Rummy Guide


Angelina Saul

Last Updated:



Rummy is a popular card game played differently in various countries. 

It requires a minimum of two to six players to play this game involving two decks of cards and four printed jokers. 

The objective of this game is to score the lowest points to win the game. Players have to make particular types of card combinations to be able to score less.

Though Rummy is a gambling game in India, it is still permitted in certain states, both online and offline. This is because it is considered a game of skill, not chance. If you wish to know how it is a game of skill, read further. The Indian Rummy game is known as Classic Indian Rummy. It is a combined game of Gin Rummy and Rummy 500. We also have Paplu, which originates from Rhuk or Celebes Rummy, an old South Asian Rummy game. Paplu is a small gambling game that involves a max of 10 players. 3 decks of cards are used if more than 6 players play this game. 

First, knowing some commonly used terms is suitable for understanding the basic rummy game. This will make it easier for you to understand the game while reading this article. 

Before that, let’s learn the difference between the two types of basic rummy games played.

Table of Contents

Indian Rummy Games Played at Home Versus Online Rummy

There are many types of rummy games played online. We will talk about the basic ones here. 

The Indian Rummy

This type of game that is played at home between 2-6 players needs 13 cards to be dealt to each player from two decks of cards involving 4 printed jokers. A wild or joker card is randomly picked from the rest of the deck of cards and placed on the table. The pile of cards that are not shuffled are kept face-down, with the topmost card remaining face-up next to this pile. This way, you have a closed and discarded pile to pick from. The players make their hands and declare Rummy when they are left with one card to discard. The value of the Ace card is 11 here. If a player decides to pack or leave the game before picking a card in his first turn, his cards are moved to the bottom of the draw pile. But if a player leaves later in the game, their cards are kept aside and unused.

Basic Online Rummy

It is a little different when you play this game online. Two decks of cards, along with their jokers, are used. If two players play the game, 10 cards are shuffled to each. Three to four players get 7 cards each, and if there are five to six players, they get 6 cards each. A joker is randomly selected and kept aside, and a card is picked from the closed pile to form the discarded pile. The players can meld and lay those cards face-up on the table. They can lay off cards to add to a previous meld while discarding a card. It is not compulsory that a player has to show their melds on the table. If a player wishes to play without disclosing his hands till the end, he can do so. And if he declares Rummy by discarding his last card and then showing all his hands, he wins double the number of points compared to the person who has shown his hands for every turn. The value of the Ace card is 1 unless used for a hand using high-ranking cards. This is explained in detail further down.

Commonly Used Terms in Rummy

  1. Face cards: There are 12 face cards in a deck of cards. These are the Kings, Queens, and Jacks belonging to four suits. Though the Joker card may have a face printed on it, it is not a face card.
  2. Joker or Wild Cards: In a game of Rummy, there are 5 Joker cards, four of which are printed jokers (2 from each deck), while the fifth joker card is the one picked randomly from the closed pile of cards before the game starts. This card is also known as the Wild card or cut joker. A Joker card is used to substitute another card that is needed to make a run or set. For example, you have 2 aces, one of ♠️ and the other of ♣️. You need one more Ace belonging to a different suit (❤ or ♦️) to make a Set. If you have a Joker or wild card, you could use it to represent the missing Ace. This way, you get to complete your hand. We have a complete section on Jokers in this article. It will help you understand why Jokers are essential. 
  3. Pure Sequence or Straight Run: A player has to have a pure sequence to win in Rummy using three or more cards. This means he needs to have consecutive cards belonging to the same suit without using a Joker. An example of a pure sequence would be 2❤, 3❤, 4❤, 5❤. They are consecutive cards belonging to the same suit. No Joker or wild card can be used for this sequence. It is compulsory to have a minimum of one sequence in Rummy. You can have more than one if you have the cards favouring it. A wild card can be used in a pure sequence only for its real value and not as a Joker card. If 10♣️ is the wild card and you have 7♣️, 8♣️, and 9♣️, you could add 10♣️ to this sequence for its actual value. It is not and cannot be used as a substitute for another card of a different value. 
  4. Impure Sequence: This sequence is optional and involves consecutive three or more cards belonging to the same suit. Now you may wonder why this is an impure sequence. A joker or wild card is used to complete the sequence in an Impure sequence. For instance, you have Ace♦️, King♦️, and Jack♦️. To complete this as a sequence, you need Queen♦️. So, here you could use the printed joker or the wild card to represent the missing Queen♦️. This type of sequence becomes an impure one. When discussing Aces and Jokers and Face cards, read the next section on the value of each card.
  5. Set or Triples: A set is not compulsory but optional, just like the impure sequence. A set can have a maximum of four cards. You cannot have more than two sets in a game of Rummy. The set is formed by grouping cards of the same rank or value. They should belong to different suits. If two cards belong to the same suit, that hand will become invalid. A joker or the wild card can be used to complete this hand as long as there are not more than 4 cards to make this hand in total. 
  6. First Life: When a player makes a pure sequence for the first time, it is called First Life.
  7. Second Life: The second sequence formed by the player, irrespective of whether it is pure or impure, is called second life. A first life should be created to have a second life. 
  8. Dealer: The one who deals the cards to all the players is called a dealer. Before the game starts, every player picks a card from the deck of cards. Whoever gets the lowest-ranking card becomes the dealer. If there is a tie, then players pick the cards again. The player to the left of the dealer starts the game. In some games, the youngest player starts the game if only two players exist. This game is played clockwise.
  9. Closed, Draw or Stock Pile: Once the cards have been dealt to all the players, a random card is taken from the remainder of the deck of cards and placed face up. This is the wild or joker card. The rest of the cards are kept in a pile face-down. Players will draw from this closed pile called the stock pile. It could also be called the draw pile. Next to this will come the open pile.
  10. Open or Discard Pile: The cards discarded by the members are kept face-up next to the closed pile. Here, all can see the cards that the other players have discarded. The topmost card in the discarded pile cannot be discarded in the same turn. Another card has to be discarded instead. 
  11. End of the Stock: Once no cards are left in the closed pile, it is termed the end of the Stock. The cards from the open pile are shuffled and placed face-down to become the new closed or stock pile. The last card from the previously closed pile becomes the first card for the open pile. Some games allow the discarded pile of cards to be shuffled and used a maximum of three times, while some only allow two times. There is a limit placed on the reuse of the open pile because sometimes players have no choice but to discard the same cards repeatedly. Also, few players memorise the discarded cards of other players so well that they can predict the cards. Instead of making the game continue and become monotonous, few rummy games end the minute the closed pile of cards are over. In the rummy game version called the Block Rummy, they don’t reuse the discard pile. 
  12. Melding: In Rummy, you must make hands using 13 cards and place them on the table. This is known as melding. A meld could mean a trio hand, a pure sequence or an impure one in this game. Sometimes players prefer melding. The cards have to be placed face-up, and only one meld can be revealed per round. It is not compulsory to disclose your melds to others. The person who makes his runs and sets without placing them on the table and declares Rummy after laying his last card face-down wins double the amount of points. There is a set timescale limit to meld the cards beyond which you cannot do so for that turn. 
  13. Laying-off: A meld can comprise three or more cards based on the handmade. If it is a trio hand (the set), a player can use a maximum of 4 cards with or without the joker. If a player’s meld consists of three Kings belonging to different suits, he can add another king of the fourth suit in the next turn to make a set of four cards. The game’s main aim is to discard cards and have a lesser score. This procedure is called laying off. One can only add to an existing meld and complete the set or sequence. No cards can be replaced. When a player lays off a card, he also needs to discard a card.
  14. Discarding: For every turn you play, you have to pick a card from the open or closed pile and discard a card. The discarded card becomes the next player’s topmost card in the discard pile. When a player picks a card from the discard pile and then does a lay-off, he has to discard a card that is not the same one he picked for that turn. 
  15. Drop: When a player is not confident about his cards, he may choose to leave the game. This is called a drop. He may drop out from the game at the beginning without picking a card from either of the piles or drop it off later after playing a few turns. The penalty points he earns depend on when he drops off. You will learn about this in the Scoring section.
  16. Show: When a player has made the valid sequences and sets, they will want to declare it by calling for a show. If all the ranks are valid, then he will be declared the winner. If not, he will earn 80 penalty points and lose the game. Rules for invalid shows differ from game to game. 
  17. Deadwood: In a game, the cards that have not been matched to form a set or sequence are considered deadwood. 

Value of Cards

From lowest to highest ranking cards.

Ace is the lowest while 2-10 have pip values which are their face value; the face cards have the highest value. 

Card TypeCard Value
Ace (Low-ranking)1
Printed Joker0
Wild Card0
Ace (High-ranking) as a Face card10
Card Values

Please note The value of the Joker card in som Rummy games is 15 or 20 points. The game rules purely depends on the game type and table you are playing at.

The Ace card has a duality value. Let’s learn about its role in Rummy.

The Importance of the Ace Card in Rummy

  1. The Ace card value can be the highest or the lowest based on your hand. It can be the highest when used in a sequence as Ace-King-Queen-Jack of the same suit. A minimum of three cards is enough to form a sequence. In this case, the Ace is considered the highest-ranking card with 10 points. This is the opposite when you use the Ace to create the Ace-2-3 sequence, where Ace is valued at 1.
  2. Considering the dual role that an Ace card can play depending on the hand, it is used for, you also need to look at it as a game-changer card. Given the above scenario, you now understand how it can be used as a high-value or low-value ranking card. Let’s assume your cards are 2,3 and 4 belonging to one suit, or you have Jack, Queen, and King of one suit. Here if you use the Ace card, it can be the first card for the first set of cards, and it could be the last card for the other set of cards. Whichever set of the above cards you may have, Ace is not compulsory as the pure sequence can be formed with a minimum of three cards. Now let’s look at it a little differently. Suppose your cards are 2 and 3, or Queen and King of the same suit. The Ace card of the same suit could complete these to make a pure sequence. However, the sequence will still be complete if you receive 4 or J as your card. We are trying to say that the first and the last card in a sequence play an important role more than the middle card. 
  3. When the printed joker is selected as the wild card, the Aces of all four suits work as the joker card. As a joker card, its value is 0. 
  4. In some games, there is a round-the-corner rule based on the order of the card rankings shown: Ace,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, Jack, Queen, and King. A hand of K-A-2 is considered valid. When this rule is applicable, the players must decide Ace’s value before the game starts. They could set it to either 1 or 10. 
  5. The probability of you receiving an Ace card is higher if beginners or inexperienced players are playing. They may discard high-value cards to avoid losses. You can pick the high-value card from the discard pile when they do this. Most experienced players may try to make a hand using high-value cards in the first few rounds of the game. Your opponents will indeed get an idea of the hand you are trying to make when you pick a card from the open pile. But, when it comes to the Ace card, your opponent will not be sure if you are using it as the high-value or the low-value ranking card. Hence, picking an Ace from a discarded pile of cards will be fun.

The Importance of Jokers and their Rules?

Each deck of 53 cards has two jokers. They could either have a printed face or be blank cards. Today, they mostly have a clown printed as the joker.

Jokers play a very important role in the game of Rummy. They may be excluded from Teen Patti, but they must be included in Rummy. The reasons for this are:

  • The inclusion of jokers makes the game fun. Winning can become faster and easier.
  • Apart from the four printed jokers known as closed jokers, there is a random card selected from the deck of cards after the cards have been dealt to all the players. This random card is kept face-up and is called the wild card or the cut joker. You may also call it the open joker card. If you have made your pure sequence, you can make the following sequence using the Joker. This will become the impure sequence. Rummy requires a player to have two sequences anyhow. One has to be a pure sequence, while the second one can be pure or impure. 
  • The value of the joker card is 0. And when the printed joker is chosen as the wild card, the Aces of all four suits become the joker. 
  • The wild card can be used in a pure sequence, provided it is used for its face value and not to substitute a missing card. In an impure sequence, it can be used as a wild card. The joker card cannot be added as the fifth card for a set. This is because a set can have a maximum of four cards of different suits having the same value. If you have three cards of 5 belonging to ♠️♣️❤ respectively, then you could use a joker card as 5♦️to make a four-card set. 
  • Once you meld using a Joker card, it cannot be removed or replaced. The set cannot be changed by way of replacing any card. You may add a card to a meld of four cards to form a sequence of 5 cards. But you cannot replace existing cards from the meld.
  • If you throw the joker card by mistake, some games may let your opponent, who is the next player, pick it. Some may not permit this. In this case, the next player must pick a card from the drawn pile. 
  • Since the winner of the game is the one with the lowest score, the joker can come in very handy. Wait for the wild card to be revealed before you start making your sequences and sets. This will save you time from redoing all the sets, and you will not discard the joker cards beforehand by mistake.
  • If you have a joker or wild card, you could combine them with high-value cards to make a hand. This will help reduce your points. So even if you lose, you will have a reduced score as compared to unused high-value cards.
  • We suggest you discard cards whose value is closest to the joker card. For example, the wild card is 7❤. Cards like 5❤,6❤ and 8❤,9❤ should be discarded. If you use the joker with these cards, it is no good as a Joker is usually used to substitute another missing card to make the hand. 
  • You cannot use more than two jokers to make a hand. At any point in time, the number of jokers cannot be more than the number of cards in a meld. 
  • Know when to give up on a joker. There is no point in holding on to jokers unnecessarily.
  • At no given time can two jokers be placed next to each other. 
  • Jokers cannot be considered face cards though they may have a face of a clown printed on them.

How to Play the Basic Rummy

  • You need to have 2-6 players to play the basic rummy game.
  • 2 decks of cards, along with the four printed jokers, need to be used.
  • Select the dealer. Each player picks a card to decide the dealer. The one with the lowest value card deals.
  • Every player is dealt 13 cards face-down.
  • A random card is picked from the remainder of the cards and kept face-up, while the rest of the cards are kept face-down in a pile form.
  • All players set their cards. They make whatever hands are possible. Making the pure sequence as soon as possible is crucial since it is compulsory in Rummy. 
  • The player on the left of the dealer will play first. The game carries on clockwise. 
  • Players will pick a card from the closed pile and discard another. Or they may pick a card from the open pile and discard another. 
  • A player may meld the cards and place them on the table face up for all to see during a round. Or, a player may show all the qualifying combinations at the end and say Rummy. He needs to have one card to discard when he says Rummy. All the hands in total should have only 13 cards. Hence when a player wants to say Rummy, they need to have 14 cards, of which they will discard one card. This type of Rummy is called Going Rummy when the player shows all his hands at once during the show. This winner will get a bonus of 10 points, or in some games, his score will get doubled for the hand.

Helpful Tips To Win A Rummy Game

  • Rummy is a game of skill. You should focus well and play this game. A careful player can be a winner. A player with the lowest score wins here.
  • Practice as much as you can, as practice makes one perfect. Watch videos of famous players to understand their strategies. 
  • Choose the game you are good at. You could choose a free-to-play, cash-based, or tournament. The latter is more challenging and involves higher stakes.
  • When the game starts, first arrange your cards by having all of the same suits placed together. You could alternate the colours to avoid confusion between the suit sets.
  • Focus on forming the pure sequence first. Without it, you cannot win. Plus, it helps in reducing your score.
  • Try to get rid of high-value cards if you cannot make a hand out of them. Instead, replace them with wild or joker cards that have 0 value. This will again help you reduce your score. Thus, you don’t have to bear the burden of having higher losses if you lose.
  • Try to avoid taking cards from the open or the discarded pile as much as possible. Your opponents will be keeping a watch on your moves. And picking a card from this pile may give them a hint of the hand you are trying to make. They may deliberately hold the cards you need.
  • It is good to have smart cards. An example of this would be a 6 of any suit. This card could be used to form a sequence with 4&5 or 7&8 of the same suit.
  • Use your joker or wild cards wisely. Know the importance and rules for using the Joker cards. We have explained it above. 
  • Keep a tab on your opponents’ moves. See which cards they discard. It will give you an idea of what they are planning to do. This way, you can hold back the cards that could help them make a hand. This can slow their process of making the needed hands. In online Rummy, when you move the mouse’s cursor on other players, you will see all the cards discarded by them.
  • Know when to leave the game. 
  • Before you declare your cards, please check more than twice. An invalid entry will make you the loser. Only after thorough checking should you hit the button. 

Sequences or Sets A Rummy Player Can Make?

  1. 1 Pure Sequence + 1 Impure Sequence + 2 Sets
  2. 2 Pure Sequences + 2 Sets
  3. 2 Pure Sequences + 1 Set
  4. 2 Pure Sequences + 1 Impure Sequence + 1 Set
  5. 1 Pure Sequence + 2 Impure Sequences + 1 Set
  6. 3 Pure Sequences + 1 Set
  7. 3 Pure Sequences + 1 Impure Sequence
  8. 4 Pure Sequences 
  9. 3 Pure Sequences
  10. 2 Pure Sequences

A sequence could have a minimum of 3 cards and a maximum of 5 cards. A set can have three to a maximum of 4 cards. Based on this, a valid declaration of the required hands could be made. An example of this could be: 

  1. 4 cards of pure sequence hand, 3cards set 3 times (4+3+3=13 cards)
  2. 5 cards of pure sequence hand, 4 cards set 2 times (5+8(4×2)=13 cards)
  3. 5 cards 2 times of (either 1 pure and 1 impure, or two pure) sequence hands, 3 cards set (10(5×2)+3=13 cards)

How are the Scores Calculated?

  • The Basic Rummy game has many versions. But the differences between all these games are not much. They differ based on the calculation of the points or on the rupee amount that is decided beforehand. The main objective of most of these games is to discard cards by creating sequences and sets and scoring the lowest. The one with the highest points loses. 
  • A winner is the one who declares Rummy by showing a valid pure sequence along with another sequence and or a set using 13 cards. The total points of his cards become zero as all his sets are valid. 
  • If a player declares Rummy, but his declaration becomes invalid, then he earns penalty points. If the value of his cards is higher than 80, his penalty will still be a maximum of 80 points.
  • If a player has been lucky to receive 13 cards forming the required sequences and sets without picking any card, he may declare Rummy. This is called Hand Rummy. The value of his cards becomes 0 as he has valid sets. But the players who have played their turn before him and have not packed will have to pay double the amount for their unmatched cards. However, if there were packed players, they would pay 10 points. And, if any players didn’t get a chance to play their turn at all, they will pay the single value of their unmatched cards. Some games do not allow a double score in case of a hand rummy. 
  • Stakes double at times if the wild card is the printed joker. In this type of game, only one joker is allowed. Other rummy games replace the printed joker wild card with the Aces. 
  • The opponents’ cards are scored based on whether they have made the pure compulsory sequence. If they have made a minimum of one pure sequence, then the value of his other cards that have not formed any hand is totalled. But, if he has not made a pure sequence, then the value of all his cards will be considered to score his points. In this case, he will earn a penalty of 80 points. 
  • When a game starts, if a player decides to pack without picking a card, this is called the first drop. For this, he will earn a penalty of 20 points. 
  • If the drop happens later during the game, then he earns a penalty of 40 points. This is true for the 101 points rummy game.
  • The drop penalty points vary from game to game. In a 201 points rummy game, the first drop earns a penalty of 25 points while the second drop penalty is 50 points. 

Variations of the 13 cards Indian Rummy game

The 13-card game is the most played in India. The players must make a pure sequence and another sequence or a set to win the game. There are games similar to the 13 cards game with a few variations. We have listed the famous three below:

Points Rummy

This is the closest variant of the basic 13 cards Rummy game. It is also known as the 80 points Rummy. Players pre-decide the rupee amount per point and play for points. A winner in this type of game will be the one with a score of zero. His opponents’ scores will be calculated, considering all the non-set or sequence cards. This total gets paid to the winner minus the game fee. Beginners love playing this game as it is more straightforward.

Deals Rummy

In this variant of the 13-card Rummy game, a fixed number of cards are dealt. Each player gets a fixed amount of chips at the start of the game. The game involves 2 players and a deck of cards. This game has no drop option, and the maximum a player can lose is 80 points. The winner wins chips from the losing player based on the scores. At the end of the game, the player with the maximum amount of chips wins. 

Pool Rummy

Each player must pay an entry fee, which creates the pool amount. Every table has its own limit set. The winner of this game gets to take the entry fee paid by all his opponents as the prize minus his entry fee amount. This game can be found on many mobile applications. It is very similar to the Points Rummy game, where the game is played till a player teaches the points limit. 


The Rummy Game is a card game that has many versions. The basic version of it involves 2 decks of cards, including the printed Jokers, played by 2 to 6 players. You can play this game online or at home. Since it is a game involving skill, it has been legalised in certain Indian states. 13 cards are dealt to each player, using which valid sequences and sets have to be made. The dealer picks a wild card at the start of the game. This is different from the printed Joker cards but plays the same role. The player with 0 points will become the winner. Once the winner is confirmed, the other players’ scores are calculated and added. This total score or points decides the winning amount of the winner. Beginners could play the free games at first as they don’t involve money. This way, they could learn the game without fearing losing any money. Practice makes a man perfect. Keep practising and improving your skills to become a pro. While playing online, check for casino sites with valid licences and transparent payment methods. We hope you will make the best see of this information and improve your skills.

Guide to playing Rummy FAQs

How many cards does each Rummy player receive?

The number of cards dealt to each player depends on the number of players. If two players play the game, 10 cards are given to each player. When 3 to 4 players play the game, each player is dealt 7 cards. And, 6 cards are distributed each if there are 5 to 6 players.

Can the Printed Joker card be used in Rummy?

Most Rummy games used the printed joker cards along with the wild cards. The wild cards are also termed Joker cards. Gin Rummy doesn’t use printed joker cards.

Is the Rummy game legal in Goa?

Rummy is a game that requires skill. In Goa, this game can be played in registered casinos.

What is the value of Ace in Rummy?

The Ace card can be a high or low card, depending on its use. If used to make the hand A-2-3, the value of Ace here is 1. But, for A-K-Q, it is 10 as it is used as the face card.

What is ‘deadwood’ in Rummy?

Cards that are not part of any set or run are considered deadwood.