Rummy is still one of the best-known card games in the United States, though in many regions it has been superseded by Gin Rummy and Oklahoma Gin. Rummy works better than Gin Rummy when there are more than two players. A pleasing feature of the game is that it is so simple to play and has many variations.
Two to six people can play, and each person plays individually. More than six players should play Double Rum, 500 Rum, or Contract Rummy.
The standard 52-card pack is used.
K (high), Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A. (In many forms of Rummy, the ace may rank either high or low.)
The players draw or cut for deal and the player with the lowest card deals first. Each player may shuffle, the dealer last, although it is customary for the dealer alone to shuffle. The player on the dealer's right cuts.
The dealer gives one card at a time, clockwise, face down, beginning with the player on his left. When two people play, each person gets 10 cards. When three or four people play, each receives seven cards; when five or six play, each receives six cards. The remaining cards are placed face down on the table, forming the stock.
The top card of the stock is turned face up and becomes the upcard. It is placed next to the stock to start the discard pile.
When two people play, the winner of each hand deals the next. When more than two play, the deal passes to next the player on the left.
Each player tries to form matched sets consisting of groups of three or four of a kind, or sequences of three or more cards of the same suit.
Each player in turn, beginning with the player to the left of the dealer, either draws the top card of the stock or takes the top card of the discard pile and adds it to his hand. The player may also lay down on the table, face up, any meld (matched set). If the player does not wish to lay down a meld, he discards one card, face up, onto the discard pile. If the player has drawn from the discard pile, he may not discard the same card on that turn.
A player in turn may add one or more from his hand to any matched set already shown on the table. Thus, if threes are showing, he may add the fourth three; if 10, 9, 8 are showing, he may add J, or Q, J, 7, or 7, 6.
When a player gets rid of all his cards, he wins the game.
If all his remaining cards are matched, the player may lay them down without discarding on his last turn. This ends the game and there is no further play (see scoring).
If the last card of the stock has been drawn and no player has gone out, the next player in turn may either take the top of the discard pile, or may turn the discard pile over to form a new stock (without shuffling it) and draw the top card. Play then proceeds as before.
Each player pays to the winner the pip value of the cards remaining in his hand, whether the cards form matched sets or not. Face cards count 10 each, aces 1 each, and every other card its pip value.
A player goes "rummy" when he gets rid of all cards in his hand at once, without previously having put down or laid off any cards. In this event, every other player pays him double - twice what his opponents would otherwise owe.