Rummy Games

Rummy is, after online poker, the second most popular crad game in the United States. It is, contrary to what most other game authorities say, a direct descendant of Whiskey Poker, a truly American game which first appeared in the midwest about 1850. It was called Whiskey Poker, says the 1864 American Hoyle, because it was played for drinks. card playing at that time was seldom permitted in the home most women looked on cards as “the Devil’s paste boards,” and nearly all the card playing took place in gambling halls and popular barfly varieties of Poker played in America were Whiskey Poker, Rum Poker, and Gin Poker. Then, about 1905 a name change took place. Rum poker became known as Rum or Rummy, Whiskey Poker and Knock Poker as Knock Rummy and Gin Poker as Gin Rummy .

The name of the game changed from poker to Rummy because by the time of the first years of this century the Poker family had more variations than any other family of games. Here are just a few, a very few, of the games that bore the name Poker at that period: Drow Poker, Stad Poker, Freeze out, Gin Poker, Jackpt, Rum Poker, Whiskey Poker, Tigers, blazer, bluff, Double Up, Mistigris, and Patience Poker. That’s what I said: Patience Poker. You’ve played it often, probably within the last week, always with yourself. More than a hundred games of the Patience family are played today. It’s Solitaire too, as you’ll see if you’ll reexamine its basic structure and principles.
Card games are tribes that break off from the main body and drift away into separate existences of their own, devising their own laws, bearing new generations, hammering out their own morals and language and atmosphere.

Rum Poker, in the course of its pilgrimage up through the strata of society, must first have dropped its tawdry family name and then, I suppose, people well to calling it by the affectionate diminutive rummy so as to make it clear that they weren’t talking about or playing sweetly for vulgar rum. And so it bore its young, and it gave them its name, and they prospered , every one. But none has prospered like the variation called Gin Rummy . From 1905 to 1938 the growth of Rummy was gradual, with straight Rummy, Knock Rummy, and 500 Rummy being the favorite variants.

Then in 1939, Hollywood Gin Rummy became a fad in the motion picture colony and spread on ripples of nationwide publicity in newspapers, magazines, and on radio until not only millions of players were conscious of Hollywood Gin but Gin Rummy (the sleeper) became the most played two-handed game in America a distinction it still holds at the present time. In 1949 a Rummy importation from South America called Canasta came north, and from then until 1952 was the biggest fad in the history of card games.
There are countless forms of Rummy being played today but they all follow the same basic principles and differ only in details. The main differences are:

  1. The use of one or multiple decks of cards.
  2. Various ways of scoring a hand or game.
  3. Restricted melds
  4. Different ways of discarding and picking upcards.
  5. Wild cards and bonus cards.

The single-deck category includes Straigh, Knock, 500 Rummy, and Gin Rummy. The multiple-deck division includes Canasta, Samba, contract, and Chicago Rummy.

Although the basic principles of these Rummy games are identical, many of the games have mathematical defects because the rules, like Tipsy, just grew and have never been properly formulated and codified. This lack of good, tight rules very often causes bitter dissension among players, and many friendships have been severed because of such arguments. In the rules, which follow, I have tried to eliminate these flaws as far as possible without changing the structure of the games themselves. Unless otherwise stipulated under each game, the following general poker rules apply to all games of Rummy described in this chapter.


The Object of Rummy. The object of all Rummy games is to form matched sets, groups, and sequences called melds, or lays, the deduction of which from the hand will bring the value of the unmatched cards of all other players, or to meld, or lay, an entire specified hand of cards in matched sets, which is called rummy.
A matched set may be either a sequence of three or more cards in the same suit for example, four, five, and six of spades (in games where the player’s hand is comprised of ten or fewer cards, it is possible to meld all the cards in the hand in a single sequence); or three or four of a kind, for example, the queen of clubs, queen of diamonds, queen of hearts, and queen of spades.
Rank of Cards. One or more standard packs of 52 playing cards are used, from ace to king in four suits. Unless otherwise stipulated the ace is the lowest-ranking card, having a value of 1. The king, queen, and jack are valued at 10 points each. All other cards have their numerical face value. The suits have no value.

Selecting the Dealer and Establishing Seating Positions at the Table.

  1. Any player (preferably chosen by mutual consent ) shall shuffle the cards. Player to the deelar’s right shall cut the cards.
  2. Player acting as dealer shall deal one card to each player face up, starting with the player to his left and continuing clockwise.
  3. Player dealt lowest rank card becomes the first dealer, and may select any sea the wants.
  4. Player dealt the second lowest card selects any remaining seat; etc.
  5. In case of ties, each of the tied players shall be dealt another card face up, this to go on until the tie is broken.
  6. On completion of each hand, the deal passes to the player to the left of the dealer of that hand.

The Shuffle and Cut

  1. Dealer shuffles the cards. Any player may call for an shuffle the pack any time before the cut, although the dealer has the privilege of shuffling the pack last.
  2. Dealer puts the pack of cards face down on the table to his right. The player to his right has first privilege of cutting the cards. If that player refuses to cut, any other player may cut. If all the other online poker players refuse to cut, the dealer must cut the cards. He cannot refuse. At least five cards must be in each portion of the cut deck.

The Deal. The dealer deals one card at a time to each player, starting with the leader (player to the dealer’s left) and continuing clockwise until each player in the game has the required number of cards. Then, when the rules of the game require it, the next card is placed face down on the table, forming the stock. On completion of each hand, the deal passes to the player at the dealer’s left.
changing Seats. Some players like to change seats after a certain time or number of hands, but rarely do players agree on when. Therefore, let us establish that at the end of each hour of play a new deal is in order as prescribed under the rules for Selecting the Dealer and Establishing Seating Positions. This ruling will make for a better all around game of Rummy.
Note: Unless otherwise detailed, the rules for selecting the dealer and establishing Seating Positions at the table, the shuffle and cut and changing seats hold good for all the Rummy games in this chapter.
Irregular Pack or Irregular Hand. An irregular pack of cards or an irregular hand is:

  1. One that has more or less cards than are required by the rules of the game being played.
  2. Or, one that has one or more cards of a design different from the deck’s, cards which are not specified as permissible under the rules of the game being played.


  1. If it is established during or at the completion of a hand that the pack is irregular, that hand is void. If any scores have been previously entered toward a game, the entire game of which that hand is a part shall be void, and the game is completed.
  2. If a game is completed and it then it is discovered that an irregular pack has been used, that game and all previous games are valid.

Misdeals. The following determines whether a misdeal has occurred:

  1. If a dealer or player accidentally turns up a card belonging to another player during the deal, that deal is void, a misdeal is declared, and the same dealer deals again.
  2. If the dealer or a player accidentally turns up a card or cards belonging to himself, that deal stands.
  3. If a card is found face up in the pack during the deal, there is a misdeal.
  4. If a card is found face up in the stock during the play pokeu , the card is righted and the stock is shuffled by the dealer of that hand and cut by the player of his right, and the play continues.
  5. If one player or more has an irregular hand and it is discovered before the leader has completed his first play, the deal is a misdeal.
  6. If more than one player has an irregular hand and it is discovered during the play, that hand is a misdeal.

Dead Hand. If it is discovered that one player has an irregular hand during the play (after the leader has completed his first play), that player’s hand is dead. He must put the cards aside, face down, and be adjudged a loser of that hand.

On Drawing from the Discard Pile :- When a play has been made from discard pile-for instance, if an upcard or group of cards or the entire pile has been picked up as the rules of that game stipulate and the card or cards have left the table or the top of the discard pile, that play cannot be changed. That play must be completed. A player cannot change his mind. He cannot put the card or cards back into the discard.

  1. A player cannot discard an upcard he has just taken until his next turn of play.

Drawing from the Stock

  1. If a player picks a card off the stock, it is a play, regardless of whether the player looks at the card’s face or not.
  2. But if a player merely touches the top card of the stock, he does not have to take that card.
  3. If a player in the act of drawing the top card sees any other card in the stock, or any other player has reason to believe that he has done so, then the first player must show his card to the rest of the players.

Playing Out of Turn

  1. If a player takes an upcard or cards from the discard pile out of turn and it is discovered while he still has the card or cards in this poker hand, he simply puts the card or cards back on the discard.
  2. If a player out of tuern has taken a card off the stock and has not looked at it, he replaces it on top of the stock.
  3. If a player has taken a card from the stock and looked at it, it is put back on the stock, and the stock is shuffled and cut. There is no penalty.
  4. If a player has played out of turn and it is not discovered until after that player has completed his play, the play stands as if it were a proper turn of play, and the player whose turn it was to play loses that turn. It is up to the player to protect his own interests at all times.

Miscount. If a players errs in counting his points, he may correct the error if he correction is made before the next player starts his play.
Rearranging Melds. A player may rearrange his melds in any manner he likes, providing he does so before the next player starts his play.
Errors in Scoring. If an error has been made in entering or adding scores, it may be corrected, but not if another game has been completed following the hand in which the error was made