OBJECTIVE OF SHANGHAI: Play all cards in hand by melding them.
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3-5 players
NUMBER OF CARDS: Two 52 card decks
RANK OF CARDS: K (high), Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A
TYPE OF GAME: Manipulation Rummy
AUDIENCE: All Ages
INTRODUCTION TO SHANGHAI
Shanghai that will be discussed in this article is a variation of manipulation rummy. More commonly, there is a version of Shanghai that is a contract rummy game. These are not to be confused and are different games entirely. For more information about rummy card games, click here. The game is suited for anywhere between 3 and 5 players, although 4 is optimal. Players may add more decks if they wish to play with more than 5 people, however, this tends to make the game less interesting.
The first dealer is chosen at random by which ever mechanism players prefer. After, the dealer deals each player a total of 10 cards, dealt in batches or 3, 3, 3, and then 1 card. The cards that remain are placed face-down in the center of the table, these cards will form the stockpile. In hands that follow, the deal passes to the left.
Shanghai begins with the player to the left of the dealer and passes clockwise. On each turn, players play cards from their hand to the table. Players must meld their cards in the following ways:
- Set Meld. A set of 3 or 4 cards with the same rank but different suits.
- Run Meld. A set of at least 3 cards of the same suit AND in sequence.
Players can use some or all cards in hand to meld or add cards to pre-existing melds already on the table. This particular feature is what makes Shanghai a manipulation rummy game.
If you have the ability to meld more than 1 card you are required to. However, this is not to say you must meld EVERY card that can be melded, but at least more than one. After melding, the turn passes to the next player.
Players that are unable to meld any cards must draw 1 card from the top of the stockpile. If they can play that card, they must, if not they are to continue drawing until they draw a playable card. Once they meld a card their turn is over.
Once a player melds their last card the game ends.
The game’s namesake, Shanghai, refers to a particular move in the game. A Shanghai occurs if a player can rearrange some or all of the melds on the table to allow them to play cards in their hand. This is a valid move, permitting all the melds are legal.
The game ends when one player has played all the cards in their hand. That player scores 0 points. Players that remain in the game score 1 point per card left in hand. The game has no official end, hands are continually played until someone reaches the target score and LOSES, or players call off the game.