How to Play Rummy Card Game – Rummy Rules & Guide

Home » How to Play Rummy Card Game – Rummy Rules & Guide

Rummy, a skill-based card game, has become immensely popular in India, with Indian Rummy being a variant exclusively reinvented for the Indian audience. This guide aims to break down the game into easily digestible bits, covering its rich history, the Indian Rummy variant, and providing winning strategies for players.

How to Play Rummy online

The Birth of Rummy – How it all started

The origin of Rummy is shrouded in various theories. One widely accepted postulation suggests that it originated from Conquian, a game with roots in Mexico or Spain. Asians believe it evolved from the Chinese game Mahjong, while the Japanese speculate it came from Hanafuda, introduced by Portuguese travelers. Another theory suggests it developed from a Poker format known as Whiskey Poker, eventually becoming Rumy.

Variants of Rummy

Rummy has evolved into various versions, each with its own set of rules and popularity. Some notable variants include:

  • Indian Rummy: Predominant in India, it involves creating valid sets from the 13 cards each player receives.
  • 500 Rummy: Players play to 500 points, scoring based on show cards and those in hand.
  • Gin Rummy: Particularly popular in European countries, it emphasizes forming sets and runs.
  • 13 Cards Rummy: The standard version where each player is dealt 13 cards.
  • Kalooki: A variant with a focus on sets and runs.
  • Contract Rummy: Involves specific contracts or objectives for each hand.
  • Shanghai Rummy: A game with multiple rounds and specific contracts for each round.
  • Dummy Rummy: Players use dummy hands as part of the strategy.

Indian Rummy

Popularly known as Paplu, Indian Rummy is the predominant variant in India. It involves creating valid sets from the 13 cards each player receives. The game can accommodate 2 to 6 players, and the primary goal is to meld cards into relevant sets and sequences.

Glossary of Terms

Before delving into Indian Rummy, it’s crucial to understand some terms:

  • Table: The playing area accommodating 2 to 6 players.
  • Deck of cards: A standard 52-card deck with four suits.
  • Block Rummy: A type where the discard pile isn’t used repeatedly.
  • Rummy 500: A variant where participants play to 500 points.
  • Open Deck: The discard pile, face-up, used for forming combinations.
  • Closed Deck: The undealt deck placed face down.
  • Go out: Discarding the last card to win the round.
  • Go Rummy: Discarding an entire hand in one turn.
  • Lay off: Adding cards to an already-existing meld.
  • Wild Joker: A randomly selected card to act as a Joker.
  • Printed Joker: A card with a funny figure, used as a wild card.
  • Pure Sequence: A sequence without a Joker.
  • Impure Sequence: A sequence with one or more wild cards.
  • Card Points: Scoring system based on card values.
  • Joker and Wild Card: Cards used to replace desired cards.
  • Palpu: The next higher card of the same suit, functioning as a joker.

How to Play Indian Rummy

The objective is to arrange cards into sets or sequences. Players are dealt 13 cards, and the main rule is to form at least two sequences, one of which must be pure. The game progresses through dealing, sorting, drawing, melding, laying off, and discarding.


Each player receives 13 cards, and the remaining cards form the stock.


Players arrange their cards for better strategy and easier melding.


Players start their turn by adding a card from the stock or discard pile to their hand.


Players arrange cards in sequences or sets, using Jokers if necessary.

Laying off

After melding, players can add cards to existing melds.


Players end their turn by discarding a card to the discard pile.


Players declare their hand by showing valid combinations.

Tips for Winning in the Rummy Game

Mastering Rummy requires strategy. Here are some tips:

  • Discard high-value cards early: Minimize penalty points by discarding face cards early.
  • Observe opponents: Keep track of your opponents’ moves and plan your strategy accordingly.
  • Focus on sequences: Sequences are easier to form than sets, so prioritize them.
  • Discard strategically: Choose cards that are of least value to you and your opponents.
  • Stay alert: Be aware of your opponent’s card count and aim to finish before them.

Types of Indian Rummy

There are three main types:

Points Rummy

Monetary value is associated with each point, and the first player to finish wins the prize.

Deals Rummy

The number of rounds is determined at the beginning, and the player with the maximum points at the end wins.

Pool Rummy

Players play to a set maximum limit of points, and the last person remaining wins.

Other Rummy Variations

Aside from the popular variants, players may encounter other spinoffs, such as:

  • No Additional Jokers: Only deck Jokers can be used as wild cards.
  • No Jokers: Printed Jokers are not used.
  • 21 Card Indian Rummy: Similar to the 13-card version but with 21 cards.

Playing Rummy in India

Rummy is legal in India as it is considered a game of skill. While playing for fun is legal nationwide, playing for real money is prohibited in some states. Understanding the legal aspects and house rules is crucial for an enjoyable and responsible gaming experience.

House Rules for Social Settings

In social settings, players can introduce house rules to enhance the gaming experience:

  • Laying Off Before Melding: Lay off cards only after laying down a meld.
  • Set Number of Rounds: Play to a set number of rounds instead of a target score.
  • Aces High: Aces count for 15 points.
  • More than One Meld: Players can lay down any number of melds in each turn.


Armed with this comprehensive guide, players can confidently enjoy the game of Rummy, whether in traditional or online settings. Regular practice and a good understanding of the rules are key to becoming a skilled player. Remember to check specific rules for variants and always play responsibly. Good luck!

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