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How to Play Rummy: A Detailed Guide to Rummy Rules

How to Play Rummy Card Game

How to Play Rummy Card Game Online

Objective of the Rummy Card Game

In a game of rummy, the cards are ranked from lowest to highest, starting with Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K. Here, all face cards (Ace, Jack, Queen, King) carry 10 points each. The remaining cards carry a value equal to their face value, meaning that 7 of any suit will carry 7 points.

The main objective and rule of the rummy card game is to create at least two sequences by arranging your 13 cards into valid sets and sequences, one of which must be a "pure sequence" (3 or more cards of the same suit in order, no jokers). You can also have sets (3 or 4 cards of the same rank). The first player to declare all their cards in valid combinations wins. Remember, no pure sequence, no valid declaration! This is the golden rule of Rummy.

How to Play Rummy? Get Started With Rummy Game Rules

Ready to unleash your inner Rummy champion? Let’s take a look at how to play a rummy game from scratch:

  1. Rummy game is played between 2 to 6 players with either 1 or 2 decks of cards. Each player gets 13 cards, plus one chosen as the special "wild joker" (besides any regular jokers in the deck).
  2. Players take turns drawing and discarding cards to form combinations. The goal is to arrange all 13 cards into valid sequences (three or more cards of the same suit in sequence) or sets 3 or 4 cards of the same rank, and declare first to win.
  3. As per rummy rules, you have to create at least 2 sequences, including one “pure sequence”, for a valid declaration. Ways to arrange cards in valid order:-
    • 2 sequences + 2 sets
    • 3 sequences + 1 set
    • All cards arranged in sequences.
  4. Prioritize creating a pure sequence and discard high-value cards early on if they remain ungrouped. If you declare without a pure sequence, points of all the cards in your hand will be added up to calculate your penalty points.

What is a Sequence?

A sequence is a group of three or more consecutive cards of the same suit. There are two types of sequences: pure sequence and impure sequence.

Pure Sequence

A pure sequence is a group of three or more consecutive cards of the same suit. No card is replaced by a joker in a pure sequence. As per rummy game rules, it is mandatory to make at least one pure sequence for a valid declaration.

Examples of Pure Sequences

Example 1

  • It is a pure sequence that consists of three consecutive cards of diamonds. Here no card has been replaced by a joker.
  • It is a pure sequence that consists of four consecutive cards of clubs. No card has been replaced by a joker in the sequence.
  • In this pure sequence, five consecutive cards from the heart suit are used. No joker is used in this sequence.

A wild joker can also be used in a pure sequence in its original value, but only as a card of its original suit and not to replace any other card. Let us consider the following example: 8-9-10 (WJ).

Example 2

Here 10❤ is also a wild joker, but the sequence is still a pure sequence because 10❤ has not been used as a joker to replace any other card in the sequence: it has been used in its original value (10) and as a card of its original suit (❤).

This strategy is often useful when you have multiple wild jokers.

However, when you have limited wild jokers, prefer using them to create impure sequences and sets instead.

Impure Sequence

An impure sequence is a sequence (3 or more cards arranged in a sequence) in which one or more cards have been replaced by a joker or jokers.

Example 1

In this impure sequence, the printed joker has been used to replace Q.

In this impure sequence, 8 is a wild joker. It has been used to replace 5♠.

What is a Set?

Three or four cards of the same rank but different suits form a set. A set cannot have more than one card from any suit. Rummy rules allow you to use one or more jokers to replace any other card(s) in a set.

Without a Joker

This set has 7s from three different suits.

This set has 2s from four different suits.

With a Joker

In this set, the K is a wild joker.

In this set, the printed joker is optional. If there was no joker, the set would be still complete as it contains all 9s from different suits.

The printed joker has been used to replace the missing cards: Q or Q♠.

In this set, the A is a wild joker.

Invalid Sets

As per rummy set rules, this combination does not qualify as a valid set. It is an invalid set as it has two 2 cards. If it had 2 instead of one 2, it would have been a valid set. The correct example of valid set is: 2-2♣-2♠-2.

Invalid Sets

A♣-A♣-K♦ (WJ) This is an invalid set as it includes two A♣ cards. If the combination had either A or A in place of one A♣, it would have been a valid set. The correct examples of valid set are: A♣-A-K (WJ), A♣-A-K (WJ)

Importance of Jokers in Rummy

One of the most important rummy rules that are taught when you play rummy is how to use jokers. Jokers play a very special role in rummy and can help you win the game. There are two types of jokers used in a game of rummy: printed jokers and wild jokers.

Printed Joker

As the name suggests, a printed joker has the picture of a joker printed on it. This card can be used as a substitute for any missing card and can help you form a set or an impure sequence.

Look at the examples of an impure sequence and a set below to understand how a printed joker can be used in rummy.

Example 1

The printed joker has been used to replace 10 in this impure sequence.

The printed joker has been used to replace 2♣ or 2 in this set.

Wild Joker

The wild joker is randomly picked at the beginning of the game. When the card is picked, this card along with other cards of the same rank and different suits become the wild joker of the game.

For example, if 4 is selected as the wild joker, 4, 4♣ and 4♠ will also be the wild jokers of that game.

Just like the printed joker, the wild joker can also be used as a substitute for any missing card and helps form a sequence or a set.

Example 2

In this sequence, the 8 is a wild joker. So it’s an impure sequence.

In this set, the 3♣ is a wild joker that has been used to replace 6♣ or 6.

A wild joker can be used in a pure sequence too. Examples of pure sequence with a wild joker are as follows:

K♠-Q♠-J♠ (WJ): Here J♠ is the wild joker and it is used to complete the combination which ultimately forms the pure sequence.

4-5(WJ)-6-7: Here 5 is the wild joker and it connects 4, 6 and 7. The combination created is a pure sequence.

Rummy Rules for Making a Valid Declaration

Valid Declaration

To make a valid declaration, you have to arrange all 13 cards in your hand in sequences, or in sequences and sets. This should be done following all rummy game rules.

After arranging your cards, you have to finish the game by discarding the last unwanted card into the “Finish” slot and declare your hand. The player who makes a valid declaration first wins the game and gets zero points.

For a valid declaration, you need to fulfill the following three conditions:

Pure sequence: Making at least one pure sequence is mandatory to win a rummy game. A pure sequence consists of three or more consecutive cards of the same suit.

Please note that a printed joker cannot be used as a substitute for any card in a pure sequence. However, a wild joker can be used to create a pure sequence as long as it is a part of the suit. Any declaration made without a pure sequence is invalid and the player loses by a margin equal to the total of the values of all the cards in his/her hand.

Second sequence: Rummy rules make it mandatory to make at least two sequences to make a valid declaration in the game. So in addition to a pure sequence, you need to form a second sequence. It can be either a pure sequence or an impure one, depending on the cards you have.

As explained above, an impure sequence includes a joker acting as a substitute for any other card in an impure sequence. You can create more than two sequences too.

All your cards should be arranged: All the remaining cards that are not a part of the two sequences should be arranged in either sequences or sets. Forming a set is optional but all the cards must be a part of a valid combination.

As mentioned above, a set is a combination of three or four cards of the same rank but different suits. Look at an example of a valid declaration below.

Without Wild Joker

It is a pure sequence that has four consecutive cards of the same suit.

This is an impure sequence as a printed joker has been used to replace J.

This is a set containing three 2s from different suits.

This is also a set. Here a printed joker has been used to replace 9♣ or 9.

With Wild Joker

This is a pure sequence consisting of four consecutive cards. Despite being a wild joker, 8 is a part of the suit and completes the combination.

This is a pure sequence with three consecutive face cards of the club suit.

This combination is a set containing three 5s from different suits.

In this combination, a printed joker is used to complete the set. It is used to replace either A or A.

Invalid Declaration

When you declare your cards without fulfilling any of the three conditions above, it becomes an invalid declaration. If you make an invalid declaration, you will lose the game instantly and your opponent will be declared the winner if it’s a 2-player table.

If there are more than two players at the table, the other players will keep playing until one of the remaining players makes a valid declaration. Take a look at the examples of some invalid declarations below.

Example 1

This declaration consists of 2 sequences and 2 sets. However, it is still an invalid declaration for the following reasons: 7♠-8♠-9♣-10♠ It is an invalid combination as 9♣ (which is not a wild joker) is used in place of 9♠. If 9♠ was included in the combination, it would have been a pure sequence. The next two combinations, i.e. A♦-2♦-PJ (impure sequence) and 5♠-5♥-5♣ (set), are valid combinations. 3♠-3♥-6♦ It is not a valid combination as 6♦ (which is not a wild joker) is used instead of 3♣ or 3.

Example 2

This declaration includes 2 sequences and 2 sets. However, it is still an invalid declaration for the following reasons: A♥-2♥-3♦ It is an invalid combination as it includes 3 (which is not a wild joker) in place of 3. Including 3 instead would have made it a pure sequence. The remaining combinations, i.e. 10♠-J♠-Q♠-K♠ (pure sequence), 6♠-6-6♣ (set) and 2♠-2♣-PJ (set), are valid, though.

How Are Points Calculated in a Rummy Game?

Common Rules for Point Calculation

Point Calculation for Losing Players

Action Penalty Imposed
Invalid declaration (For example A declaration made without creating a pure sequence.) 80 points
First drop (When you drop out of the game before picking even your first card.) 20 points
Middle drop (When you drop out of the game any time after picking your first card.) 40 points
3 consecutive turns missed (When you miss 3 turns in a row, you will be automatically dropped out.) 40 points
Declaring a valid hand second 2 points

Example 1: Game played between 2 players (Player 1 and Player 2)

Suppose two players (Player 1 and Player 2) are playing a points rummy game. Player 1 makes a valid declaration and wins the game. Let us understand the rummy scoring of each player.

Combination Created

Combination

Status: Here the player has created a pure sequence (A♠-2♠-3♠), an impure sequence (6♣-8♣-K (WJ)), and 2 sets (4-4♠-4♣-4 and J-J-PJ). All the cards are arranged properly and make a valid show. According to the rules, Player 1 is the winner and gets zero points.

Combination Created

Status: Here the player has created three combinations: 10-J-Q (pure sequence), 5♣-5-5♠ (set) and A-A-A♠ (set). But, as player 1 has declared, Player 2 was left with 4 ungrouped cards i.e. 2-3, Q♣-Q. So the points will be equal to = 2+3+10+10 = 25 points.

Important Terms to Know for Understanding Rummy Rules

Here are some important rummy terms you should know to understand how to play rummy game:

Rummy Table: In order to know how to play rummy online, players play the a free practice game at a virtual table. Typically two to six players can play at a rummy table.

Sorting of cards: The sorting of cards is done at the beginning of the game. Simply click on the “Sort” button and your cards will be automatically arranged in combinations according to suit. Sorting is useful to identify potential combinations like pure sequences, impure sequences and sets.

Deal/Round: In rummy, a deal or round begins with the dealing of cards and ends when a player successfully declares his/her hand.

Dealing of cards: At the beginning of rummy game cards are dealt to each player randomly. This process is known as dealing.

Draw and Discard: In a rummy card game, you can draw or pick cards from the closed deck (pile of cards placed face down) or the open deck (pile of cards discarded by players and placed face up).

On each turn, you have to draw a card and discard an unwanted card from your hand. These actions of picking new cards and getting rid of your unwanted cards are known as drawing and discarding, respectively.

Meld: When cards have been dealt, players have to arrange their cards in sequences, or sequences and sets. The act of arranging cards in such valid groups is known as melding.

Printed & Wild Joker: Jokers are essential to a rummy game. There are two types of jokers: printed jokers (1 per deck) and wild jokers (4 per deck). Both types of jokers can be used as substitutes for any missing cards in a set or sequence. They help to form sets and sequences.

A random card is selected as the wild joker at the beginning of the game. The cards of the same rank in all the four suits also become wild jokers.

Drop: You can choose to opt out of the deal/game at any time during the game. This is known as a drop. You get some penalty points for dropping out of a game/deal.

For example, in a points rummy scoring, you get 20 points for dropping out before your very first move in the game and 40 points for dropping out anytime after picking your first card. Dropping before you play your first move is called a first drop, and dropping in the middle of a game is called a middle drop.

Chips: Chips are used to play practice games on Junglee Rummy. You get free chips when you register on Junglee Rummy and you can reload chips when you run out of them.

When you join a practice game, a predefined number of chips will be deducted from your chip balance. When you win, the virtual chips won are credited to your account.

Declare: Immediately after you finish a game by discarding one of your cards to the “Finish” slot, you have to show your cards to your opponents. This is called declaring your hand.

Cash Tournaments: Cash tournaments are tournaments that you join by paying an entry fee. The winners get real money in prizes. On Junglee Rummy, play rummy online, and also participate in cash tournaments every day throughout the year. Just add cash to your Junglee Rummy account and start playing!

To play cash tournaments, download the Junglee Rummy app now.Select the tournament you wish to play & start the game.

Also check Tips and Tricks to Win Rummy Games

How to Play Rummy: FAQs

What is the penalty for rummy?

The penalty for incorrect declaration in rummy is usually the maximum points a player can get in a game, which is often 80 points, indicating a lost game due to the wrong declaration.

13-card rummy is a skill game that requires players to arrange their cards in certain groups. In 13-card rummy, each player is dealt 13 cards, which they have to arrange in sequences, or in sequences and sets. To make a valid declaration, it is mandatory to create at least two sequences, out of which at least one must be a pure sequence (a sequence in which no card has been replaced by a joker).

Yes, you can discard a joker. But unless you have too many jokers and it is preventing you from creating a pure sequence, avoid discarding jokers as they can be used to create both sequences and sets. Also remember that no player can pick a discarded joker from the open deck.

In Indian rummy, the joker is worth zero points. It can be used as a substitute for any missing card in a sequence – thereby creating an impure sequence – or a set. Moreover, if you have ungrouped high-value cards in your hand, you can group the joker with them to make an impure sequence or a set and bring down your total score.

Yes, you can utilize more than one joker to create a set in rummy. You can certainly group two jokers with another card to create a set.

In rummy, 13 cards are dealt to each player at the table. The aim of the game is to arrange all 13 cards in certain groups and make a valid declaration before anyone else at the table. The player who arranges all their cards in valid order first wins the game.

The rules of rummy remain the same regardless of the number of players playing. The only difference is the number of card decks used. In a 2-player rummy game, only one deck of cards is used. If there are more than 2 players, two card decks are used.

The golden rule of rummy is to form a pure sequence first, a foundational step towards building a winning hand and minimizing your points in case of a loss.

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