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If you know how to play Rummy, you will agree that it is one of the great classics among card games.

7. August 2016 - Anika Semmer

How to Play Rummy – And Why You Will Love This Game | Game Rules


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There are classic games that you have to play at least once in your life! Rummy is such a game, because it has everything that makes a really good card game: it is entertaining, can be learned quickly and has many variations. This is how to play Rummy, the card game that is not world-famous for nothing!

Rummy, Gin Rummy, Rami or Rommee?

Many names – one game? Yes and no. In Germany, Rummy refers to various laying and combination games with cards, whose origin is the Mexican game Conquian. On its worldwide triumphal march, the card game rummy generated many different variants. So if a Frenchman wants to play Rami, a Briton Gin Rummy and a German Rummy together, these are 3 versions of Rummy typical in the respective country.

The rummy variant how to play rummy presented at Abenteuer Freundschaft largely corresponds to the “German Rummy” most common in this country.

After the rules you will find 6 additional suggestions for game variations. These additional rules and variations make the classic game even more fun. Rummy is the perfect card game for cosy leisure time at home, with friends or family. 🙂

How to Play Rummy (German Rummy)

  • Players: 2-6
  • Accessories: 2 decks of 52 cards + 6 jokers, for a total of 110 cards, pen and paper to keep score
  • Skills required: tactics, attention, luck

Before Playing Rummy

This how to play Rummy may convince you that the card game is downright addictive.

Drawing cards while playing rummy

German rummy is a card game in which each player plays for himself, against everyone else. Unlike classic Whist, there are no teams. At the beginning, all the cards are well shuffled and laid out in a fan-shaped sheet. Each player draws a card from this sheet and places it in front of them.

The player with the highest card has free choice of seat and is the giver of the first round. Now the players sit down to the left of him in the order in which their cards become lower. The player with the lowest card sits to his right. During the following rounds of the game, in a clockwise direction, everyone is the dealer once.

The dealer shuffles the cards again and places the pile of cards in front of his right-hand neighbour to be picked up. Clockwise, the dealer deals 13 cards face down to each player and deals 14 cards to himself. The dealer places the remaining cards face down in the centre of the table as a card push.

Variation: If the player sitting on the right discovers a joker during the draw, he may rob it: i.e. keep it!

The Object of the Game

The aim in German Rummy is to arrange your own hand into pieces and lay them out. The first player to lay out all his cards – called “”report”” in rummy – wins the round.

Figures in German Rummy

Rummy is a card game known all over the world

A set of kings playing rummy

In rummy, combinations of at least three cards are called figures. These can be sets with several of the same card values or a series of consecutive cards of one suit.
Example sentences: ♣D ♠ D ♥D ♦D or ♣5 ♠5 ♥5 ♦5

Example of consequences: ♥10 ♥B ♥D ♥K or ♣A ♣2 ♣3 but not ♣K ♣A ♣2!

Jokers can be used as substitutes for any card. If a rummy player places a piece consisting of three cards, however, a maximum of 1 card may be a joker. Only in the case of figures consisting of 4 or more cards may two jokers be used. These two jokers may also follow one another directly.

Example Joker: ♠9 J ♠B and ♦5 J J ♦8 are allowed, not allowed: ♦9 J J!

Not all joker combinations are allowed in Rummy.

Allowed joker combination in Rummy

This Is How Card Values Count

All picture cards, i.e. jack, queen and king, count 10 points each. The number cards 2 to 10 count according to the value of their card. If the Ace is in a piece after the King or in a set, it counts as 11 points. If it lies in a sequence with the 2 and 3, then it counts only 1 point on the first report.

Important: The value of a joker corresponds to the card value it replaces at the initial declaration. In the final settlement, however, a joker counts as 20 points!

The Game Starts

The dealer is the only player with 14 cards in his hand and starts the game. As his first move, he may declare pieces if the total value of all his cards is at least 40 points. This is the basic requirement for the so-called first report. Once he has finished, he ends his turn and places a card of his choice face up next to the deck. Now it is the turn of the players to the left.

This Is How Each Turn Goes

1. Pick Up the Card

Each player begins his turn by either picking up the card discarded by the previous player or by drawing the top card from the deck.

2. Laying Pieces After the Initial Announcement

After this, the player may lay out pieces. But before a player may lay pieces, he must fulfil the so-called first report. That is, the first time he lays out or ”reports” card combinations, they must have a total value of 40 points. Once the first report has been made, the number of points is unimportant for all subsequent reports.

3. Create Cards and Rob Jokers

If the player has already laid out his initial entry in rummy, he may, beginning with this turn, place cards on any pieces already laid out on each turn. The player may place any cards that complement the laid-out piece.
Example: to a set with three kings ♣K ♥K ♦K , add a fourth, i.e. ♣K ♥K ♦K + ♠K.

Example: Add heart ♥4 or ♥8 to the sequence ♥5 ♥6 ♥7 in the colour heart, thus ♥4 ♥5 ♥6 ♥7 ♥8.

In German Rummy there are a total of 6 jokers in the game, which can replace any cards in pieces. If a joker is in a piece and the player has the card that corresponds to the value of the card that the joker replaces, he may replace the joker. However, he must immediately place the joker in a new figure and may not include it in his hand.

4. Discard Card

The final action of the turn is always to discard a card to the discard pile. This ends the turn.

The End of the Game

The rummy game round ends when a player plays all his cards and places the last card on the discard pile. This player is the winner. Now all the other players add up the values of the cards in their hand. This value is noted as the so-called bad points after each round of the game.

Winning With Hand Rummy

In a hand rummy, a player’s cards are so good that he or she can lay all the cards at once – before another player’s first hand. For a hand rummy the exception rule applies that the laid out pieces do not have to meet the minimum requirement of 40 points for the first report! In addition, the bad points of the other players in a hand rummy game count double.

How to Play Rummy Variations and Additional Rules

Rummy knows countless variations .

This sequence of diamonds scores 50 points

1. Variation of the First Message

It takes you too long for some rummy players to get the score together for the first message? Lower the level of the score given for the initial entry to 35 or 30. Of course, you can also raise the level to 42, 45 or even 50.

2. Variation By Additional Rule

A player may only pick up the top card of the discard pile if he immediately uses this card for a figure or also “”message””. Whether it is a first message with at least 40 points or a subsequent message does not matter..

3. Variation By Tightened Joker Rule

Substituted jokers may only be exchanged in a set if the set becomes complete with 4 cards of the same rank, for example ♣K ♥K ♦K+ ♠K.

4. Variation By Additional Rule

By tapping on the table, a player whose turn it is not may declare interest in the newly discarded card at the end of the turn. If the player whose turn it is does not want to take this card, the tapper may take it.

5. Variation With Winning Bet

Each time a game round is won, the winner gets a token (or coin). Before the game, it is decided what the player with the most collected tokens will receive as a trophy. This can be a mascot that goes home with the winner as a trophy after the game evening. Or the losers come up with a surprise for the winner, which he gets at the next game night with friends.

6. Variation Robber Rummy

In Robber Rummy, laid-out pieces may not only be supplemented by laying them out: all laid-out pieces may be recombined.
Example: The player holds a ♦8 in his hand. He can discard this card at the ♦6 ♦7 ♦8 ♦9 ♦10 figure by taking away the ♦6 and ♦7 and laying out a new set of ♦6 ♦7 ♦8.

Example: The sets ♣9 ♥9 ♠9 and ♥7 J ♣7 are on the table. The player has ♥8 ♣8 and ♠10 in his hand and can thus recombine and discard them: ♣7 ♣8 ♣9 and ♥7 ♥8 ♥9 and J ♠9 ♠10.

Important basic rules: There is no discard pile in robber rummy and at the end of the turn all the pieces laid out must consist of at least three cards in a set or sequence: even if they have been completely recombined. Jokers can remain when “”resolving”” a piece, so they do not have to be replaced with the corresponding card!.

Have fun at your game night with rummy!

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At Abenteuer Freundschaft you will find not just the game rules how to play rummy but many more tips for a games night. There are also lots of different activities to discover with friends, partner and family.

Never miss out on more tips and ideas from Abenteuer Freundschaft by simply following us on Facebook and Instagram. 😉

*There are affiliate links in this article. This means that if you order a product from amazon via one of these links, Abenteuer Freundschaft will receive a small commission without the product becoming more expensive for you.


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