OBJECTIVE OF SEVEN BRIDGE: Be the player with the highest score at the end of the game

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 – 4 players

NUMBER OF CARDS: Standard 52 card deck

RANK OF CARDS: (low) Ace – King (high)


AUDIENCE: Adults, Family


Seven Bridge is a Rummy game played in Japan, and it is lightly influenced by Mahjong. In this game, 7’s are a special card that allows for unique melds to be formed.  Special rules regarding the discard pile allow for turns to be interrupted and even skipped! 

In most Rummy games, players have the choice to take a card from the draw pile or the discard pile, but in Seven Bridge that is not the case.  Players may only draw from the discard pile under certain circumstances.


Seven Bridge is played with a standard 52 card deck.  To decide who is the first dealer and scorekeeper, have each player take a card from the deck.  The player with the lowest card must deal and keep score.

The dealer should shuffle the cards thoroughly and deal seven cards to each player one at a time.  The remaining cards are placed face down in the center of the playing space.  These cards make the draw pile.  The top card is flipped over to become the discard pile.


Each player’s turn is composed of three parts: draw, meld, and discard. 

To begin their turn, a player draws from the draw pile.  A card may only be drawn from the discard pile under certain circumstances (see below). Once the player has drawn, they may play any legal melds face up on the table in front of them.  During the melding phase of a turn, players may also lay off cards.  Laying off involves playing one or more cards onto melds that have already been played. 

A player’s turn ends with them discarding a card from their hand to the discard pile.  A player must always end their turn by discarding. 

Play like this continues until one of the players goes out by discarding their final card.


There are special rules in regards to drawing from the discard pile.  Players may never draw from the discard pile on their first turn.  When drawing from the discard pile, that card must immediately be played with at least two other cards to form a meld.  When a player decides that they want the top card from the discard pile, they must signal to the table their reason for wanting it.  Do this by saying chi or pon

If it is your turn, and you wish to use the previous player’s discard as part of a run, you say, “chi”.  Take the top card from the discard pile rather than drawing from the draw pile.  Continue your turn as normal and end it by discarding.

If a player discards a card that you would like to use in a set, you can take it by saying pon.  This can be done whether it is your turn or not.  If it is not going to be your turn, you must say pon before the next player draws a card.  By saying pon, you interrupt the turn order and make it your turn.  If the player has drawn, it is too late for anyone to say pon.  Once a player interrupts by saying pon, they may take their turn, and play continues with the player on their left.  This means that other players might be skipped! 

A player claiming pon takes precedence over a player claiming chi.  If more than one player claims chi, the player closest to the left of the current player’s turn gets the card.  The same goes for pon


There are two types of melds in Seven Bridge: sets and runs.  A set is composed of three or four cards of the same rank. For example, 3-3-3 is a set.  A run is composed of three or more cards of the same suit in sequence.  For example, 2-3-4-5 all of spades would be a run.

The 7 is a very special card in Seven Bridge.  If a 7 is used in a meld, only two cards are required for the meld.  So, in a set, 7-7 is perfectly legal.  In regards to runs, 6-7 and 7-8 are perfectly legal.  You can even play a 7 by itself as a one card meld.

If a player plays a single 7, other players may lay off on it.  For example, if someone plays the 7 of hearts, another player can lay off the 8 and 9 of hearts to form a run.  Once a player lays off on an individual 7, it cannot be used for a different type of meld.  For example, if a player lays off the 8 and 9 of hearts, a different player cannot lay off a 7 of spades to form a set.  The 7 of hearts has already been used to form a run, so it is now off limits for sets.

Remember, in this game Aces are always low.  A-2-3 is a legal meld, but Q,K,A is not.


Once a player goes out, they win, and the round is over.  The player who goes out earns points equal to the total value of cards left in their opponents’ hands.  If a player goes out by melding all seven cards from their hand at once (without previously melding any other cards), their score is doubled for the round.

In Seven Bridge, cards are worth the following point values:

Jacks, Queens, Kings = 10 points each

Aces = 1 point each

Sevens = 20 points each

2-10 = face value of card


Play one round for each player in the game.  For example, if there are four players, the game will have four rounds.  The player with the highest score at the end of the game wins.  In the event of a tie, players involved in the tie should continue playing until the tie is broken.

Mark Ball
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