Rules of Rummy

The rules of rummy are quite simple, and this contributes in large part to the popularity of the game in India and beyond. The rules also make for tantalising and exciting game play, as you are sure to discover very soon.

Now, if you were unsure about the rules of the game, you will find them below in detail. We do advise that you go through them carefully before you attempt to conquer the rummy world at RummyCentral! Good luck!

We created this guide in the ‘question & answer’ format to aid the ease of use and understanding.

The basics of rummy

At this stage, it’s important for beginners to know the very basics of rummy before we go into the rules of the game. If you are familiar with the terms and concepts, feel free to skip this section and go ahead to the next.

What is the objective of the game of rummy?

Quite simply, the objective of rummy is to create sequences and sets from the cards you have been given - according to the order dictated by the rules of the game, and before any of your opponents create their own sequences and sets

Now, from the cards originally handed out, a player usually will not be able to create the necessary sequences and sets to win the game, therefore players will have to resort to the ‘draw and discard’ method, where they pick up a card, and discard one which doesn’t fit into the sequences or sets they are creating. You will find out more about this as you progress with this page.

How many players can play rummy?

Rummy is a game played between anywhere from two to six players at any given point of time. The packs of cards used will change with the number of players participating.

How many packs of cards are needed to play rummy?

The player who manages to create combinations out of all the cards except one (Which should be discarded) wins the game. That is the rules for winning in rummy. It is that simple.

What is meant by suits in rummy?

Cards are grouped based on the shapes that are printed on them - each of these shapes denotes a particular suit. There are four suits in a pack of cards. Each suit has 13 cards numbered from Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen and King. Here are the four types of suits in a pack of cards:

  1. ♦ - Diamond
  2. ♣ - Clubs
  3. ♥ - Hearts
  4. ♠ - Spades

What is the order of cards as stipulated by the rules of rummy?

As prescribed by the rules of the game, the required order of cards that players need to keep in mind while creating sequences is - Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen and King.

What is the value of each card in the game of rummy?

Each card in the game of rummy has a different point value when a player’s score is being calculated. Here is the value of each individual card:

  • The value of ‘Face cards’ i.e., the Jack, the King and the Queen is 10 points each.
  • The value of an Ace is 10 points
  • The value of the Joker (Wild & Printed) is 0 points
  • Number cards are worth the same number of points as the number printed on them. For example: 8♦ is worth 8 points

What is meant by a sequence in rummy?

A sequence is a group of three or four consecutive cards, but each of these cards should all be from the same suit. Let’s take a look at some examples of sequences to better understand the concept:

Examples of valid sequences:

  1. 6♦ 7♦ 8♦ 9♦
  2. Ace♣ King♣ Queen♣ Jack♣

What is a Pure sequence in rummy?

A pure sequence in the game of rummy is a sequence which does not use a joker to complete a valid sequence. A valid declaration or show must contain at least one Pure sequence.

What is an Impure sequence in rummy?

An Impure sequence in the game of a rummy is a sequence which uses a joker to complete a valid sequence. A valid declaration can contain an Impure sequence.

What is meant by a set in rummy?

A set in the game of rummy is made up of three or four cards of the same value or ‘face card’, but each of them must be from different suits. Here are some examples of sets to help you understand this concept clearer.

  1. 8♦ 8♥ 8♣ 8♠
  2. Queen♣ Queen♦ Queen♥

What is meant by a Joker in rummy?

When players play rummy with Jokers, a Joker can be used as a substitute for another card, and the players can then use these jokers in place of any other cards to form a valid set or sequence

Are there different kinds of Jokers in rummy?

Yes, there are two kinds of Jokers in rummy. They are:

  1. 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.
  2. Printed Jokers: Jokers that have ‘Joker’ printed on them from the packs of cards

Now, let’s take a look at an example of a sequence and a set with a Joker:

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

What is a rummy Table?

A rummy table is table designated for the game of rummy which can accommodate anywhere two to six players.

What is a round in rummy?

The complete gameplay that the players are engaged in during the game of rummy is typically referred to as a round. A round begins once the cards are dealt, and it includes the drawing and discarding of cards. A round ends when a declaration or show is made.

What is meant by ‘dealing’ in rummy?

Dealing is described as the process of handing out cards to all the players involved in the game of rummy. The cards are dealt out by the dealer at the start of each round.

Who is a dealer in rummy?

The dealer in rummy is the player responsible for ‘dealing out’ the cards. He or she 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.

Do the colours of the cards have any significance in the game of rummy?

Please note that the printed ‘value’ of the card as well as the suit of the card should be the only determining factors when making sets. As such, the colour of the card has no part to play in the formation of sets. This is better explained with the help of examples of valid sets where cards of different colours have been used:

  1. Queen♥ Queen♦ Queen♣ - A valid sequence, even though the Queen♣ is in red, while the other two cards are in black
  2. 2♦ 2♣ 2♥ - A valid set, even though the 2♣ is in red, while the other two cards in the set are in black

What is meant by a closed deck in rummy?

The stack of remaining cards after all players are dealt their 13 cards each is known as the closed deck. This stack of cards is placed face down on the table and known as the closed deck.

What is an open deck in the game of rummy?

An open deck is the group of cards that are discarded, face up on the table every time a player picks up a card from either the closed or the open deck. Please note that the player drawing the card can choose one from either the open deck, where he or she can see the card he or she’s drawing, or one from the closed deck where the cards are turned face down.

What is a Declaration or Show in rummy?

A declaration is a pivotal, culminating and crucial part of the game. Therefore, it’s very important to know what a valid declaration or show is. It could decide whether you win the game or lose it. A declaration or show takes place in a game of rummy when a player has arranged all of his or her cards in sequences and sets and declares or shows this to his or her fellow players to prove it. A declaration can be valid or invalid - it is a valid declaration if it strictly follows the rules of the game, and an invalid declaration if it does not.

A valid declaration or show

A valid declaration should use all 13 cards and must contain:

  • At least two valid sequences
  • The rest of the cards arranged as valid sequences and/or sets
  • At least one Pure sequence

Let’s explain this further with the help of a couple of examples:

Example A

Ace♦ 2♦ 3♦ 4♦ - Valid Pure sequence 1

5♠ 6♠ 7♠ - Valid Pure sequence 2

9♦ 9♠ 9♣ - Valid set 1

Queen♠ Queen♦ Queen♣ - Valid set 2

From Example A, 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 B

3♥ 4♥ 5♥ 6♥ - Valid Pure sequence 1

Jack♣ 7♥ Queen♣ - 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 B, there are two clear sequences, one pure sequence, and the second one an Impure sequence which uses the wild 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.

What is a First Drop in rummy?

A First Drop occurs when a player drops out of the game right at the start. Usually, a First Drop occurs when a player is dissatisfied with the cards that he or she is dealt. Now, 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 the player 20 points, and consequently, he or she ‘drops out’ and does not take part in that game any further.

What is a Middle Drop in rummy?

Dropping out or conceding the game in the middle of a game of rummy is called a Middle Drop. Typically any drop after the player has drawn a card is called a Middle Drop and will earn the player 40 points.

What is meant by drawing and discarding’ in rummy?

In the game of rummy, drawing a card refers to the act of picking up a card during the game from either the closed deck or open deck. Discarding refers to the act of discarding a card to the open deck during the game. When a player draws a card from either deck, they must drop or discard a card to the open deck. The cards that are dropped should typically be the ones that don’t fall into the sequences or sets the player is trying to create.

What are the rules of rummy?

Here are the rules of rummy which must be strictly followed during the game:

  1. The objective of the game is to create valid sequences and sets from the cards that player holds in his or her hand. Also, in order to be the winner, the player has to create valid sequences and sets, and declare or show before any of his or her opponents create have made a valid declaration
  2. Once the 13 cards have been dealt out to each player, each player will have to proceed to create sequences and sets from the cards they have been dealt.
  3. To achieve this objective of creating valid sequences and sets, each player takes turns in a cyclical motion, where he or she can draw or pick up a card from the closed or open decks on the table.
  4. When a player draws a card from either deck, they must drop or discard a card to the open deck. The cards that are dropped should typically be the ones that don’t fall into the sequences or sets the player is trying to create.
  5. This ‘drawing and discarding’ of cards continues, till a player forms valid sequences and sets and ‘shows’ or ‘declares’ this to the other players. After this, the declarer should wait for the other players to do the same. A valid declaration or show garners zero points.
    • A valid declaration or show should consist of valid sequences and sets.
    • The type of sequences that can be part of a valid declaration are:
      • A valid sequence of not less than three cards from the same suit, but without a joker - referred to as a Pure Sequence. At least one of the sequences should be 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 are points awarded to players?

  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 the least points.
  3. At the end of the game the cards in a player hands are totalled up to determine his or her score.
  4. A winning declaration or show garners zero points.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. However, if a losing player does have two sequences, one of which is a Pure sequence - only the cards that are not part of the sequences will be considered when his or her score is being calculated.
  8. A wrong declaration or invalid show will earn a player 80 points.
    • A wrong declaration or show involves at least one invalid sequence and/or at least one invalid set
    • A declaration or show is also considered wrong or invalid if one of the sequences (even though it is a valid sequence) is not a pure sequence
    • 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 take part in that game any further.
    • Dropping out in the middle of the game is called a Middle Drop and will earn a player 40 points.
    • A player missing their turn three times in succession will be awarded 40 points, and this inaction on their part will be considered as a Middle Drop - this is also referred to as ‘consecutive misses’.
    • 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.

Well, that pretty much sums up the rules of rummy. Now that you’re familiar with the rules of rummy, why not get stuck into some thrilling rummy action at RummyCentral. You can even begin with some practice games before you begin to play for cash. So, don’t wait any longer, just go for it!