My mom and step-dad absolutely love the card game Rummy. As a result, my sister and I have also come to love this game. During my high school years, it was our main go-to game on homework-less evenings and slow weekend afternoons.


  • a deck of cards with jokers included
  • pencil and paper for keeping score

Game Play

Rummy is played in rounds. At the beginning of each round, the role of “dealer” moves to the left. At the end of each round, each person’s score for that round and new total is calculated and recorded.

A round of Rummy goes as follows:

  1. The dealer deals out eight cards to each person and places the rest of the deck face-down in the middle of the table. The dealer then flips the top card and places it face-up beside the deck.
  2. The person to the left of the dealer begins play. She has two options to start her turn: pick up a card from the deck or pick up the face-up card. However, she may only pick up the face-up card if she can “use” it right away.
  3. If you pick up a card from the deck, you may choose to lay down scoring cards face-up in front of you. These scoring cards do not have to include the card that you just picked up. If you pick up a face-up card, you must immediately lay down scoring cards and these scoring cards must include the card that you just picked up.
  4. To end your turn, you discard a card from your hand to the face-up card(s) beside the deck. Only partially cover up the current face-up card(s). A “track” of face-up cards will begin to form beside the deck.


  • You may pick up any face-up card in the track of cards, as long as you can use it right away. However, you must also take all cards that are on top of the card you want. You only have to use the card that you want, i.e. the bottom card of what you take.
  • the game ends as soon as a player has no cards in her hand.


When you place cards face-up in front of you, you must place a set of at least three cards. There are two exceptions to this: adding to a set that you have already played or “rummying” off of an opponent’s set. There are two types of sets that you can place in front of you: a sequence of consecutive cards of the same suit or cards of the same number. An ace can be either the lowest or the highest card, but not both at the same time. For example, you may not score a sequence of K, A, 2.

Rummying: placing a single or a few cards that continue another player’s set.

At the end of a round, each face-up card numbered 2 to 9 scores five points. Each face-up card numbered 10 to K scores ten points. Each face-up ace scores fifteen points. Each card left in your hand when the round is over scores the negative amount for that card, e.g. a jack left in your hand scores -10 points.

The Jokers: the wild cards. You may use a joker as any card when placing sets, as long as that card (that your joker is pretending to be) is not already being used as a scoring card. When someone gets the card that your joker is imitating, that person must at some point trade the actual card with your joker. A joker receives the number of points that the card it is imitating would receive. However, if you have a joker in your hand when the round ends, it is worth -25 points.

Play continues until a player reaches either 350 or 500 points. Decide beforehand how long you want the game to be.


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