How to Play Rummy

How to Play Rummy: A Beginners Guide To Play 13 Cards Indian Rummy

Now, if you’ve always wanted to get in on the exhilarating rummy action, but didn't know quite how to play rummy, what the game was all about, or indeed what the rules and object of the game was, then you’ve come to the right place, for we’re here to answer all these questions and more for you. After you go through this simple and easy Indian rummy guide, you would be well equipped to get right into the heart of the action, and even win. So let’s get started with this 13 card rummy guide.

The objective of the game

Put very simply and succinctly, the objective of the game of Indian rummy is to create sequences and sets from the cards you hold in your hand. (We will get into the rules of the game later on in this page.) Creating valid sequences and sets faster than any of your opponents gives you a better chance of winning the game.

Fundamentals of rummy

Before we go headlong into this guide on how to play Indian rummy, and before we get into the intricacies and nuances of the game, it’s important that you understand some basics and fundamentals of rummy first. Here they are:

  1. Rummy is a game played between anywhere from two to six players.
  2. Indian rummy is played with 2 deck of cards with 13 cards distributed to each player.
  3. The required sequence of cards, as prescribed by the rules of the game should follow this strict order or 'sequence' - Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen and King.
  4. The value of ‘Face cards’ i.e., the Jack, the King and the Queen is 10 points each.
  5. The value of an Ace card is 10 points when making sets.
  6. Number cards are worth the same number of points as the number printed on them.
    For example:
    i. 6♥ is worth 6 points
    ii. 7♦ is worth 7 points
  7. When forming sequences, an Ace can be considered to be ‘1’ or a face card.
  8. A sequence is a group of three or four consecutive cards (as described in point 2), but these cards should all be from the same suit.
    Examples of valid sequences:
    i. 6♦ 7♦ 8♦ 9♦
    ii. Ace♣ King♣ Queen♣ Jack♣
  9. A set is made up of three or four cards from different suits, but of the same value or ‘face card’.
  10. Examples of valid sets:
    i. 8♦ 8♥ 8♣ 8♠
    ii. Queen♣ Queen♦ Queen♥
  11. Jokers: When players play rummy with Jokers, a joker can be used as a substitute for another card and the players can use them in place of any other cards to form a set or sequence.
  12. There are two kinds of Jokers:
    i. Wild Joker: This is simply a random card chosen by the players from the closed deck, and this card is deemed to be the Wild Joker for that game.
    ii. Printed Jokers: Jokers that have ‘Joker’ printed on them from the packs of cards
  13. Example of a valid sequence with a Joker:
    5♦ 6♦ Joker 8♦ (Joker used in place of 7♦) Example of a valid set with a Joker: 6♣ 6♦ 6♥ Joker (Joker used in place of 6♠) 1. Please note that these rules apply to both Printed and Wild jokers
    2. Jokers cannot be used to make Impure sequences, but not to form Pure sequences
  14. The 'dealer',i.e., the player responsible for dealing the cards is chosen at random at the start of the game, and each player will be given a chance to be the dealer for each subsequent game.

How to play rummy

Now that we’ve clearly understand the fundamentals of the game, let’s get into the rules of the game and tell you how to play rummy! So here we go!

  1. To begin with, the packs of cards are shuffled (number of packs is determined by the number of players involved - look at point ‘b’ above).
  2. The dealer then proceeds to deal 13 cards to each player in a cyclical motion.
  3. A ‘closed deck’, consisting of the remaining cards after all players are dealt their 13 cards each, is placed face down on the table and known as the closed deck.
  4. The game of rummy begins with one card placed in the open deck and a card selected at random as the designated or selected wild joker for the game. The cards in the open deck are placed ‘face up’.
  5. Once the cards are dealt, each player in the prescribed order, can either draw a card (pick up a card) from the closed deck and discard one of their own cards to the open deck.
  6. The player drawing the card can choose one from the open deck, where he can see the card he’s drawing, or one from the closed deck where the cards are turned face down
  7. Every time a player picks a card from either the closed or open deck, he must discard one of the cards in his hand to the open deck.
  8. This ‘drawing and dropping’ of cards continues, till a player forms valid sequences and sets and ‘shows’ or ‘declares’ this to the other players by showing all the other players his sequences and sets. After this, the declarer should wait for the other players to do the same. A valid declaration or show garners zero points
  9. For each Rummy game, a random card selected from the deck serves as the Card Joker. If by chance a printed Joker is picked during the process then the Ace cards of all the suits serve as the Card Joker for that particular game.
    • A valid declaration or show should consist of two sequences (of which one must be pure) and remaining cards can be arranged as sets.
    • A valid sequence of not less than three cards from the same suit, but without a joker - referred to a Pure Sequence.
    • A valid sequence of not less than three cards from the same suit with or without a joker or jokers. If jokers are used, this is referred to as an Impure sequence.

How points are calculated

  1. The aim of the game is to get fewer points than all of your opponents, or no points at all.
  2. The winner of the game is the player who has no points or zero points. Therefore, a valid declaration or show garners zero points.
  3. The second player to declare with a valid declaration will earn the player two points.
  4. As previously explained, all the face cards and Aces will earn a player 10 points. Jokers of both kinds (Wild and Printed) are worth zero points, while all the other cards will earn a player the same number of points as the number printed on the card.
  5. If a losing player does not have two sequences including a Pure sequence, then all of his or her cards are added up to determine his or her score - the maximum points in this case is capped at 80.
  6. However, if a losing player does have two or more sequences, as well as a pure sequence, only the cards out of the sequences will be considered when his or her score is being calculated.
  7. A wrong declaration or invalid show will earn player 80 points.
  8. If a player is dissatisfied with the cards he or she is dealt, they can choose to ‘drop’, that is, concede the game at their first turn before drawing a card. This action is called a First Drop and will earn a player 20 points, and he or she ‘drops out’ and does not participate in that game.
  9. Any drop after the First Drop is called a Middle Drop and will earn a player 40 points.
  10. A player will get 40 points if they leave the table after drawing a card from the closed deck, and this action will considered as a Middle Drop. However, if the player drops out without seeing the card, it will considered as a First Drop and will only earn them 20 points.
  11. Points for dropping based on the type of rummy:
    101 Pool Rummy:
    • 20 points prior to drawing a card known as the ‘First Drop’.
    • 40 Points after drawing a card known as a ‘Middle Drop

    201 Pool Rummy
    • 25 points prior to drawing a card known as the ‘First Drop’.
    • 50 Points after drawing a card known as a ‘Middle Drop

Types of sequences

Any guide on how to play 13 cards rummy online must include a clear explanation as to what a sequence is. As mentioned before, there are two types of sequences, they are Pure Sequences and Impure sequences.

Pure sequences: : A consecutive group of three or more cards of the same suit, created without the use of a printed or wild joker. Here are examples of Pure Sequences:

Example 1:
7♠ 8♠ 9♠

As you will notice from Example 1 above, there is a consecutive valid sequence formed by cards of the same suit. Also, the sequence does not contain a joker

Example 2:
Ace♣ 2♣ 3♣ 4♣

From Example 2, you will notice once again that there is a valid sequence of cards from the same suit as dictated by the rules of the game, also no jokers are used. In this example you will also notice that sequences need not be only three cards, but could involve four cards as well.

Impure sequences: This sequence can be defined as a group of consecutive cards of the same suit, but which is only possible with the use of a joker (printed or wild joker). Let’s look at a couple of examples of Impure sequences.

Example 1
4♦ 5♦ Joker 7♦

In Example 1, you will notice that either the printed joker or the wild joker has been used to form a valid sequence of the Diamond suit beginning from 4♦ and extending upwards to the 7♦. The joker has been used in place of the missing 6♦.

Example 2
King♠ Queen♠ Jack♠ Joker

In Example 2, the joker has been used to complete a sequence from the Spades suit, standing in place of the 10♠.

Valid Sets

A how to play card rummy guide must also clearly explain what a valid rummy set is. Therefore, a set can be defined as a group of cards (Three or Four cards) of the same value but from different suits. A valid set however, should not contain two or more cards of the same suit. Please note however that a set should not have more than four cards, and a joker can be used to complete a valid set.

Example 1

King♣ King♦ King♥ King♠

In Example 1, you will notice that the cards used to form the set are of the same face value or printed value i.e., the King. You will also notice that each card in this set belongs to different suits.

Example 2

Joker 7♦ 7♥ 7♠

In Example 2, a joker has been used in place of the 7♣ to complete a valid set of four cards. You will notice that the cards in the set have the same face value, but belong to different suits.

Invalid Sets

A set is said to be invalid if two or more cards of the same suit are used to form the set of three or four cards. Let’s look at examples of invalid sets:

Example 1

4♠ 4♦ 4♥ 4♠

From Example 1, you can clearly see that even though the set has been formed by cards of the same face value or the same printed value, the card of the ♠ suit has been used twice, and therefore it is considered as an invalid set.

Example 2

Queen♣ Queen♦ Queen♥ Queen♦

In Example 2, again you will notice that even though each card is of the same face value, there are two cards from the ♦ suit. This therefore, cannot be considered as a valid set.

Valid declaration

A declaration is a pivotal and culminating and crucial part of the game when you play rummy for cash or otherwise. Therefore, it’s important to know what a valid declaration or show is with examples. A valid declaration should use all 13 cards and must contain:

● Two valid sequences
● Two valid sets
● At least one Pure sequence

Examples of valid declarations

Example 1

Ace♦ 2♦ 3♦ 4♦ - Valid sequence 1

5♠ 6♠ 7♠ - Valid sequence 2

9♦ 9♠ 9♣ - Valid set 1

Queen♠ Queen♦ Queen♣ - Valid set 2

From Example 1, you will notice that all 13 cards have been used to form two valid sequences and two valid sets. Also, there is at least one Pure sequence. Therefore, this is a valid declaration.

Example 2

3♥ 4♥ 5♥ 6♥ - Valid pure sequence 1

Jack♣ 7♥ Jack♥ - Valid sequence 2 where 7♥ is the wild joker (Impure sequence)

Queen♠ Queen♦ Queen♣ - Valid set 1

9♠ 9♥ 9♣ - Valid set 2

In Example 2, there are two clear sequences, one pure sequence, and the second one an Impure sequence which uses the joker to complete the sequence. You will also notice that there are two valid sets as well - all of this ensures that this is a valid declaration

Invalid or wrong declarations

An invalid declaration is one where at least one of the sequences and/or sets are invalid and/or does not contain the correct number of sequences and sets. Let’s look at some examples:

Example 1 - Where 9♥ is the wild joker

A♥ 2♥ 3♥ 4♥ - Valid pure sequence

5♣ 5♠ 9♥ - Valid set 1 with wild joker

6♦ 6♠ 6♥ - Valid set 2

7♦ 7♣ 7♥ - Valid set 3

In Example 1, all the sequences and sets are valid, however, there is only one sequence. In order to make a valid declaration, there must be at least two valid sequences.

Example 2 - Where an invalid set is used

A♣ 2♣ 3♣ 4♣ - Valid sequence 1

5♣ 6♣ 7♣ - Valid sequence 2

7♥ 7♦ 7♥ - Invalid set

9♦ 9♠ 9♣ - Valid set 2

From Example 2, you will notice that 7♥ has been used twice to form an invalid set. As such, this invalidates the who declaration, even though the other criteria has been met. With that, we complete this rummy guide. Now we do hope you are now all set to enter the rummy arena! You could even begin with a few practice games on RummyCentral. Nothing comes close to the sheer excitement, thrill and rush of playing rummy. This game of skill is so very interesting and engrossing that it continues to be one of the most popular games in India. What’s more, once you add the possibility of winning some cash - the stakes are raised by several notches, and the excitement builds so very deliciously. Now, we do hope to see you at RummyCentral, where you can get stuck into some truly exciting rummy action!