Rummy 500 Rules


OBJECTIVE OF RUMMY 500: To be the first player to earn a total of 500 points.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2-8 Players

NUMBER OF CARDS: Standard 52 card deck (Joker is optional)

RANK OF CARDS: A (15 points), K-Q-J (10 pts),10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2

TYPE OF GAME: Rummy

AUDIENCE: Adults


THE DEAL | HOW TO PLAY RUMMY 500

500 Rummy is typically played with 52 card deck plus the 2 Jokers for a total of 54 cards. With games of 5+ players use two decks. In games with 2+ players, the dealer hands out cards one at a time starting from their left. Each player gets 7 cards. In a 2 player game, each player gets 13 cards. The cards left over form the stockpile, a face-down pile of cards available to every player. The top card of the stock is flipped face-up beside it, this is the discard pile. Cards in the discard must overlap so that they are visible. Players are allowed to look at and rearrange the cards in their hand.

THE PLAY

The play begins with the first player to the left of the dealer and moves clockwise. A turn has three parts:

  1. Players may draw the top card from the stockpile, keeping it secret from other players, and adding it to your hand. Players may also draw one or more cards from the discard pile. You can take cards from within the discard pile if (not on top of it): the card is immediately melded (see below) and you take all the cards above the card you choose to meld.
  2. Players may meld combinations of cards in their hand by placing them face-up on the table. Players may also ‘lay off’ their cards on pre-existing melds, whether it is their own or other players. Melded cards are scored for the player who melded them, so, if you wish to add your card to someone else’s meld place it in front of yourself. The Rummy 500 rules for melding are outlined below.
  3. Players may discard. Unless every card in your hand was used to meld you must discard one card face-up on top of the discard pile. If you drew a single card from the top of the discard pile you are not permitted to discard that card. However, if you drew multiple cards from the discard you may choose one of those to discard again.

How to form a Meld: 

  • A meld can be a set of 3 or 4 cards of equal value. For example, King of Hearts, King of Spades, and King of Diamonds. In games with more than one deck, the meld can not have 2 cards in a group from the same suit. For example, you can not have 2 five of diamonds and one five of hearts, they must be all different.
  • A meld can be a sequence of 3 or more cards that are both consecutive and from the same suit. For example, if all the cards are spades, 3-4-5-6 is a valid meld.

Melds can be added onto if it extends the sequence. This process is called ‘laying off.’ Jokers act as wild cards and can be used to substitute any card in a meld. The rank of the Joker must be announced and remain unchanged through the course of the game.

Game play continues until either a player has no cards left in their hand (this happens when all cards or all but one are melded, and the remaining card goes to the discard) OR if the stockpile runs dry and the player whose turn it is does not want to draw from the discard. After this, gameplay ends and the hands are scored.

CALLING RUMMY

If during gameplay a player discards a card which could have been melded or leaves the discard so that it has cards which can be melded without any additional cards, any player but the one who discarded can call, “RUMMY!” They then can take a portion of the discard pile with the relevant cards. This must be done before the next player draws. The player who called rummy completes the remainder of their turn and from then on play passes to their left. You can not call rummy if the game has ended. If multiple players call rummy for the same card, the player closest in turn order to the discarding player takes the card.

SCORING

The game ends when one player no longer has any cards in hand or the stock is dry and the current player does not wish to draw from the discard. Players then sum the total of the cards they have melded while subtracting the value of the cards left in their hand. These scores are added to each player’s cumulative score. When the game ends you are not allowed to meld anymore. It is possible to have a negative score.

The values associated with cards are as follows. 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 6s, 7s, 8s, 9s, and 10s are all worth their face values. Jacks, queens, and Kings are all worth 10 points each. Aces and Jokers are worth 15 points each. There is an exception however, that an Ace melded in a run with a 2 and 3 is only worth 1 point instead of its usual 15.

Hands are continued to be played until at least one player reaches or exceeds 500 points. Highest score wins. In the event of a tie, another hand is dealt.

VARIATIONS OF RUMMY 500 RULES

  • Gameplay without Jokers, Rummy was originally played without Jokers.
  • 5/10/15, some versions of Rummy value cards 2-9 = 5 points. 10, J, Q, K = 10 points. Joker = 15 points.
  • Floating can occur when a full hand is used to meld. Since you cannot discard play does not end and you ‘float’ until your next turn. On your next turn you can:
    • Draw and discard, ending the game, OR
    • Draw several cards from the discard, which you then meld, then discard a remaining card, ending the game, OR
    • Meld a single card from the stockpile and float again, OR
    • Draw several from the discard, meld some, discard one, and still have at least one card in hand. This keeps the game going like normal.
  • When ending the game or “going out,” the card put in the discard must be unplayable. 

Hope you enjoyed this article about the 500 Rummy Rules. When looking to play Rummy related card games online for real or fake money, choose a regulated online casino site for your region.

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97 thoughts on “Rummy 500 Rules”

  1. When a player melds from the discard pile leaving the top card playable on the table only as a rummy card. Is that allowed?
    Thanks

    • Hey Thomas, I think I understand your question, just let me know if this isn’t the answer your looking for. If you drew just the top card of the discard pile you must discard a different card. However, if you drew more than one card from the discard pile, then after melding, you may discard again the card that was previously on top of the pile. Does this answer your question?

    • Hi Alexandria, yes you can call Rummy in this instance. Any time a player discards or leaves the discard pile in a state where any of the cards can be naturally melded without the aid of additional cards another player can call Rummy.

  2. Can I lay down 1 or 2 cards when it is my turn on another players meld? ex: opponent laid down 2, 3, 4 of hearts. Can I then lay down when my turn and after drawing from pile or discard pile an Ace of hearts or a 5 of hearts…..or both?

    • Hi Teri, hopefully, I understand your question, let me know if I do not. Yes you can lay off cards from your hand unto other players melds, these cards are still played in front of you though for scoring purposes. You may meld as many cards as you are able or wish to from your hand on your turn. You may only discard one card though at the end of your turn.

    • Hi Bella, The deal always rotates clockwise in Rummy 500. In a two-person game this just means you will take turns dealing.

    • Hi Bella, I am not exactly sure what your question is but hopefully, this helps. As far as I know, there are no additional scorings available to players. The only way to score points is to complete melds and have as few cards in your hand at the end as possible.

  3. My wife and I have been engaged in a marathon 500 rummy tournament for almost 3 months now during the Covid-19 pandemic.
    We have had several arguments over the rules. Most notably she says that I am playing “dirty” because I don’t always lay down/reveal a meld immediately when I get it. For example, I may have the K, Q, & J of hearts. Instead of laying down the meld, I may choose to wait and see if I pick up the Ace of hearts, rather than chance letting her pick it up and then lay off on my meld. The risk I take is that she may go out leaving me with a meld in my hand. I have also been known to hold two melds in my hand waiting for the opportunity to “go out” all at once. Please help me understand if this is breaking the rules (as my wife says), or if it is simply, as I believe, a smart strategy. My searches of the 500 Rummy rules on the internet have been unsuccessful in finding any website that says holding melds in your hand is illegal.
    Thanks!

    • Hi Bill, I have never heard of a rule that states a player must immediately play their melds upon getting one in hand. In fact, many other rummy games specify that a player may hold onto melds to play in their own timing. This is offset by the fact if you wait to play and the other player goes out, you will be stuck with that meld which will affect your scoring. I hope this helps!

    • Hey Bill, I hope she’s not too mad, haha, but I am also a firm believer in modifying the rules to fit how you all like to play best.

  4. If opon going out your discard leaves a rummy in discard pile can you go out or suck it up buttercup ? also if playing Jokers also with Aces, do they go up to 20 or 25 points, and when declaring them in a meld, what happens to the card replaced, obviously it cant be used in same run meld but can it act as a meld card if its just a play in a run not by suit? ty

    • Hey Doc, So for the first part of your question. If you discard your last card a player cannot call rummy, even if your card creates a rummy because the game ends once a player has no cards in hand. A rummy cannot be called after the game has ended. For the second part of your question, jokers and Aces are worth 15 points each. this was not made clear, so I have updated the rules. Thank you for letting me know. Finally, cards that have been replaced with a joker can sometimes become “dead cards”. Basically, a card has two places it can be played, in a meld of the same rank of cards or in a run of consecutive cards of its suit. If both of these places somehow become invalidated the4 card can no longer be legally played to the board. they only way to get it out of your hand is to discard it. Hope this helps!

  5. I would like to know if the person who goes out and gets 500 first is the winner. My friend says we still add all the other people’s points and see who is the highest.

    • Hi Kimberly, so when a player reaches or exceeds 500 points the game ends. Since multiple people can achieve this in the same round, the player with the highest total has won.

    • Hi Nick and Kathy, wild cards are an optional rule for Rummy 500. When using this rule you can add the 2 jokers that normally come with the pack of cards to represent the wild cards. As far as I am aware you can use both in the same meld without consequence. Hope this helps answer your question!

  6. Question: Person picks up all the discarded cards and then discards one without playing a meld. I was always taught if you picked up a stack you had to play the bottom card. If you only picked up the top card it was like pulling from the deck. What is the rule on picking up the entire stack of discards ?

    • Hi John, when you draw from the discard you must meld the bottom card of the stack drawn immediately that turn; it is a misplay otherwise. When only drawing one card this still applies, you must meld the drawn card that turn for it to be a legal draw. Hope this helps!

  7. Here’s my situation: On my turn in a two player game, I have picked up a few cards from the discard pile, with the intent to lay down the bottom card in a run of consecutive cards. When I have laid those cards down — and before I have discarded to complete my turn — I noticed that I can pick up an additional few cards from the discard pile to add another card to that run. I’m being told that I cannot go back and pick up from the discard pile again, even though I have not yet discarded to complete my turn. Your thoughts please?

    • Hi Dave, this would be a non-legal play unfortunately. Your turn is completed in steps, and once you complete your draw step, which you can only perform once you must move onto the melding step. You cannot go back to draw an additional time.

  8. Hi there
    I have 2 questions I played this game last night with 3 other people who really didn’t now the game so I was trying to show them and not sure if I was right about the rules, In one instance a player picked up from the discard pile several cards up to the #3 he wanted for three #3″s but further down the pile was fourth 3 so another player wanted to pick up that other three to put in front of her without making meld just using the 3 for points is that allowed?
    and my second question is another player put down a run of like 5,6,7,8 and in the discard pile was the 4 and 9 of the same suit can the player to that persons left just pick up that 4 and 9 and put them in front of her then continue with her turn?

    • Hi Patricia, both of these are allowed. When you draw more than one card from the discard pile you must meld the bottom card drawn. So if you want the 3 that’s 4 cards from the top you can take the three but must take all the other cards on top of it. The three must be melded, whether in a new meld or laying off on a previously established meld. I hope this helps!

  9. Question:
    In a two-person game, If a player is discarding, and notices that he/she is making a rummy -or creating a 3-card meld- in the discard pile, can that same player (the one discarding and making the rummy) call rummy?

    Does the answer change if it is a three- or more person game?

    Thanks

    • Hi Susan, no a player who discarded cannot call rummy on themselves. You can only call rummy on other players’ discards.

    • Hi Lorraine, it depends on if you are playing certain variations or not. In the base game, however, yes you must have a card to discard at the end of your turn to go out.

  10. If a player picks up (from the discard pile) and lays down 2 cards (one from the discard and one from his hand) on another player’s meld… but the cards didn’t go in sequence so the play was erroneous… does the player put all the cards back and then retake his turn… or would his turn be over?

    • Hi Susan, as far as my research can tell there are no official rules for misplays in Rummy 500. This would be up to the discretion of the group to decide. I might suggest a replay of the turn or a skip of their turn if the table felt the misplay was bad enough for punishment. Hope this helps!

  11. My girl friend and I were playing 500 rummy last night and she was getting close to having 500 points. I laid down a lot of melds in a hand and “went out”. After counting up our points, our score wound up being exactly the same, both of us 515 points. What do you do in the event of a tie score?

    • Hi Roberta, not quite. If a player discards a card that can be immediately melded with no additional cards used you may call rummy to do so. Otherwise, you must wait till your turn to draw and meld.

  12. Question about laying cards on a meld. Ex:

    -Player A has a meld of 7-8-9 of Hearts.
    -Player B puts down the 10 of Hearts

    Can Player A now put down the Jack of Hearts?

    • Hi Mike, PLayer A may play the Jack of hearts to the meld on their turn. As long as you as a player have laid down at least one meld you may lay off on any other player’s melds including your own.

  13. I am unclear, if there is a card that is 4 deep in the discard pile and someone melds, and this card will play on their meld when it’s my turn may I pick the pile up to that card and play it even if I don’t have another meld?

    • Hi John, if you do draw this card from the discard pile you must immediately use it to form a meld otherwise it is an illegal draw. You cannot use it to lay off on other players’ melds either it must be used with the cards in your hand to form either a set or run of 3 or more cards. I hope this helps.

  14. Hi. Thanks for your thorough answers and rules! Just to be clear, does a player have the choice to draw one card from the discard pile or from the deck without having to immediately meld the top card of the discard pile? We have different family rules, so it would be nice to know the official rules.

    • Hi Dan, when drawing from the discard pile you must immediately meld the lowest card you drew from the discard pile. If you drew just the top card you have to meld that one, but if you drew the top three cards you must meld the third card down. I hope this helps.

  15. Suppose a player melds a 4, 5, and 6. There is an 8 in the discard pile. I am holding the 7. Is it okay, on my turn, to pick up from the discard pile the 8 and whatever cards were discarded from that point and play on the 4, 5, and 6–my 7 and the 8?

    • Hi Fran, yes as long as you use that 8 within the turn in a meld you have met the requirements from drawing it. However, I am aware some players use a variation that states you must immediately meld the card, in which case you would not be able to. you should always check with your playmates before the game to make sure all players are on the same page.

  16. I had already played two melds. In my hand I had 8,9,10 and q of diamonds my opponent on his turn threw down the j of diamonds which I picked up to make my meld higher and I discarded the 8 to go out. Is this allowed.

  17. Hi! I have 2 questions:
    1. How many points do you have to put down initially?

    2. If someone put down Ace of hearts, Ace of diamonds and a joker – can another player put the two red jokers onto sequences on the table and take the joker to be whatever card he wants it to be or does he have to replace the joker with a black Ace?

    • Hi Zehavie, for your first question there are no standard points you have to place initially. A player may meld any legal meld on their turn, or lay off cards onto already established melds if they have placed one themselves. For your second question, jokers must be declared when placed in a meld. A player must state what rank and suit the joker is meant to be, and jokers are not replaceable in rummy 500. you cannot replace them to pick them up to replay. Once a joker is placed it remains in the meld for the game. I hope this helps.

  18. Hello, Please settle this dispute:
    1. My step-father believes that during his turn, if he lays down a meld, say three jacks, but then during that same turn, he sees that he could use one or more of those jacks in a run, say jack, queen, king, ace, he thinks he is allowed to pick up his jacks and play one or all of them differently. Basically, during his turn, he lays down a meld, sees another option, picks up the meld he just laid down, and now makes a new meld.
    – FYI – My mother and I disagree. We feel once cards have left your hand and are placed on the table in a meld, they stay there.
    Please advise:
    Andy & Mom

    • Hello Andy, while there’s not any official ruling for this, with most melding games once you place a meld on the table you cannot pick it back up into your hand. With tournaments especially, the rule is usually if your opponents see your cards the play is final. I hope this helps in some way.

  19. I have a question about picking up from the discard pile. If you pick up multiple cards, I know you have to play the farthest back card you picked up. Where I disagree with my mom is that I believe you have to make a meld with that card and cards from your hand and only then can you use additional cards from the discard pile that were picked up. She believes if there are two 3’s for example in the discard pile you can pick up all cards starting from the first 3 and play the two 3’s with one from her hand. Where I think you have to have two cards in your hand that play with that first 3 and only then can add the additional 3 from the discard pile, that you took, to your meld.

    • Hi Angela, there are not any restrictions on melding the last card drawn other than it must be melded within the turn. You can use the cards drawn along with it, or cards from your hand, or you can simply add the card drawn to an already established meld. it just must be melded before ending your turn. I hope this helps.

  20. Recently playing a game with 4 players. On my turn I drew from the discard pile and melded the remaining cards in my hand and did not have anything to discard. So the next player went, then the next player, on the last players turn they also drew from the discard pile and melded and did not have anything to discard but the discard pile and draw pile was out of cards. What happens?

    • Hi Crystal, the game should have ended after you concluded your turn with no cards in hand. I hope this helps. The game ends either when a person has no cards in hand or when the stock is empty and the drawing player wishes not to take from the discard pile.

  21. Hello, when playing with 2 decks of cards (6 players) and Player A has laid down a 4,5,6 of hearts and Player B has built on Player A’s meld with a 7 & 8 of hearts can Player C also put down a 7 & 8 of hearts to build on Player A’s meld? Thanks!

  22. If I have melded a q/k/a and a j/j/j, and then my opponent lays a j which could apply to either of my melded cards but does not indicate which of my meld he is intending, do I have the right on my next turn to lay a 10 as I wish?

    • Hi Chris, unfortunately, there is no official answer for this. Since the other player did not declare which meld they were laying off to then this would be a misplay. I would ask before melding yourself which they intended to lay off on, but it would be totally up to the play group how they wish to deal with this misplay. I hope this helps!

  23. Hello. When playing Rummy 500, can a player deliberately lay down a discard that could go on a meld (say for instance a 2) because they don’t want to discard any of their other cards, hoping for a higher yield meld with them. I understand the opponent can pick up the 2 and get the 2 points for it, but does the one who laid the card have to discard something else after being called rummy on.

    • Hi Leanne, You absolutely can do this. You don’t have to discard another card, and other than the other player getting the bonus meld, there is no penalty to you. I hope this helps.

    • Hi Charley, if you are drawing from the stockpile you may immediately discard that card. If you are drawing from the discard pile the card drawn must be melded and cannot be discarded. I hope this helps.

  24. Hi there,

    I was taught that to lay down any melds, you must “open” first with a four card opener (ie: 4 of a kind, or a run with 4). Is that a recognized variation? If so, if there is rummy in the discard pile and the person hasn’t opened yet, can they still take and play it?

    thank you 🙂

    • Hi Mary, in traditional Rummy 500 melds need to be 3 or more cards in order to lay them down. I have not heard of a variation that requires four in my own research but maybe another community member has? As for calling rummy, any player may call rummy at the end of a player’s turn if the card that player discarded can be used to expand a preexisting meld or if discarding the card makes a meld possible with the other cards in the discard pile. Rummy must be called before the next player draws. I hope this helps.

  25. Hi there, in playing the game, I lay down an AKQJ10 of the same set, can I then start I,2,3,4 on the other end of the Ace card, or can I add 9,8,7,6, etc after the 10 on this same game.

    • Hi Maria, Ace cannot be used to bridge, AKA, you cannot do King, Ace, 2. It can be used as the high card or the low card but not both. For your secondary question, yes 9, 8, 7, 6, etc. can be added to the meld as long as it is the same suit. I hope this helps.

  26. Our family learned from my grandmother and we’ve all played our whole lives. The only rule variation we play with, and I don’t know where it came from (I don’t see it in comments either), is Queen of Spades is valued at 40. We’ve always played that way and it really can swing a hand. She’s exciting to use as much as she is to go out with an opponent stuck with her in had as a deduction

  27. Hi I want to know if aplayer lays down a final card to go out but that card is a playable card can the next player pick it up to play and continue the play around until an actual nonplayable discard

    • Hi Tine, the game ends once a player has no cards left in hand. A player would not be able to call rummy on their discard. I hope this helps.

  28. If Player A has one card left in their hand (Example: 9 of hearts) and that card can be played on another players meld (Example: Player B has 6-7-8 of hearts layed down), can Player A discard the 9 hearts and go out effectively ending the round or could another player call “Rummy” (on the discarded 9 of hearts) and keep the round going with Player A having no cards in their hand?

    • Hi Jay, the game ends once a player has no cards left in hand. A player would not be able to call rummy on their discard. I hope this helps.

  29. Not ending the game, if a meld I can play will create a rummy with the discards can I play it? Or can I play it and call rummy? Along the same note, if I pick up a card from the stock-pile and I have other cards, but discarding the card I drew would create a rummy, can I discard and call a rummy?

    • Hi Kyle, you can still discard even if it would set up rummy being called, however if you are the person discarding you cannot call rummy for that meld. I hope this helps.

  30. Hi, one thing I’m not quite clear on. If I pick up several cards from the discard pile, say 5 cards. (After using the 5th card in a meld), do I disgard only 1 card at the end of my turn?

  31. Hi! I have a question. If a player has 2,3,4 and 6,7,8 of the same suit, can they put both melds down separately or can they only put one down and add to it? Thank you!

    • Hi Brittany, you can play both as melds but would only be able to play the 5 of the same suit to one fo the melds. They could never be combined. I hope this helps.

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