History of Rummy

Rummy: A Brief History of the Game


There are a few things that the majority of cultures and countries in the world have in common. One of the most common forms of entertainment for centuries across countries and cultures has been playing cards.

Ever since the royalty in China played the “leaf game” during the 9th century, playing cards has always been people’s favorite pastime around the globe.

Over the years, people put their own spin on existing card games to develop entirely new games. Among these new games was Rummy, a revolutionary game that gives very little importance to luck and rewards skillful play.

Once players got a whiff of this game in India, the game gained popularity across households, and clubhouses, and even tournaments were held throughout the country.

Indian Rummy has a long history in the country and is probably the most popular variant of Rummy played in the country. It is played in almost every household and at every social gathering.

Perhaps a look at the history of Indian Rummy will provide you with fascinating information about India’s favorite card game.



David Parlett, a South London scholar who studied both card games and board games, describes Conquian as the ancestor of all modern Rummy games.

Most accounts say the game originated in the early 1800s in Mexico. It was described as Coon Can in 1887. Parlett notes that the 1920s American card game writer R. F. Foster “traces Conquian back to the 1860s.”

Conquian is played by two or more players with Spanish playing cards or a 40-card pack including A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, J, Q and K and the rest of the cards stacked face down on the table. The aim is to be the first to get rid of the cards, including the last one drawn. The total number of cards shown must add up to nine.

Each player is dealt nine cards. A player wins the game by melding a total of ten cards. They may be melded by grouping at least three of a kind or by a straight flush sequence (three to ten cards from the sequence A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, J, Q, K, A. Thus, A-2-3 and 6-7-J are valid sequences.

Gin Rummy

Gin Rummy

Prolific magician and writer John Scarne described Gin Rummy, or simply Gin, to be a faster variant of the original game. It evolved from the early 19th-century Whiskey Poker and was designed to be a lot more spontaneous than Rummy. Gin Rummy is played with a standard 52-card pack. The ranking from high to low is the King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace.  

The objective of Gin Rummy is to score points and reach an agreed number of points, usually 100, or more before the opponent does.

Indian Rummy

Indian Rummy Online

India’s own spin on the original game has got widespread acclaim and garnered the interest of the entire nation. Indian Rummy is a variant of the rummy game, which is popular in India, that involves making valid sets out of the 13 cards that are dealt to each player at the table. If the number of players is 2, then a 52-card deck is used, but if there are 6 players, two decks of 52 cards each are combined. Each player has to draw and discard cards on their turns until one of the players melds all their cards into valid sets fulfilling the objective of the game.

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