Rummy Card Games

What are Rummy Card Games?

The widespread view is that Rummy games are of Chinese origin, although they are now extremely popular across the globe. This style of gameplay traveled outside Eastern Asia at the start of the 20th century.

Rummy is viewed as a family of games which rely on a similar mechanism. That mechanism is matching cards or creating sets or melds of cards based on certain constraints. Melds may consist of three of a kinds, four of a kinds, or runs of 3+ cards in sequence. The melds that are legal in a game or when they may be created is defined game per game.

Rummy History

Game Scholar David Parlett believes all modern Rummy games to be descendants of the Mexican game Conquian, which is a card derivative of MahjongThe global nature of Rummy has spawned numerous variations. The foundational Rummy concept of melding is very much a Mahjong trait that has since evolved from tiles to cards.

Rummy is extremely popular in India. Indian Rummy is perceived as an extension of two popular American Rummy games, Gin Rummy and Rummy 500

The Rummy Style


Rummy benefits from using multiple decks. Some games are played with jokers, some without. Players are dealt a hand of (typically) 13 cards, but the precise number is defined in the rules of the particular variant. Cards that are not dealt to players form a stockpile.The game also utilizes a discard pile, this may start empty or start with the top card flipped from the stick. The winner of the previous game is the next dealer, unless the deal passes around the table.


Melds or melding is one of the central defining features of Rummy. Melds are sets or books of cards, they may also be runs. Sets contain 3 or more cards of the same rank. Runs contains cards in sequence, the suits do not have to be the same. Some Rummy games employ wild cards and often they can be traded for the card they substitute.

Playing the Game

The way in which Rummy is played is usually dependent on the number of players in the game. The person the dealer’s left typically starts play. Players can draw from the stockpile or the discard. However, these draws are subject to certain stipulations.

Winning the game may be declared by making certain melds, or melding all your cards in one turn.


After the game concludes, the hands are scored. Players earn positive points for melds and negative points or penalty points for cards left in hand. However, if a player is able to meld all their cards in a turn or in the game they earn extra points. This is, of course, depending on the game.

Rummy Games

Three-Thirteen Rummy

Contract Rummy

Phase 10


Hand and Foot




Nakoa Davis

2 thoughts on “Rummy Card Games”

  1. If you pick up from the pile and realize that you didn’t pick up enough can you go back and pick up more if it is still your turn

    • Hi Sarah, if you have already passed your draw phase, it would be an illegal move, but there is no official rule for this, so I would say it would rely on what your playgroup would rule as fair. I hope this helps.

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