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How to Play Rummy (Rum)

Rummy is a top-rated card game with a huge following in India. But it can often be tricky to learn rummy for beginners. Rummy is a matching game that includes matching cards of the same rank, suit, and sequence. The game’s objective is to build melds that can be sets or runs. Done in two ways- drawing and discarding cards.

In the days of mobile and technology, you can play card games on your mobile phones. Always keep in mind that in online Rummy, a lower score is always better. Here, we will understand how to play rummy.

Now, you can play games like Rummy, Ludo, Call Break, and Fantasy for free and win real cash. Join the Zero Se Hero Festival on MPL between July 7 and July 21 and play 50 free games daily to win big.

History of Rummy

The most popular theory regarded worldwide is that the rummy game originated in Spain. When the Spanish migrated there during the 19th century, it spread across America. It was called conquain before, which later modifies to the game we know today. There are Asian connections to the game as well. A card game similar to rummy called Mahjong existed in China almost a thousand years ago. The pick and drop style is identical. Later, it was known as ‘Khanhoo’ and ‘Kon Khin’ in the nineteenth century. It is possible that Rummy reached India through China. One theory says that the Japanese game Hanafuda inspired Rummy.

The earliest known reference to “Rummy” dates back to 1944.

Where does the name “Rummy” come from?

Theories have suggested that the word Rummy comes from the word “rum,” a slang term in British for odd, peculiar. It could have also come from Rum Poker. People also believe that the word Rummy comes from Rum, the alcoholic beverage because initially, the player who lost the game had to buy the next round of drinks.

The objective of the game

Each player has to form matched sets consisting of groups with three or four of a kind or sequences of three or more consecutive cards of the same suit.

The rank of Cards

K (high), Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A. (In many forms of Rummy, the ace may rank either high or low.)


Beginning with the player on the left, the dealer gives one card face down. In the case of two players, each of them gets ten cards. Each receives seven cards for three or four people to play, and when five or six play, each player receives six cards. The rest of the cards are placed face down on the table, forming the stockpile.

The top card of the stock is turned face up and becomes the upcard. It is placed next to the stock to start the discard pile.

  • When two people play, the winner of each hand deals with the next play. In the case of two or more players, the deal passes to the next player sitting on the left.

The Gameplay

Beginning with the player to the dealer’s left, players either draw the top card of the stock or take the top card of the discard pile and add it to their hand. The player may also lay down on the table, face-up, any meld (matched set). If the player does not wish to lay down a meld, he discards one card, face-up, onto the discard pile. If the player has drawn from the discard pile, he may not discard the same card on that turn.

Laying off

A player can add one or more cards from their hand to any matched set already on the table. Thus, if there are threes, they can add the fourth three; if the cards are 10, 9, 8, they can either add J, or Qand J, 7, or 7, 6.

Going Out

When a player discards all of the cards, the game is won. If a player matches all the remaining cards, they can lay down without having to discard them on the last turn. The game then ends, and the game discontinues.

In the case that the last card from the stockpile is drawn and no player has gone out, the next player, in turn, can proceed with the game in two ways. They can either take the top of the discard pile or turn it over to form a new stock and draw the top card. The pile is not shuffled. The play then proceeds as before.

How to calculate points

Every participant has to pay the winner the pip value of the cards remaining in their hand. Even if the cards form matched sets or not. Face cards have 10 points each, aces have 1 each, and every other card it’s a pip value.

A player says “rummy” when they discard all the cards in their hand simultaneously, without having put down or laid off any cards. Here, every other player pays double – twice what opponents would otherwise.

Basic Terms in Rummy

Before we become experts in rummy, we need to familiarise ourselves with the following terms:-

  • Table: The table is the virtual or physical place where participants play the rummy card game. Each table has 2 to 6 players as per the rummy rules. In MPL rummy, a table can have a maximum of 5 players.
  • Lay off- This is placing a card from your hand to a declare or meld that’s already on the table.
  • Discard- Playing a card from your hand on top of the discard pile. You remove one card at the end of each turn by discarding it.
  • Aces: A standard deck of 52 cards contains 4 Aces. They come in different suits. There are Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, and Spades. Aces form a lower-value sequence like Ace 2, 3, or they can be used to form at least two sequences out of high cards, like Ace, King, and Queen, or Ace, Queen, Jack. The point values by each ace are 10. If a Joker is the Wild card, then Jokers can also be Aces.
  • Closed Deck:  Refers to a deck of face-down cards remaining after the cards have formed a complete hand that has been dealt with each player. Players can pick one card on each turn from the closed deck. You reshuffle it when the players have picked all the cards.
  • Deadwood:  To describe unmatched cards. The cards that are not a part of any combination are deadwood.
  • Dealing:  Distribution of cards to each player by the dealer at the start of each hand. After a toss, the players choose the dealer, and then the dealing process begins.
  • Deck:  A deck contains 52 cards and a Joker. Each deck includes four sets of 13 cards of 4 different suit ranks – Clubs, Hearts, Spades, and Diamonds. These cards have all sets of Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and the other cards from 2 to 10.
  • Declare: When a player completes the objective of a 13-card rummy game, they finish the game by discarding a card to the finish slot and declaring the cards in their hand to the opponents.
  • Discard Pile: A discard pile or an open deck consists of cards discarded by players, except for the first card. It is placed next to the closed deck and has one card facing up. After cards are dealt at the beginning of a game, one card from the remaining cards is placed face-up on the table to form an open deck. Players can pick the top card from the discard pile or draw cards from the closed deck.
  • Draw: On a player’s turn, they must pick a card from the closed or open deck. This process is drawing a card.
  • Drop: A player can quit or leave the game before it concludes, called dropping. Players can drop a game in online rummy and forfeit their turn by clicking on the “Drop” button.
  • Face Card: All the Kings, Queens, Aces, and Jacks of all the suits are face cards.
  • Full Count: Full count is the maximum possible points by a player in a round/deal/game irrespective of the total value of cards in their hand.
  • Hand: Cards that are given to a player before starting the game are called a hand. Each player has to arrange the cards in their hand in sequences and sets.
  • Joker: Joker is a card that has been used to replace a missing card in Rummy games. You can use it to create an impure sequence or a set. For example, if you have 10, 9, and 8 in your hand, you need 7 to form a sequence. You can also use a Joker to complete the sequence. It is the Wild Card or is the wild joker.
  • First Life: The first pure sequence is called the First Life
  • Second Life:  The Second Life is a second pure sequence or impure sequence.
  • Melding: Melding is organizing cards into valid sequences and sets.
  • Sorting:  Arranging the cards at the beginning of the game after the cards are dealt. Each user sorts their cards in a particular manner to help form sets and sequences and prevent mixing of cards.
  • Points: Here’s how points are decided in Rummy:

The player with no combinations in his hand– Value of all cards is added, capped at 80 points

The player with two sequences, with one pure sequence– Value of cards that are not in any combination are added

Invalid Declaration-80 points

First Drop– 20 points

Middle Drop– 40 points

Player Leaves Table– When a player leaves the table after picking from a closed deck, it’s a middle drop. If a player leaves without picking any card, then it’s the first drop.

Variations in Rummy game

13 card

13 card rummy is one of the most popular variants of the game. Mostly popular in India, each player is dealt with 13 cards, and the rules are that there must be at least one pure sequence and one impure sequence. They will have to group to declare. Different types of Rummy variants fall under 13 Card Rummy. These are Deals Rummy, Pools Rummy, and Points Rummy

21 Card Rummy

A popular variant in marriages and festivals. The game is in the points rummy format. The basic rules are the same. Every participant plays the games for points with a pre-decided value that keeps adding until the end. It is a detailed and intricate version of rummy, requiring a lot of attention.

Gin Rummy

Another version of Rummy is the Gin Rummy, slightly different from 13 Card rummy and 21 Card Rummy. Instead of 13 cards, the players are dealt 10 cards each to make sets and sequences. A player can win without having a full valid set of cards. If the point value is less than 10, a player can ‘knock’ for the win. The difference between the victor’s deadwood points and the opponent’s deadwood is how you calculate the points. However, people prefer playing 13 Card Rummy & 21 Card Rummy more than Gin Rummy.


What is an impure sequence in Rummy?

An impure sequence is made with three or more successive cards of the same suit. However, in this, a wild joker is used as a wild card to replace the natural card to form a sequence.

What is a pure sequence?

In order to form a pure sequence, a player must form a sequence with 3 or more successive cards of the same suit. You have to make this sequence without using a wild card or joker. It is called a Pure sequence. To learn to play Rummy, you need a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 6 players to play.

What are Sets?

After understanding how a sequence forms, we shall now understand what a set is. A Set is a group of three or more cards of the same rank but belonging to different suits. You can use one or more Joker cards to complete your Set. Once you successfully arrange these sets and groups, you can declare your cards and win the game. Here’s an example of a set.

What is a Score?

In online Rummy, the score is the sum of the value of all the cards that are not part of a valid sequence or set. The objective is to reduce your score to 0 by forming sequences out of which the declaration can be valid. The King, Queen, Jack, and Ace have 10 points in Rummy. The values of the rest of the cards are equal to their ranks.

Is Rummy safe to play?

MPL is one of the safest and best online platforms for Rummy. MPL has an RNG certification for all Rummy games on MPL. The certification ensures that all of the games are fair and the dealt cards are entirely random. This, along with advanced fraud detection algorithms, marks MPL as the safest platform. Here, you can play Points Rummy, Deals Rummy, and Pools Rummy. Play rummy online on the MPL app!

Madhuboni Banerjeehttps://www.mpl.live
A graduate in engineering who later completed her post-graduate degree in Mass Media. Writing has always fascinated her, and she wishes to pursue her interest in the same. She wants to discover and write about new themes and topics. She always likes to venture in various writing forms and continues exploring her interest there.


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