Rummy Glossary for Newbies

Rummy Glossary for Newbies


Don’t want to misuse a strong hand because of misunderstanding a Rummy term? Here is the list of some important terms related to the game of Rummy. Revise and memorize them to fare well at the tables.

Ace: There are 4 Aces (one of each suit: Spades, Hearts, Clubs, and Diamonds) in a standard 52-card deck. Aces can be used both as low-value cards and high-value cards. You can either make a sequence of the Ace-King-Queen (the Ace is used as a high card here) or the Ace-2-3 (here it’s used as a low card).

Best of Three: It is a variant of Rummy games. The game is played in three rounds and the player with the least points at the end of the third round is the winner.

Buy-in: It refers to the amount of cash one needs to put in to enter a tournament. Every tournament has a definite range of buy-in where the maximum and the minimum amounts are specified.

Cut Joker: The card that is picked from the closed deck immediately after the distribution of 13 cards to each player is known as the Cut Joker. All the cards of that rank from all suits are then considered Cut Jokers. It is the officially declared Joker in a Rummy game.

Deal: The act of dealing cards to every player by the dealer at the starting of the game is described as the deal.

Deal in Rummy

Dealer:  A person who deals cards is the dealer. A dealer can be determined in two ways-

  1.   The person who deals out cards at the beginning of every hand is the dealer.
  2.   If another way is followed, every player draws a card from the shuffled pack of cards. The player with the lowest-value card deals cards and is hence the dealer.

Deck or Pack of Cards: A deck is a pack of cards. It is usually a standard collection of 52 cards that has 13 cards of each suit: Spades, Diamonds, Hearts, and Clubs.

Declare: A player declares when he/she has finished arranging his/her cards in desired sets and sequences. “Declare” refers to the completion of the game too. In a 13-card rummy game, you declare your hand by putting down the 14th card in the Finish slot.

Discard: As per the rules of the 13-card rummy game, a player on his/her turn is supposed to pick the 14th card (either from the open deck or the closed deck). After that, it is up to the player to use the recently picked 14th card or discard it but the player must discard one card from his hand. The player should have 13 cards at the end of his/her turn. It is also called laying off. The cards discarded by players form the discard pile or open deck.

Open Deck/Discard Pile: It is the pile of discarded cards placed next to the closed deck. It is formed by cards discarded by players. Also, players can only pick the top card from the discard pile/closed deck, not the cards under that.

Open Deck Rummy

Closed Deck/Draw Pile – In a 13-card rummy game, the cards that are not drawn or distributed are kept face down on the table. These cards form the closed deck or draw pile. A player picks up a card from the closed deck/draw pile on their turn and then discards a card to the open deck. If the cards in the closed deck are used up, the open deck is reshuffled except the last discarded card and a new closed deck/draw pile is formed.

Draw: On their turn, every player must pick a card from the closed deck or the open deck. That is called a draw.

Drop: In online Rummy games, players have an option to drop out of the game at the very start or in the middle if they think their cards are not good enough to form required sets and sequences. It helps players avoid losing by a huge margin.

Discard time: This term is used to refer to the time a player can take to discard a card while playing the online Rummy game. In offline Rummy, there is no discard time usually.

Face Cards: Kings, Queens and Jacks are face cards.

Hand: The cards dealt to a player or the cards in the hand of a player are called a hand. An entire round of Rummy is also called a hand.

Impure Sequence: A sequence of cards in which a Joker replaces any other card is called an impure sequence.

Joker: A Joker is a card selected randomly at the beginning of each Rummy game. A Joker can be used as a substitute for any card in that particular game to form a sequence or set.

Meld: A set or sequence.

Melding: Arranging cards in one’s hand in sets or sequences.

Titlu: It is quite similar to the Joker. The term Titlu is commonly used in 21-card Rummy.

Nichlu: Same suit cards that are immediately below the Titlu are called the Nichlu.

Paplu: Same suit cards that are immediately above the Titlu are called the Paplu.


Pip Value: The small designs on the cards that are used to denote suits are called pips. The count of pips in the center of the numbered cards defines the pip value.

Printed Joker: In every deck, apart from the 52 cards of 4 suites, there are two or three printed Jokers. They can replace any other card in the game of Rummy.

Pure sequence: A sequence of cards of the same suit without a Joker replacing any card is a pure sequence.

Rank: The number or position of a card in the series of cards in a deck is its rank.

Round: A single deal of the game is called a round. Sometimes multiple games can also be played within the same round but such rules are set before starting the game.

Score: The score is the total points added up for each player during a round. A losing player gets points based on the unmatched cards in their hand and the sequences and sets formed by them in the game.

Sequence: A sequence is a group of same-suit cards arranged in sequence of their ranks.

Set: A set is a group of 3 or 4 cards of the same rank but different suits. You can also use a Joker to replace any card in a set.

Shuffling: The randomizing or mixing of cards before dealing is called shuffling.

Shuffling Rummy

Suit: In a deck of 52 cards, there are 4 suits (containing 13 cards each): Spades, Clubs, Hearts and Diamonds. Unique pips are used to denote the four suits.

Trinala: It is similar to a pure sequence. In 21-card Rummy, three cards of the same suit and same rank form a Trinala.

Deadwood: Unmatched or unarranged cards in Rummy are called deadwood. A losing player gets penalty points equal to the total of their deadwood cards.

Wild Card: In Rummy, Jokers are used as wild cards to form a set or sequence. The wild card is selected randomly.

Winner: The player who declares their hand after arranging all their cards in desired sets and sequences is the winner. The winner gets 0 points.

101 Pool: It’s a Rummy variant in which players keep playing rounds until their score reaches 101. As soon as a player accumulates 101 points, they get eliminated. The person who is left at the end is declared the winner. Also, a player can drop out of the game as well as re-join any round following certain conditions.

201 Pool: It’s a Rummy variant in which players keep playing rounds until their score reaches 201. Just like the 101 Pool, a player gets eliminated as soon as they score 201 points. The person who is left at the end is declared the winner. The re-joining and dropping rules for the 201 Pool are the same as for the 101 Pool the only difference is that of the points .

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