OBJECTIVE OF RUMMY 500: To be the first player to earn a total of 500 points.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2-8 Players
MATERIALS OF RUMMY 500: Standard 52 card deck (Joker is optional)
TYPE OF GAME: Rummy
OVERVIEW OF RUMMY 500
Let’s go over one of the most fun of the Rummy games, Rummy 500. The best part of this game is that there are some good strategies you can learn and use to your advantage. Perhaps you’ve never played before, or maybe you just need a refresher. Whatever the case, let’s go over all the intricacies and rules for Rummy 500 so you can dominate on your next game night!
SET UP FOR RUMMY 500
In Rummy 500, you are going to need a standard 52-card deck, a sheet of paper and pencils, and of course, some friends to play with. You can play this game with up to eight people, however, it is best with three to five players. If there are more than five players, just add a second deck to make sure there are enough cards.
HOW TO DEAL RUMMY 500
Before you begin, you’ll need to choose the first dealer. Drawing cards is a good way to do this. Each player draws a card from the deck; the player with the highest card is the first dealer. The player to the left of the dealer will go first in this round. As soon as the first round is over, the player who played first will deal, and so on.
If there are three or more players, the dealer will deal seven cards to each player, moving clockwise. If you are only two players, then deal 13. Flip the rest of the cards face-down in the center of the table to form the stock deck. Flip the first card face up next to the stock deck to form the discard pile.
One of the big differences between Rummy 500 and many other Rummy games is that you can take any card from the discard pile. This means when discarding, you must place the card overlapping the next card so that all the cards are visible to all players, like in Persian Rummy. We will discuss this in more detail in the section below.
You can look at and rearrange the cards in your hand, but keep them hidden from other players.
HOW TO PLAY RUMMY 500
The play begins with the first player to the left of the dealer and moves clockwise. A turn has three parts: the draw, the meld, and the discard.
You must at least draw one card during your turn. You can choose to take the top card from the stock pile, keep it secret from other players, and add it to your hand. Or you may also draw the top card from the discard pile. The difference between Rummy 500 and others, such as rummy or gin rummy, is that you can see all the discarded cards. This means you may take a previously discarded card even if there are cards above it.
You can take a card from lower in the discard pile in Rummy 500, but you must use it right away and take all the cards on top of it.
For example, in the photo above, if you wanted to take the 10 of hearts, you have to take the 2 of hearts and 8 of spades that are on top of it and then meld the 10 immediately.
After you draw a card, you can meld combinations of cards in your hand by placing them face-up on the table in front of you. You may also lay off cards during your turn (see “Laying Off”).
- A meld can be a set of three or four cards of the same rank. 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 three or more cards that are both consecutive and from the same suit. For example, if all the cards are spades, three, four, five, and six is a valid meld.
In Rummy 500, you score points by adding up the values of melded cards you have on the table and then subtracting the values of cards left in your hand. That is your score for the round. See the “scoring” section for card values.
You can add on to melds if it extends the sequence. This process is called ‘laying off.’ You do this during your turn in the melding phase. You can lay off cards on other player’s melds as well.
For example, if a player has a meld on the table of two, three, and four of hearts, then you can lay off the five of hearts from your hand onto their meld. To do this, you lay the card in front of yourself and let the table know it is for a player’s meld. You do this to keep track of the points for the cards you lay down, even on opponents’ melds.
Jokers are wild cards, so they can substitute any card in a meld. You must announce the rank of the joker when you play it, and it must remain the same rank for the rest of the game. Remember Aces are low and can only be placed in front of a two, not after a king.
The 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 is discarded) OR
- The stock deck runs dry, and the player whose turn it is does not want to draw from the discard. After this, the round ends, and the hands are scored.
After melding and laying off, you discard. You must discard one card face-up on top of the discard pile from your remaining cards in hand on every play. If you draw a single card from the discard pile, you can not discard that card immediately. However, if you drew multiple cards from the discard, you may discard one, as long as it wasn’t the bottom card.
In Rummy 500, anybody can call Rummy, even if it’s not your turn, but only before the next player draws. When you call Rummy, the turn goes to you. Once you discard and finish your turn, the play continues with the player to your left. This means some players can be skipped. There are a few instances in the game when you can call Rummy.
- If you see someone discard a card that could be added to a meld.
- If there are cards left in the discard pile, that can be melded without adding another card.
- If someone lays down a new meld, and one of the discarded cards can be added to the new meld.
EXAMPLES OF CALLING “RUMMMY” IN RUMMY 500
In the first instance, a player discards a card that could be added to another meld. For example, there is a meld on the table of 10, Jack, and Queen of Spades. A player discards a King of Spades and ends their turn. If you’re the first to notice this, you can yell, “Rummy!” You then lay that card in front of yourself to count as one of your points. Remember that the player who discarded the card cannot yell rummy and take the card back. So if this happens to you, don’t call attention to it and hope nobody notices.
In the second example, say there’s a king and a queen of diamonds somewhere in the discard pile. Then, a player discards a jack of diamonds. If you notice this, you yell, “Rummy!” You can then take all the discarded cards from the card lowest in the pile and lay down the meld to count as points for you. You keep the rest of the cards in your hand, then finish your turn by discarding.
In the third instance, let’s say there is a five of hearts in the discard pile. You draw a card, lay down a meld of six, seven, and eight of hearts, and discard a card to end your turn. Any player can then call Rummy. They can take the five of hearts from the discard pile and any cards that are on top of it. They set it in front of them and add it to your meld, scoring points for themselves. If, for some reason, nobody has noticed, you must wait until the next player finishes their turn before you can call Rummy.
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.
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. You then score points for the total of the cards you have melded while subtracting the value of the cards remaining in your hand. Add these scores to your 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.
Two-10 – Face value
J/Q/K – 10 points
Ace/Joker – 15 points*
*If an Ace has been melded in a run with two and three, it is worth only 1 point.
END OF GAME
The gameplay continues until someone reaches 500 points. Highest score wins. In the event of a tie, deal another hand until there is a clear winner.
VARIATIONS OF RUMMY 500 RULES
- Gameplay without Jokers: Rummy 500 was originally played without Jokers. You can decide this before the game starts.
- 5/10/15, some versions of Rummy value cards two-nine = 5 points. 10, J, Q, K = 10 points. Joker = 15 points.
- Discards must be played. Other rummy games are played, where you must meld the card taken from the discard pile, even if it is the top one. You can decide this before the game starts.
- 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.
RUMMY 500 STRATEGY
Rummy 500 is such a fun game because you have to pay attention to everything that is happening. If you miss anything, someone can steal points that could have been yours. Let’s go over some strategies to ensure you keep scoring.
OBSERVE YOUR OPPONENTS
One of the best strategies you can use in Rummy 500 is following what your opponents are doing. By closely monitoring what they are discarding and what they are drawing, you can get a sense of what they might be melding in their hand. This allows you to keep cards they might need to add to their melds, or it can allow you to hold on to cards you can later add to their melds.
USE CARDS WISELY
This tip is one of the most important ones. You should be using your cards wisely, both in terms of laying down cards and keeping some in hand. For instance, you should try to lay down a meld as quickly as possible to avoid negative points if the round ends early. This might mean you take many cards from the discard pile. More cards equal more opportunities to lay down melds.
With this comes the other side, though: if you have too many cards in your hand when a round ends, it can really hurt your score. A good trick is to discard higher-value cards and try to minimize the points in your hand if you can’t get rid of the cards quickly enough. More cards with lower value points can be better than fewer cards of high value at the end of the round.
This also means you shouldn’t fall in love with a meld. If you have two high-value cards and you are waiting for a third, it may be better to discard them. If you wait too long, someone could go out and leave you with all those points in hand. Try and evaluate your cards during every turn and look for opportunities in the discard pile.
Finally, the last tip is always to pay attention to everything. This includes your hand, your opponents, the discards, and the melds. Everything!
Starting with the cards in your hand, some people like to organize the cards in sequential order, and some like to put suits or ranks together. Do whatever works for you and makes the most sense for you. This allows you to to keep track of your cards more easily then if they are in a random order.
Keep an eye on the discard pile. It is being displayed for a reason, and that reason is to help players out. Look for opportunities to take the pile and form melds. Or pay attention to what players collect. If they are collecting all the heart cards, they may be laying down a meld of hearts soon. If there is a heart card in the discard pile, get ready to yell rummy before anyone else.
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