My Grandma taught me to play Rummy when I was a little girl. We used to play for hours. She always made hot tea for me (she called it little girls tea as it was more cream and sugar than tea). She also sat a tin of Danish Butter Cookies on the table for us to eat while we played.
Grandma taught me to play Rummy. I taught my children and my husband to play.
In order for you to play Rummy, you will need a playing surface (like a table). You will need one or two decks of standard playing cards (for 3 or more people you definitely need 2 decks). You will need a piece of paper and something to write with (so someone can keep score).
Points are Assigned to Cards and Game Play is as Follows;
- 30 Points for The Queen of Spades – She is called the Dirty Dora (and my apologies to everyone who is named Dora, this was not my idea).
- 15 Points for each Ace
- 10 Points for each King
- 10 Points for The Queen of Hearts
- 10 Points for The Queen of Clubs
- 10 Points for The Queen of Diamonds
- 10 Points for each Jack
- 10 Points for each 10
- 5 Points for each 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
- 15 Points for going out – Going out is what it’s called when during a players turn, they place any cards in their hand on the playing surface, until they don’t have any cards left in their hand.
- When a Joker is caught in your hand, when any other player goes out, this counts as 50 points against you. You must deduct 50 points from your score.
When someone goes out, all players count the cards they placed on the table then subtract the count of the cards left in their hand The person who goes out, has no cards left in their hand.
If the count on the table isn’t enough to cover the cards left in a players hand, then that players score on the tally sheet goes backwards.
How Many Players and How Many Decks
Rummy is a game for 2 to 6 players.
If you have more than 2 players, I recommend you use 2 decks shuffled together, but even 2 players may want to use 2 decks.
For the purpose of teaching, we will say there are 2 players playing Rummy today (me and you).
Decide who is to be the 1st dealer. Because I am teaching you today, I’ll be 1st dealer.
I shuffle the cards (some people like to have the non dealer cut the deck before the cards are dealt).
I deal out 8 cards to each you and me.
I will place the remainder of the deck (the draw pile), in the center of the playing surface (we’re using a table today).
If there are 3 or more players, the person to the left of the dealer is 1st to draw a card.
You get to go 1st (not me, because I’m the dealer).
You begin by drawing 1 card from the draw pile.
You look at your cards. You started with 8 cards but now you have 9.
At this point you may choose to either play cards, placing them on the table for points, or you may simply choose to discard one of your 9 cards.
As gameplay happens, cards that are unwanted will be discarded face up. They will be stacked on top of each other, but so each can still be seen.
If you do play any cards on the table for points, please know that no player may place all of their cards on the table on their 1st turn.
Plays that can be made at this point are called sets and / or runs.
These are examples of a set, 3 or 4 of any card type (like all 3s, all 8s, all Aces).
This is an example of a run (3 or more cards of the same suit that run from top to bottom in order). As game play continues, you may wind up with many or all 13 cards in a run of a suit.
There are times when you might not have any sets or runs in your hand. If you can’t place cards down for points, you must discard a card and end your turn.
If you do see sets or runs of cards in your hand, you will need to decide if you want to place some on the table for points, or not, (you don’t have to play anything even if you can, if you don’t want to).
To place a set or a run of cards down on the table, a player must have a minimum of 3 cards to do so.
During game play, you could see a run laying on the table, of all, of any of the 4 suits (example; A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 of Spades).
Lets say you played the Ace, King, Queen and Jack of Diamonds and then discarded a card, ending your turn.
Now, on my turn, I may choose to draw a card from the face down draw pile or I may choose to take the card you discarded.
Lets say I drew from the draw pile. I drew a 10 of Diamonds. I am allowed to place it down for 10 points for me, (I get to place it because it continues your Diamond run).
I get the 10 points for the play, but you don’t get anything for it. I now discard a card, ending my turn.
On your turn, first you either draw from the draw pile or you pick up a card from the discard pile.
Next, you look at your hand. if you have the 9 of Diamonds or the 9 and the 8 of Diamonds, you can place them on top of your Jack of Diamonds, further continuing the run of Diamonds. You gets 5 points for playing the 9 or 10 points for playing the 9 and 8 of Diamonds.
Now you discard a card and end your turn.
So far, neither of us has picked up any cards from the discard pile. If a card is desired from there, you must pick it up and all of the cards that follow below it.
Lets say I want the 7 of diamonds. To start my turn, I can pick up the 7, but I must also take all of the cards that follow it, (I must take the 6 of Clubs, the Ace of Hearts and the King of Clubs.
Whichever card I pick up from the top, I must be able to play it for points on my side in this turn.
If you had played the 9 and the 8 of Diamonds earlier, I could play the 7 now. I will discard one of any of the cards I choose to in my hand and end my turn.
Now it’s your turn. Lets say you had a Joker in your hand and you wanted to make a run with the Queen of Spades, but you don’t have the King. You can substitute a Joker for the card you don’t have and place your run on the table.
On your turn, if you have more cards you can play, you may. Remember, you don’t have to play anything from your hand, even if you could.
You discard and end your turn.
On my turn, I draw from the draw pile. You didn’t know this, but I already had the King of Spades in my hand. Now I hand you the King and I get to take the Joker from you, to use when I want to.
There is some risk if I choose to hold on to the Joker for some future turn because if you go out, I would be stuck with it in my hand and it is 50 points against me in my hand.
Play continues back and forth until one of us goes out.
You may go out by placing all but one of the cards remaining in your hand down for points and either discarding the one remaining card or you don’t have to discard any remaining card, (providing you can play all that you have in your hand on the table).
You will see during game play that a person could have as few as 1 card left in their hand, or a whole bunch. In the game seen below, you will see the player on the right has only 3 cards in their hand and the player down in front has 10.
Lets say you go out before me. You get the count of all of the cards you placed down on the table (your sets and runs), plus an extra 15 points for going out.
I would have to count all of the cards I had placed down on the table, then subtract the count of the cards I still held in my hand when you went out.
After a player goes out, points for the hand that was just played are calculated and written down.
It isn’t likely that any player will reach 500 points on the 1st hand so the deck is shuffled and now it is your turn to be dealer.
The game is over when you or I reach 500 or more points and goes out. A player must go out and reach or be over 500 points to win. A player could have 600 points and not win if they haven’t been able to go out after they reached 500 points. The other player could go out and win, as long as they reach 500 or more and go out before them.
Well, I hope you had fun playing the game of Rummy with me today.
If you would like to learn how to play hundreds of other card games, I’d suggest you buy a copy of Hoyle’s Encyclopedia of Card Games written by Walter B. Gibson.
I own a copy. You can read about it in my post titled, “Cards and Hoyle“.
Please always remember, the most important part of any card game is as follows;