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The 21 card rummy is an Indian rummy variant that is often played in Indian marriages and festivals. This card game is played in the points rummy format. The basic rules still stay the same. Every player plays the games for points with a pre-decided rupee value, which keeps adding at the end. It is an elaborate version of rummy that requires attention to understand in the first instance.

To understand this card game properly, you should know the commonly used terms while playing 21 cards rummy online or offline.

Terms Used in 21 Card Rummy

To master the 21-card rummy game, you must be familiar with the below terms:

  1. Tunnela: Tunnela refers to three matching cards forming a pure sequence in the game.
  2. Dublee: Dublee is a pair of cards with the same suit and the same face value.
  3. Toss: Toss is an option used to decide which player goes first.
  4. Joker: A Joker can replace any other card to complete a sequence or a set.
  5. Upper Joker: Upper Joker is the card ranking higher than the cut Joker of the same suit.
  6. Lower Joker: Lower Joker is the card ranking lower than the cut Joker of the same suit.
  7. Sequence: A sequence is a combination of three or more cards of the same suit.

21 Card Rummy Rules

While the rules for 21-card rummy are similar to the other 13 Card Rummy cash game variants, the rules of declaring the cards are a little different. Here are the basic 21 card rummy rules you must remember to declare a show:

  • You must have at least 3 pure sequences; the rest of the cards can be arranged in sets or sequences. A tunnela is also treated as a pure sequence.
  • You need at least 3 tunnelas in separate groups, and other cards can be arranged or clubbed in a single group or can be left as it is.
  • You need at least 8 dublees; the remaining cards can be left alone. Each pair should be arranged in individual groups during the declaration.
  • You have to declare 8 jokers in a single group. There is no need to arrange them in any order. Every joker should be arranged in one group during the declaration.

Calculating rummy points is tricky in the 21-card rummy game. We will simplify this further for you.

Points Calculation for Marriage or Jackpot

Here is the calculation break up for your winnings:

  • 1 Upper + 1 Same Suit + 1 Lower = 100 points
  • 2 Upper + 2 Same Suit + 3 Lower = 300 points
  • 3 Upper + 3 Same Suit + 3 Lower = 500 points
  • Calculation of Points for Different Combinations of Value Cards
  • 2 Upper Jokers – 30 points
  • 1 upper Joker & 1 Lower Joker – 20 points
  • 2 Upper Jokers & 1 Lower joker – 40 points
  • 2 Same Suit Joker & 2 Lower Jokers – 60 points

How to Play 21 Cards Rummy?

How to play 21 card rummy

If you know how to play rummy with 13 cards, the 21 Cards Rummy game is easy to understand. Here's how you can play this game:


In 21 Card Rummy, arranging your cards involves forming valid sets and sequences. A valid set is a group of cards of the same rank but different suits, and a valid sequence is a group of consecutive cards of the same suit. Organize your cards into sets and sequences to declare and win the game.

21 cards rummy is one of the most engaging rummy card games; however, it is one of the most elaborate rummy games. Just like 13 cards rummy, the 21 cards variant of the game is also widely played in India on different occasions due to the entertainment it offers. Here are a few steps that you should follow to play 21 cards rummy game and understand the gameplay:


In a 21 card rummy game, there are 3 decks of 53 cards each, and it includes 3 printed jokers. A card is pulled out from the top of the closed deck and placed face-up at the bottom of that deck. This is called a wild joker.

Each player is dealt 21 cards which should be arranged in valid sequences and sets. The players can pick a card from a closed deck or open deck and discard one card to the open deck.

21 cards rummy is played in the same way as other rummy games. However, it has some important concepts like dublee, tunnela, and upper and lower jokers.


Point Calculation for cards

Each card in 21 card rummy carries points as follows:

  • J, Q, K, and A carry 10 points each.
  • The number cards have the same value as their face value. So, 9 of any suit carries 9 points.
  • Joker cards carry zero points.

Points calculation for unmatched cards (Deadwood)

  • The cards that are not melded in any group are called deadwood.
  • The total points for each player will be calculated based on the number of unmatched cards.

Points for valid sets and sequences

  • A player gets zero points for the round if they combine all the cards at hand into valid sets and sequences.
  • The player declaring with a valid hand scores zero points.
  • A valid meld contains at least three pure sequences (without a joker) and an impure sequence (with a joker.)

Drop Option

Drop is crucial within the game if you want to play safe. Every player is offered an option to drop out of the game after every round. The type of drop depends on whether the player has picked a card from the open or closed deck. There are two types of drops available:

  • First drop: When a player drops from the game during the very first round without picking up any card from any pile, it is called the first drop. It makes the player lose 30 points.
  • Middle drop: When a player drops from the game after picking up one or more cards from the discard or draw pile, that player loses 70 points.


The player with a positive score at the end of the game will receive the prize money. The prize money is determined using the following formula:

Prize money=Positive score of the winner×Point value−Rake amount applicable

For instance, if there are 5 players in a ₹3 per point 21 cards rummy game, and player number 1 successfully declares, the other players have -5, -15, -25, and -35 points.

In this example, the winning player's prize is calculated as follows: 3×(5+15+25+35)=₹2253×(5+15+25+35)=₹225. This amount will be credited to the winner's account after deducting the rake according to Classic Rummy’s rules.

This whole calculation seems weird. How can 2253 x 5+15+25+35 = 225??? Also, what is classic rummy doing in MPL content??

Winning amount = Positive score of the winner x the point value – Rake amount applicable

Example: In case 5 players are playing a game with ₹ 3 per point 21 cards rummy game and player number 1 makes a valid show, then the other players get -5, -15, -25, and -35 points.

In this case, the winning player will get a prize that will be calculated as follows: 3 x (5+15+25+35) = ₹ 240- (Rake amount). The rake amount depends on the platform that the player has chosen. After deducting the rake, this amount will be credited to the winner's account.

Non-Winning Player

Here are the rules listed to calculate non-winning players. When the game ends, the player's points are calculated by adding the value of unmelded cards. However, there might be some changes based on a few circumstances:

  • If there are no pure sequences, then all the cards’ value is counted.
  • If there are only 2 pure sequences against the rule of three, the melded sequences will be considered before calculating the score.
  • If there are 3 pure sequences, the sequences and sets melded with jokers will also be considered before calculating the lost points.
  • When all this is done, the ‘points won’ section of every player is filled up. If the points in that list are negative, the player is a losing player. If those points are positive, then the player is winning.

Card Arrangement Strategies

Minimum Three (3) Pure Sequences

rummy 21 card arrangment

  • A valid declaration can be made with at least three pure sequences, each with a minimum of three cards. The remaining cards can be arranged in sets or sequences. Tunnela is also considered a pure sequence.

Minimum Three (3) Tunnelas

  • According to 21 cards Rummy rules, declare a minimum of three tunnelas; the remaining cards do not need a specific order. They can either be ungrouped or grouped into a single set.

    Minimum Eight (8) Dublees
  • Declare at least eight dublees; the remaining cards do not need a specific order. Each pair of dublees should be arranged in individual groups during the declaration as specified in the 21 cards rummy rules.

Minimum 8 Jokers

  • Declare eight jokers in a single group; the remaining cards do not need a specific order.

Understanding Points in 21 Card Rummy

Each card carries certain points, which are discussed below:

  • J, Q, K, and A of any suit carry 10 points each.
  • The number cards have the same value as their face value. So, 9 of any suit carries 9 points.
  • Joker cards have zero points.
  • As discussed earlier, once any player on the table makes a valid declaration, that player wins the game. Once it is done, the scores for all the other players are calculated in the following manner:
  • If a player goes for the first drop, he/she loses 30 points.
  • If a player goes for a middle drop, he/she loses 70 points.
  • The player who makes a valid declaration gets a score that is the sum of the scores of all losing players.
  • The player who wins the game gets positive points in the ‘points won’ section.

Winning Strategies

There are many tips and tricks that you can apply while you are playing 21 card rummy:

  1. Understanding the rules: The 21 card rummy game has some specific rules that you have to understand to make a valid declaration. There are certain terms like tunnelas, dublees, etc., to make the game simple and give more choices for forming certain combinations.
  2. Arranging the cards: Immediately after the dealer deals the cards, the essential thing is to arrange the cards that will make the combinations. This will give you an idea of which card to keep and what to discard.
  3. Creating pure sequences as soon as possible: The first step to form a valid declaration is to make pure sequences as soon as you get the cards.
  4. Keep the middle cards in your hand: Middle cards help create combinations easily. For, e.g., you have a 7, which can be melded as 5, 6, 7 or 7, 8, 9. These will help create quicker combinations.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Skipping Practice Games

For both beginners and experienced players, practicing is crucial. It helps you understand the game better, learn strategies, and learn tips by playing against real players. Skipping practice and jumping straight into playing for real money can lead to losing streaks and significant losses. Ensure you play enough practice games before entering cash contests or tournaments.

Holding High-Value Cards

If you're dealt many high-value cards in rummy, like A’s, Ks, Qs, and Js, and they remain ungrouped, discard them early to avoid penalties. High-value cards carry 10 points each, and keeping them ungrouped can lead to substantial losses.

Wild Jokers

Don't discard wild jokers quickly; they play a crucial role in the game. Mistakenly discarding a wild joker reduces your chances of forming required combinations quickly. Take a closer look at your cards before discarding them to avoid this common mistake.

Making Invalid Declarations

Rushing to declare your cards without proper inspection can lead to an invalid declaration, incurring an 80-point penalty – the highest in a rummy game. Thoroughly check your cards before declaring to avoid this costly mistake.

Ignoring Opponent's Moves

Multitasking is essential in rummy. Keep a close eye not only on your cards but also on your opponent's moves. Observing their strategy helps you anticipate their moves and avoid falling for their tricks. Ignoring your opponent's moves can lead to losing the game

13 Card Rummy vs 21 Card Rummy

Both games are similar, but they have a different way of playing. The big difference between the two is the number of cards dealt to each player. In 13 card rummy, players are dealt 13 cards, while in 21-card rummy, players are dealt 21 cards.

So, 13-card rummy uses fewer decks than 21-card rummy. Making combinations in 13-card rummy is easier as compared to the 21-card rummy game due to fewer pure sequence requirements. Moreover, the terms used in 21-card rummy are different and take time to remember.

Therefore, if you are a beginner, starting with the 13-card rummy game is easier.


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