Rummy is a popular card game, of which the goal is to get rid of your cards as quickly as possible by forming combinations on the table. The first player who has no card left in his hand is the winner of the round.
One play with two, three or four decks of 52 cards depending on the number of players (two decks with 2 to 4 players, three decks with 5 or 6 players, four decks with 7 or 8 players). The dealer deals 14 cards to each player, puts the rest of the pile as stock, then each player play in turn.
When it's your turn:
- Your turn starts by drawing a card in the stock or the discard pile
- Then you can put new combinations on the table (also known as melding), or extend those which already exisg (also called laying off) (see further down)
- Finally your turn ends by discarding one card in the discard pile.
You don't have to keep a final card to discard if you finish the round (by playing all your cards).
When you have three or less cards in your hand, you must announce it so that other players are aware of it (this is automatic on the playroom)
The main objective of the game is to put combinations on the table, which exists two general types of: runs also known as sequences or straights, and sets sometimes also called books.
Each combination gives you a certain number of points depending on the cards composing it. However, once on the table, a combination does no longer belong to you and any player having adequate cards can extend it. Extending a combination consists of adding cards at the beginning or at the end of it. This also give you points.
Runs or sequences
A run or sequence is a serie of at least three consecutive cards of the same suit. For example, 9, 10 and jack of spade. An ace can wheither follow a king or come before a 2. Runs queen, king and ace as well as ace, 2, 3 are both accepted.
Sets or books
A set is a serie of at least three cards of the same rank but of different suits. Each suit can only be represented once in a set, they can thus never contain more than 4 cards. For example, 3 of heart, 3 of spade and 3 of club.
A set of 4 cards is sometimes said to be closed, meaning that it isn't possible to extend it more. Terms three of a kind and four of a kind originating from poker sometimes also appear to designate sets of respectively 3 and 4 cards.
A joker is a special card that can replace any other card of will. It can be used to create an incomplete run or set of which one hasn't the third required card, but you aren't supposed to use it to extend an existing combination which is already on the table.
Once on the table, a joker is identical to the card it replaces. There could be at most only one single joker by combination.
The player owning the card equivalent to the joker can take it and put his card to its place. The joker so taken back must be played on the same turn to form a new combination. It can then replace any other new card different than the previous one, as the player's will. If the player who took back a joker didn't play it immediately, he incures 300 penality points. A joker can be taken back only if there isn't any ambiguity on the card it replaces.
For example, Alice puts the run queen of spade, king of spade and joker. If Bob has the ace of spade, he can take the joker. If in his hand he had a 7 of heart and a 7 of diamond, then he can create a new set with these three cards.
Now, if Cedric has a 7 of club, he can't take the joker immediately because there is an ambiguity (the joker can wheither replace a 7 of club or a 7 of spade). He can put his 7 of club to extend the set, but the 7 of spade will be then needed in order to effectivly take the joker.
The discard is the pile of cards that players decide to junk at the end of their turn. When the stock pile is exhausted, the discard pile is shuffled to make a new stock, but that's quite rare.
In most rummy variants, at the beginning of his turn, a player can decide to take the first card of the discard pile (the one junked last) instead of draw in the stock. He should normally use the card taken immediately to create or extend combinations on the table, but it's not an obligation. Some variants allow to take more than one card in the discard, or disallow it alltogether (see further down under variants).
The first meld consists in one or more combination which sum up to a defined minimum of points, from 30 to 80 depending on variants, 40 or 50 in average. Until you are unable to meld enough combinations reaching the required total during the same turn, it isn't possible to actually intervene in the game by extending existing combinations. It is also forbidden to take cards in the discard instead of drawing in stock.
Therefore, at the beginning of the game, it is only possible to draw and discard while waiting to make your initial meld. It is often said to enter in the game when doing so, because all restrictions on melding and laying off are then gone once it's done. From that moment on, you can meld any single combination or lay off anywhere.
Each card that become part of a combination is worth a certain number of points to its owner. However, once a card is on the table, it no longer belong to anyone.
Points are traditionnally counted aht the end of the round, and different intricated ways of disposing cards are used to remember who did what. ON the playroom, everything is automatically scored as the game is going on (points are immediately marked as cards are played).
- Cards from 2 to 9 are worth 5 points
- 10 and figures are worth 10 points
- An ace is worth 5 points if it comes before a 2 and 15 points if it follows a king.
- In a set, an ace is always worth 15 points
- A joker is worth the same as the card it replaces
A the end of a round, the winner also gets all the points of all the cards other players had still in hand. IN that case, a joker is worth 20 points and an ace always 15.
A 100 points bonus is given if the winner ends the round while no other player yet melded.
If the winner enter in the game and play all his hand at once during the same turn finishing the round, he is said to have made rummy and gets a bonus of 200 points. If he does so by using only his own hand, meaning without laying off, then the bonus become 300 points.
This bonus is cumulable with the previous one ! If a player makes rummy while nobody else melded, he can have a total bonus of 300 or 400 points.
Variants regarding the discard
There exists several variants regarding the discard
- No discard: there is no discard at all, and players even don't have to discard a card at the end of their turn. This often makes the game easier.
- Unidirectional discard: you must discard at the end of your turn, but it isn't possible to take back cards from the discard pile. In other words, discarded cards become again available only when the stock is exhausted. This makes the game less interesting,but easier.
- Single discard: it's the most common variant, which allows players to take the top card of the discard pile if it can be reused immediately.
- Multi discard: in this variant, a player can take multiple cards from the discard if he wishes to do so. If he targets a particular card, he has also to take all cards on top of it. With this variant, the game becomes more tactical, but the interest to try doing rummy decreases slightly.
Variants on scoring
The playroom proposes two different ways of counting points:
- Normal mode: it's the one explained above as default rule
- Traditional mode: in this mode, points aren't longer rounded to a 5 units basis. Cards from 2 to 9 are worth their face value, figures always 10, and aces 1 or 11. Some players think that default counting by 5 points is a bad simplification, and thus prefer this mode.
In this mode, the goal is to make as few points as possible. The player finishing the round takes no point, while his opponents take points corresponding to the cards they kept in hand. Combinations melded and layed off don't give any point, the objective is mostly to get rid of your cards as fast as possible.
As in games like uno or dominos, players who reach a certain limit are out of the game, the final winner is the last one still in game with the fewest number of points.
Finish the round by doing rummy allows to double points taken by the opponents. Doing it by using only one's own hand (no lay off) allows to triple it, and if it happens while nobody else melded, it becomes even quadruple.
Manipulation of already melded combinations
This variant allows to manipulate already melded combinations, by splitting, joining or moving cards from their ends, with the aim to create new combinations. For example, if you have a 4 of heart and a 4 of club in your hand, and if there is a run 4, 5, 6 and 7 of diamond on the table, you could take the 4 of diamond from the sequence to make a new set of 4. More subtle, if you own a 8 of spadd, and if there is already 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 of spade on the table, then you could split this later run into 6, 7 and 8 on one hand and 8, 9, 10 on the other hand, placing your 8 allong the way.
The cards that you remove from combinations that way go temporarily back to your hand, but they have to return on the table during the turn. Not replaying cards that have been taken from the table before the end of the turn, or leaving combinations on the table in a incoherent state, exactly like unplayed just taken jokers, give 300 penality points to the offending player.
When taking cards from the table, their value in points is temporarily deducted from your score. Thus, taking a card from a combination and putting it right away onto another one without playing any card of your hand wont give you any point, while the set of 4 of the above example would finally give you 10 points (not 15) because you only played two new cards.
Note that it is particularely easy to make a misstake and become obliged to pay the heavy penalty. Be careful and well prepare your move before actually doing it ! Attention also to the fact that if you remove an ace from a place where it is worth 15 points and that you put it at another place where it is worth only 5, you are going to lose 10 points.
This variant introduces a new type of combination, identities. An identity is a combination composed of three or more copies of an exact same card. When this kind of combination is allowed, one always play with 4 decks of 52 cards regardless of the number of players.
Such a combination is hard to obtain,that's why the value of the cards inside it is slightly different:
- From 2 to 9: 15 points instead of 5, or from 12 to 19 in traditional mode
- From 10 to king: 20 points instead of 10
- Aces: 25 points instead of 15, or 21 instead of 11 in traditional mode
Keyboard shortcuts summary
- C: view combinations on the table
- N: meld a new combination
- Del: junk a card
- Space: draw a card
- S: view scores
- D: view discard pile contents
- Shift+D: draw in discard pile
- T: tell whose turn it is
- R: remind defined rules
- Shift+C: sort cards by suit
- Shift+H: sort cards by rank
- Shift+M: disable card sorting
To manipulate combinations on the table, press C to open the list of combinations and then use the context menu (application key or right mouse click).