OBJECTIVE OF CONTINENTAL RUMMY: Be the player with the lowest score at the end of the game


NUMBER OF CARDS: Two 52 card decks and two Jokers

RANK OF CARDS: Ace (low) – King (high), or 2 (low) – Ace (high)


AUDIENCE: Kids to Adult


Continental Rummy is a contract rummy game played over a series of seven hands (rounds).  Each hand requires sequences and/or sets of cards to be built.  Players will have to form a specific amount of trios (a set of three) and runs (sequence of four or more in the same suit) in order to go out and end the hand. 

Trios may contain two cards of the same suit.  For example, a trio of 3 of Clubs, 3 of Clubs, 3 of Hearts is possible.


For this game, you will need two decks of cards and two jokers.  Shuffle the cards together thoroughly and have each player pick one from the deck.  The player with the lowest card is the first dealer.  That player shuffles the cards once more and deals.

Each hand of the game requires a different amount of cards to be dealt.  Once all of the cards are dealt, the rest of the deck is placed in the center of the playing space to become the draw pile.  Flip the top card over to become the discard pile.


FirstTwo TriosSeven Cards
SecondOne Trio & One RunEight Cards
ThirdTwo RunsNine Cards
FourthThree TriosTen Cards
FifthTwo Trios & One RunEleven Cards
SixthOne Trio & Two RunsTwelve Cards
SeventhThree RunsThirteen Cards

Aces can be high (J,Q,K,A), or low (A,2,3,4).  Players may not go around the corner (Q,K,A,2,3).

A trio can be made up of more than one Joker.  If a trio contains two Jokers, the value of the non-Joker determines the trio.  For example, the trio (10, Joker, Joker,) counts as a trio of 10’s.


Play begins with the player to the left of the dealer.  At the beginning of a player’s turn, you may draw one card from the top of the draw pile or the discard pile.  A player’s turn ends once they have discarded one card to the discard pile.

If a player chooses not to draw from the discard pile, any other player may take that card.  If they do, they must also draw a card from the top of the draw pile.  This player does not discard a card.  The extra card drawn is called a penalty card.  This must be done before the player finishes their turn by discarding.  If more than one player wants the card, the player closest to the left of of the player taking their turn gets it.

During a player’s turn, if they have formed the correct combination of cards, they may drop them.  Dropping the cards simply means laying them out on the table in front of the player.  Only drop the cards that are part of the contract.  Any extra cards must be played on runs and trios that have been dropped.  The player who dropped cannot form any other trios or runs during this hand.  Once a player has dropped the required combinations and discarded their last card the hand is over.  It’s time to tally up the score.

It should be noted that dropped cards essentially become community cards that may be played upon by anyone.  However, players are not allowed to play on them until they have met the current hand’s contract and dropped their cards.


On their turn, a player may move Jokers that are used in a run they have dropped in order to lay the card of the actual value in its place.  For example, if a player has dropped the run A,2,3,Joker,5 and has to get rid of a 4, they may move the joker to the end of the run and add the 4 to its correct place.  The new run would then be A,2,3,4,5,Joker.  If the Joker sits at the beginning or end of a run, the Joker may be moved to another run.  A Joker may not be moved if there are only three cards remaining in the run. 


Players earn points based on the cards left in their hands.  The player who ended the hand by discarding their last card earns 0 points. 

Joker = 50 Points

Ace = 11 Points

K – 10 = 10 Points

9 – 2 = Face Value

If a player drops their cards and discards their final card in a single turn, they may subtract 10 points from their score.

Mark Ball
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