Rummy Rules: How to Play Rummy for Beginners


Are you new to rummy, or do you want to discover the correct rummy card rules to help you improve your game? The very nature of rummy is to constantly improve your hand either by drawing cards from the stack or from cards other players have discarded and then discarding a card from your hand. Simple right? Read on to discover the full rummy rules!

Runny Objective

The objective of rummy is to put your cards into two types of combination – this is known as melding. The combinations are;

  • Runs – a consecutive sequence of three or more cards from the same suit
  • Sets – three or more cards of the same rank. Using two decks can be from the same rank and suit.

The winner is the first person to make their whole hand into any combination in any way with one card left to discard.

Rummy Rules – How To Play Rummy

Firstly, let’s go over some rummy rules before we get into gameplay.

  • You cannot pick up the top card, discard it and throw it back on the pile.
  • If you accidentally pick up two cards from the deck, you must put the bottom one back. But the next player then gets to decide if they want to keep it or not. They can look at it and keep it or place it back into the middle of the pack.
  • Suppose you pick up a card you don’t want, do not immediately discard it. Put it into your hand first and then extract it. Don’t give information away to other players too easily.

Rummy Game Play

To set up gameplay, it looks like this;

  • 2 players – 10 cards each
  • 3/4 players – 7 cards each
  • 5/6 – 6 cards each

Starting with the player to the dealer’s left, players can draw the top card from the stock or take the top card from the discard pile and add it to their hand, as appropriate. It is also permissible for the player to lay down any meld on the table face up (matched set). The player may discard one card, face-up, into the discard pile instead of laying down a meld if he does not choose to do so. If a player has drawn a card from the discard pile, they may not discard that same card again on the same round as before.


A meld of cards can be played when a player has a group – three or four cards of the same kind of a sequence, which is three or more consecutive cards of the same suit.

Laying Off

A player may play a card or cards from their hand if they are compatible with a meld that has already been placed on the table. Laying off is a term used to describe this situation. Cards that have been put off are placed on the table in front of the player who will be playing them in the next round.


This is when players discard their cards into a pile separate from the deck. When you take a new card from the deck or the discard pile, you need to discard one of your own cards.

Going Out

A player “goes out” of a rummy game when they play the last card in their hand via melding, laying off or discarding.


Rummy rules when scoring look like this;

  1. Scores are made when a player goes out; all remaining players are scored.
  2. Ace = 1 point
  3. Number cards = face value
  4. Face cards (K,Q,J) = 10 points each

The winner is the first person to meet the predetermined number of points or have the most points when a predetermined number of games has been played.

Going Rummy

“Going rummy” occurs when a player plays all of his cards (in any combination of melding, laying off, and discarding) in a single play after having played no cards at all before that play during that hand. When a player goes rummy, all of their points for that hand are doubled.

Variations of Rummy

There are many different variations of rummy, all of which have their own slightly different rules as to where and with whom you are playing. Other variations of rummy include;

  • 500 Rum
  • Knock Rummy
  • Queen City Rum
  • Contract Rummy
  • Boat House Rum
  • Arlington


So there you go, an overview of rummy rules and the different terms and words associated with the game. If you are serious about perfecting your rummy game, you need to ensure you are updated on the rules as detailed above to improve your gameplay and perfect your strategy.

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