard the same card within the same round.
  4. Rummy sometimes ends when the deck runs out, and players then score the value of their cards in their hand.
  5. A player who has not melded previously laid off any cards may earn a bonus if they can lay off all of their cards in a single round. Some Rummy rules might give them ten points, and others may double their points.
  6. Aces are usually counted either as high or low so that a Queen a King and an Ace or sometimes even A King an Ace and a 2 (called round the corner) are considered as strong runs. However, they are not valid within the default game as Aces are low. Since Aces can be counted as both high and low values, they may sometimes be given the amount of fifteen points (instead of a single one point) to offset the additional usage of possibilities.
  7. So to go out, you will need to end your round by discarding your last card.
  8. Values within the hand at the end of the turn can be added to the player’s score as a penalty. In this case, the player who holds the lowest score at the end of the specified number of turns or when the previously specified target score is reached will be the winner.