How to Play - Basic Rules

An Introduction to the Basic Rules of the Rummy Card Games

Generally, all of the Rummy card games are designed to be played by two or four players. The different varieties or the games will use traditional decks of playing cards, and some rely on “tiles” as well, which are known as Rummikub.

Regardless of the variety of game to be played, the first step is to provide players with their set number of cards. The players will all try to dispose of these cards, which is done most often through the process of “melding”.

Melding is done through the creation of “runs” or “sets”, and both are laid upon the gaming table by the player.

  • A run is built from the use of cards in the same suit, and must contain three more cards, in order. An example of a run is the seven, eight, nine, and ten of hearts.
  • A set is built on cards of the same rank. For instance, a player holding the two of hearts, clubs, and diamonds could meld them to the table.
At no time can any card be used for more than a single run or a single set. For instance, let’s say that you are holding three cards that are all the number two. You could lay them down as a set, but it you were holding the two of hearts, along with the three, four, and five in the same suit you might want to do this instead because it is more cards and is a legal run.

To play a round of Rummy requires that each player gets a turn. A turn traditionally demands that a player:
  • Takes a card from the deck or from the discard pile; and
  • Chooses a card from their existing hand to place into the discard pile.
Why is it necessary to discard a card? This allows the most competitive and yet efficient use of the entire deck.

How do you know you have won? If you are the first player to discard of all of their cards in an accepted manner, then you win the game. The remaining players have to then tally the value of their cards to determine what part, if any, of the prize they win.

If the game is part of a tournament, however, the winner might be determined by being the final remaining player instead. This is achieved by remaining below the “target” point score, and this sort of tournament game is often referred to as “elimination” because players must leave the game when their point score exceeds the target amount.

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