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Rummy games began to appear in the early 20th century and are believed to have derived from the Mexican game, Conquian. Having enjoyed popularity in a number of guises more a number of times, it is no wonder that Rummy has no end of variations and adaptations. Gin, Canasta, Samba, and no end of American variations, the main defining character remains the same. Unlike so many other games which are concerned with trick taking, trick taking plays no part in the Rummy family.

Instead, the objective is exclusively focused on forming certain combinations of cards called “Melds”. Typically, these take the form of three or more of a kind, or of sequences comprising of three or more cards.

Rummy games tend to be more social or family games, light-hearted, rather than the cut throat trick taking affairs. Rummy, Canasta and Samba are just some of its most popular forms.

Here are the rules for the game of Rummy.

The Cards

Standard pack of 52 cards

The Deal

Deal and play are clockwise, the deal proceeds to the left after each hand.

For 2 players deal 10 cards each
3-4 players, deal 7 each
5-6 players, deal 6 each

The rest are placed face down in the center of the table and form the stock. Take the top card, and place face up, beside the stock.


To go out by laying down melds of 3 or more cards at one time.

Secondary Objective: If not the first to go out – to reduce the total face value of cards left in your hand.

Ace = 1, Court Cards = 10 each

The Play

Each in turn, starting left to the dealer,

  1. Draw a card from the top of the stock OR from the face up discard pile
  2. Meld, if able and willing to do so OR lay off.
  3. Discard one card, face up, to the discard pile.

Melding and Laying Off

One or more melds or lay offs can be made in one turn. A meld is made by placing the group or sequence face up on the table in front of the player.

A card that extends any meld is called a lay off. A card may be added to an existing meld regardless of who made it in the first place. So, you can add cards to your opponent’s melds, it is no advantage to him/her.

End of Stock

It may happen that no one goes out before the stock has been exhausted. If the cards run out, simply take the discard pile as is, square up the cards and, without shuffling, turn right-side up to act as the stock all over again. Turn the top card face up, and then continue playing as if nothing had happened.

Going Out

The winner is the player who plays the last card from his/her hand whether by melding, laying off, or discarding. The game ends immediately, and each opponent accrues penalties equal to the value of the cards left in his hand.

Going Rummy

A player goes rummy by getting rid of his/her entire hand in one turn, without having melded or laid off a single card in that deal. In such a case, the winner score double against his/her opponents.


A game may consist of any agreed number of deals or be played up to a previously agreed target score.

L I N K S:

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