OBJECT OF KALOOKI: The object of Kalooki is to have the lowest score at the end of the game.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3 to 6 players

MATERIALS: Two standard 52 card decks plus 4 jokers, a way to keep score, and a flat surface.

TYPE OF GAME: Rummy Card Game



Kalooki is a Caribbean rummy card game for 3 to 6 players. It uses a 108-card deck made of 2 52 card decks and their jokers. The goal of the game is to go out or empty your hand first, as often as possible through the rounds of the game. The players with cards remaining in hand will score them and the player with the lowest score at the end of the game is the winner.


The first dealer is chosen at random and should pass to the left for each new round. There is a total of 9 rounds of play and the number of cards dealt to each player depends on the round. Round one has 9 cards dealt to each player, round two is 10 cards, then 11, 12, 12, 13, 14, 15, and finally round nine has 16 cards dealt to each player.

After cards are dealt, one at a time and clockwise, to each player, a single card is flipped to start the discard pile and the remaining cards are place facedown as the stockpile.

For each round, there is a minimum contract that must be made for a player to lay down their cards. These are a mix of threes and fours (described below) that increase the further in the game you go. For round one you need 3 threes, round 2 needs 2 threes and a four, then 2 fours and 1 three, 3 fours, 4 threes, 3 threes, and 1 four, 2 threes and 2 fours, 1 three and 3 fours, and finally for round nine, 4 fours are needed.

Card Ranking, Values, and Melds

The cards rank Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and Ace (low). Ace can be used as the highest or lowest card but cannot be used to bridge the ranking such as King, Ace, 2. Jokers are used as wild cards and can be made to be any card of any suit. This is discussed more below.

When the hand is over, players with cards remaining will need to score them. A joker is worth 50 points, black aces are worth 15 points, Kings/queens/jacks/10s are worth 10 points, 2s through 9s are worth their face values and red aces are worth 1 point.

Melds in this game are called threes and fours. Threes are 3 or more cards of the same rank. Fours are 4 or more cards of the same suit in consecutive order. When making multiple threes or fours in a round you cannot duplicate the rank or suit used. For example, if you needed to make 2 threes and 2 fours for a round you cannot have two threes of 5s, and you cannot have two fours of hearts.

Jokers can be used in both threes and fours but have restrictions placed on them. In a three there must be at least 2 cards of the rank for it to be legal. So, a 3, 3, joker, joker is legal but a 3, joker, joker is not. In a four you cannot have 2 jokers immediately next to each other in order. So ace, joker,3, joker is fine but ace, joker, joker, 4 is not. Jokers also cannot be discarded in gameplay and can never be removed from three or four but can be moved in a four.


The game begins with the player left of the dealer and is played clockwise. On a player’s turn, they will draw from the stockpile or may draw from the discard pile if they have not played any cards down. After they have drawn, they may play cards down. Then they will finish their turn by discard a card to the discard.

If you have not yet played any cards down, you may also call for a card outside of your turn. You would do this in a player’s draw step to ask for the top discard card. The player whose turn it is, may either allow you to all the card or refuse. They may only refuse if they have played no cards down.

If they allow it the calling player will draw the discard card and the top card of the stockpile. They will now have 2 additional cards in their hand. It continues with the original player’s turn. If they refuse, then they must draw the discard card and continue with their turn.

If multiple people try to call the same card, the first player is the one who would receive it if allowed. Only one call can be made per turn. A player can only have 3 allowed calls per game, and a player cannot call nor can they refuse after they have played cards from their hands.

Playing Cards

When playing down cards you must complete the full contract. So, in the first round, you cannot play out cards from your hand until you have 3 threes to play out. After you have played cards down you may now add any additional cards to the threes and fours played to the board including your own. You must follow all restrictions though when playing, and when adding to a four you can only add to the higher end until the ace is reached. Then you may add to the lower end of the four. If you have the card a joker is representing you may swap your card for the joker. You will then place the joker on the higher end of the four (lower if the ace is reached) but it must follow joker rules. If this would make 2 jokers in a row it is not permitted.

End of Round

When the stock runs out, the first time, the top discard card is left. The remaining discard is shuffled to become the new stock. If the stock runs out a second time before a player goes out, then the round ends. The round must be replayed.

The round ends when a player plays out all cards from their hand or discards to empty their hand.


After a player goes out all the remaining players with cards in their hands must score them. A cumulative score is kept over the 9 rounds.


After the 9th round of scoring is completed the player with the lowest score is the winner.

Amber Crook
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