The major focus of any game of Kalooki 40 is the arranging of cards into what are known as “runs” and “sets”, or generally called “melds”:
- A run is made from cards in the same suit, and must contain three more cards, in order. An example of a run is the two, three, four, and five of hearts.
- A set is built on cards of the same rank. For instance, a player holding the six of hearts, clubs, and diamonds could meld them to the table.
Unlike many other Rummy variants, however, Kalooki 40 also allows the Jokers to remain in the deck, and these can be used to complete any run or set as well.
Players win the game by either Going Kalooki or Going Out, but it is only Going Out that prevents any penalty points from taking away the win.
All games of Kalooki 40 require that two full decks of standard playing cards, including the Jokers are put to use. The numeric cards are assigned points based on their face values. For instance, the ten of diamonds is worth ten points.
All of the face cards are all worth ten points, and the Ace cards are valued at 11 points. The Jokers are worth 15 during the game and also when they remain in the hand of a player at the end of the ring or the game.
How to Play a Game of Kalooki 40
A game of Kalooki 40 requires that the players each receive 13 cards. After dealing out the appropriate number of cards, the dealer then places the remaining cards, face down, in the center of the table. They turn the top card over and lay this next to the deck facing upwards. The pile of cards facing downward is known as the “stock pile”, and the pile with the overturned card is the “discard pile”.
During their turn each player can:
- Take a single card from the stock or discard pile;
- If the card is from the discard pile, the player is required to next lay down one or more melds (and if it is the first meld that they have placed it MUST be worth 40 or more points), or they can add to an existing one; and
- Discard a card into the discard pile.
While creating a new meld is not mandatory, taking and discarding of cards is. Interestingly, a lot of Kalooki 40 players will strategically hold melds to be used to their benefit at some point later in the game. Forming the new melds is not obligatory unless a card is taken from the discard pile, and taking and discarding cards is a mandatory part of each player’s turn.
If, at any time, the players work their way to the bottom of the stock pile, and have only two cards remaining in the deck, the dealer must shuffle the cards from the discard pile and lay them face down as the new stock pile. The final discarded card remains in place as the first in the new discard pile.
Players keep taking turns and building melds in order to bring the game to its conclusion.
All players must wait to put down their first meld until it has a total points value of 40, or more. Once they have done this they can begin using their own melds, as well as those of other players, in order to discard cards they are holding. This is defined as “building”.
The rules of building are as follows:
- Aces have a value of 11 points and are only to be used in "high runs" which means they must follow a Queen and King;
- Players can add the fourth suit to a three card set, but only if there is no Joker already in the set (no repeated suits are permitted);
- Players can add the cards to either end of a run;
- Jokers can be "released" from three card sets in exchange for the two cards of the missing suit, but it must ALSO be used elsewhere at the same time;
- Sets becomes "closed" when a player adds only a single missing suit to a set of three already holding a Joker;
- Players can release the Joker from a three card set that contains two Jokers, but this demands that the building cards are two of the missing suits;
- When runs contain a Joker, the player holding the card that can replace the Joker with it and use the Joker elsewhere on the table; and
- Melds cannot be rearranged, only built or increased.
Each player keeps taking turns and following the rules of building until someone is in a position to bring the game to a close. This is done by:
- Going Out – when a player can gradually lay down melds until all cards are disposed of, and this can be done by building on existing melds or creating new ones. When using Going Out, the player must wait until the meld is valued at 40, and then they can put it; or
- Going Kalooki – when the player is able to lay down all cards in their hand at one time
When a player Goes Kalooki, the remaining players cannot lay off any cards, and must tally their score based on their hand and existing melds.
Winning and Scoring a Game of Kalooki 40
To determine a winner requires the scoring to be done. The scoring must follow some guidelines based on the way the winner actually finished the hand. For instance:
- Going Out - automatically requires opponents to receive the total of their remaining cards in penalty points; or
- Going Kalooki - automatically demands that opponents receive the sum of their remaining cards PLUS a 25 point penalty.
If a game of Kalooki 40 has a pool it is usually distributed along a pre-set plan. Generally the winner gets 75% of the prize, and the remainder is divided between the remaining opponents. Any player who is over 100 points behind the winning score does not get a share.
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