How to play Rummy?

Immensely popular across Indian households, card rooms and casinos, Rummy has always been a part of Indian tradition and culture. Hardly any get-together or a celebration goes by without a game of Rummy. The basic rules of this most exciting card game are plain & simple: All one needs to do is arrange all the 13 cards in hand to form at least two sequences, out of these, one has to be a pure sequence. The remaining cards could be arranged in valid sequences and/or sets.

  1. Players & Decks –
  • 13 card Indian Rummy is usually played with 2 to 6 players.
  • A complete set of cards called a deck of cards has 53 cards - 4 Suits with 13 cards each + 1 Printed Joker.
  • Online Rummy is played with 2 decks of cards

  1. Playing cards –
  • Rank of the cards in each suit when arranged from low to high be Ace-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-Jack-Queen-King-Ace.
  • The Dual nature of Ace card can be made use when making the sequences.

  1. Dealing the cards –
  • To start with, 13 cards are dealt face down to all the players.
  • Stock Pile - The remaining cards are placed face down on the table to become the stock pile.
  • Discard Pile - The top card of the stock pile is turned face up and that starts the discard pile.
  • Wild Joker - A card is randomly selected and can be used in place of any other card. For example:
  • If 4 ♥ is a Wild joker, selected randomly, then 4 of any suit(4♦ 4♦ 4♠) can be used as the Wild joker. For example: A♦ K♦ 4♠ J♦.

  1. Grouping the cards –
  • The primary objective of the Rummy game is to meld all the cards in hand to form Sets and Sequences, as the game is played.
  • Sets - A group of 3 or 4 cards of the same rank in different suits. Correct Example - K♥ K♣ K♦ K♠. Incorrect Example - K♣ K♦ K♠ K♣.
  • Sequence - A group of 3 or more consecutive cards of the same suit. Correct Example - 2♠ 3♠ 4♠ 5♠ 6♠. Incorrect Example - 8♣ 7♠ 6♠ 5♠ 4♠.

  1. Draw and Discard card in Turns –
  • Turns – The turn by turn play of Indian Rummy makes it resemble a lot like Gin Rummy. Each player gets a random open card generated from one pack. The player with the highest value card gets the first turn and the one with the lowest value card gets the last turn.
  • Draw – Each player must draw one card either from the Discard Pile or the Stock Pile and add the card to the 13 cards of his/her hand. If you draw a card from the Discard Pile which is face up, your opponents will know what card you have taken. But if you draw from Stock Pile, you can add the card to your hand without showing it to the other players.
  • Discard – At the end of your turn, one card must be discarded from your hand and placed on top of the discard pile face up. Examine your cards and decide which one is the card you need least. It could be a card that is probably not in sequence with other cards or remains being the only one of its kind making it impossible to form either a Set/Sequence.

  1. Pure Sequence first –
  • Forming a Pure Sequence first can reduce the burden of Points.
  • Pure Sequence – A sequence that is formed without the use of any Joker (printed or wild). For example: K♠ is the chosen wild joker. K♥ K♣ K♦ + 2 Printed Jokers should not be made use when a Pure Sequence is formed. Correct Example - A♠ K♠ Q♠ J♠. Incorrect Example - A♠ K♠ Q♠ K♣.

  1. Form another sequence –
  • The melding of Sequences is reasonably more difficult than the melding of Sets.
  • Impure Sequence – A sequence that is formed using 1 or more Joker (printed or wild). For example: K♠ is the chosen wild K♥ K♣ K♦ + 2 Printed Jokers can be made use when an Impure Sequence is formed. Correct Example - A♠ K♥ K♣.

  1. Discard high-value cards –
  • Rummy is a game entirely based on Points. Discard high-value cards that may not be useful to meld Sets and Sequences.
  • This step can help reduce your points if your opponent finishes the game before you do.
  • Caution must be exercised when discarding. In case the opponent takes a high card from the open deck, it is better to hold the high cards. For example: Q♠ is picked by the opponent. If in case, the player holds A♠ already, it is better to hold the K♠ card to avoid the possibility of the opponent forming A♠ K♠ Q♠

  1. Try Middle card tactics –
  • It is easier to form sequences easily with middle cards like 5 & 6 to make sequences unlike high-value cards like Kings, Queens etc. For example: you have more options to form sequences with middle cards like 5 or 6 to make sequences with other cards like 3, 4, 7 and 8.
  • Do not discard these cards at an initial stage of the game. Hold on to the middle card for the long course of the game.

  1. Wisely use Joker –
  • At times when the player finds it difficult to meld the cards because of the missing cards, Joker can play a vital role by substituting the missing cards.
  • When someone declares, points can be reduced by substituting the missing high cards with Joker.
  • Sets and Sequences can be rearranged in the best suitable combination with Jokers to reduce the points while showing the hand.

  1. Opponent Tracking –
  • Guess what your opponent has got in his hand by observing the cards he or she is discarding and the cards he/she is picking up from the discard pile.
  • If you know what your opponent needs from you, you can hold that particular card.
  • An idea on whether an opponent is about to finish the game and what cards they need can stop you feeding them with those cards.

  1. Confuse your opponent –
  • Rummy Bluffing is one of the smart rummy moves to confuse the opponent into thinking that you are about to win the game.
  • Try to take the cards more often from the open deck might let your opponent think that you may finish the game anytime soon.
  • Discarding low-value cards first can also make a false impression that you are about to finish the game.

  1. Take a Drop –
  • Always choose to drop out of the game if you haven’t got any good cards or if you are not confident enough of a win in the game.
  • This can make you lose only 20 points if you are dropping out at the beginning of the hand.