# Rummy

## Game rules

Rummy is a popular card game, the goal of which is to get rid of your cards as quickly as possible by forming combinations on the table. The first player who has no cards left in their hand is the winner of the round.

One plays with two, three or four decks of 52 cards depending on the number of players (two decks with 2 to 4 players, three decks with 5 or 6 players, four decks with 7 or 8 players). The dealer deals 14 cards to each player, puts the rest of the pile as stock, then each player plays in turn.

When it's your turn:

- Your turn starts by drawing a card from the stock or the discard pile
- Then you can put new combinations on the table (also known as
*melding*), or extend those which already exist (also called*laying off*) (see further down). - Finally your turn ends by discarding one card to the discard pile.

You don't have to keep a final card to discard if you finish the round by playing all your cards.

When you have three or fewer cards in your hand, you must announce it so that other players are aware of it (this is automatic on the playroom).

### Combinations

The main objective of the game is to put combinations on the table, of which exist two general types: *runs* also known as *sequences* or *straights*, and *sets* sometimes also called *books*.

Each combination gives you a certain number of points depending on the cards composing it. However, once on the table, a combination no longer belongs to you and any player having adequate cards can extend it. Extending a combination consists of adding cards at the beginning or at the end of it. This also gives you points.

#### Runs or sequences

A *run* or *sequence* is a series of at least three consecutive cards of the same suit. For example, 9, 10 and jack of spades. An ace can either follow a king or precede a 2. Runs queen, king and ace as well as ace, 2, 3 are both accepted.

#### Sets or books

A set is a series of at least three cards of the same rank but with a different suit. Each suit can only be represented once in a set, they can thus never contain more than 4 cards. For example, 3 of hearts, 3 of spades and 3 of clubs.

A set of 4 cards is sometimes said to be *closed*, meaning that it isn't possible to extend it further. Terms *three of a kind* and *four of a kind* originating from poker sometimes also appear to indicate sets of respectively 3 and 4 cards.

### Jokers

A joker is a special card that can replace any other card at will. It can be used to create an incomplete run or set in which one doesn't have the third required card, but you aren't supposed to use it to extend an existing combination which is already on the table.

Once on the table, a joker is identical to the card it replaces. There could be at most only one single joker by combination.

The player owning the card equivalent to the joker can take it and put his card at its place. The joker taken back this way must be played in the same turn to form a new combination. It can then replace any other new card different than the previous one, at the player's will. If the player who took back a joker didn't play it immediately, he gets 300 penalty points. A joker can be taken back only if there isn't any ambiguity on the card it replaces.

For example, Alice puts the run queen of spades, king of spades and joker. If Bob has the ace of spades, he can take the joker. If in his hand he had a 7 of hearts and a 7 of diamonds, then he can create a new set with these three cards.

Now, if Cedric has a 7 of clubs, he can't take the joker immediately because there is an ambiguity (the joker can either replace a 7 of clubs or a 7 of spades). He can put his 7 of clubs to extend the set, but the 7 of spades will then be needed in order to effectively take the joker.

### Discard

The discard is the pile of cards that players decide to junk at the end of their turn. When the stock pile is exhausted, the discard pile is shuffled to make a new stock, this is quite rare.

In most rummy variants, at the beginning of their turn, a player can decide to take the first card of the discard pile (the one junked last) instead of drawing from the stock. He should usually use the card taken immediately to create or extend combinations on the table, but it's not an obligation. Some variants allow to take more than one card from the discard, or disallow it altogether (see further down under variants).

### First meld

The first meld consists of one or more combinations which sum up to a defined minimum of points, from 30 to 80 depending on variants, 40 or 50 on average. Until you are able to meld enough combinations reaching the required total in the same turn, it isn't possible to actually participate in the game by extending existing combinations. It is also forbidden to take cards from the discard instead of drawing from the stock.

Therefore, at the beginning of the game, it is only possible to draw and discard while waiting to make your initial meld. It is often said that you *entered the game* when doing so, because all restrictions on melding and laying off are then gone once that's done. From that moment on, you can meld any single combination or lay off anywhere.

### Scoring

Each card that becomes part of a combination brings a certain number of points to its owner. However, once a card is on the table, it no longer belongs to anyone.

Points are traditionally counted at the end of the round, and different intricate ways of disposing cards are used to remember who did what. On the playroom, everything is automatically scored as the game progresses (points are immediately marked as cards are played).

- Cards from 2 to 9 are worth 5 points
- 10 and face cards are worth 10 points
- An ace is worth 5 points if it comes before a 2 and 15 points if it follows a king.
- In a set, an ace is always worth 15 points
- A joker is worth the same as the card it replaces

At the end of a round, the winner also gets all the points from the cards other players still had in their hands. In that case, a joker is worth 20 points and an ace is always 15.

A 100 points bonus is given if the winner ends the round while no other player yet melded.

If the winner entered the game and played their entire hand in one go during the same turn finishing the round, we say that they made a *rummy* and they get a bonus of 200 points. If they do so by using only their own hand, meaning without laying off, then the bonus becomes 300 points.

This bonus is cumulative with the previous one! If a player makes rummy while nobody else melded, they can have a total bonus of 300 or 400 points.

## Variants

### Variants regarding the discard

Several discard variants exist:

- No discard: there is no discard at all, and players even don't have to discard a card at the end of their turn. This often makes the game easier.
- Mandatory discard: you must discard at the end of your turn, but it isn't possible to take back cards from the discard pile. In other words, discarded cards again become available only when the stock is exhausted. This makes the game less interesting, but easier.
- Single discard: it's the most common variant, which allows players to take the top card of the discard pile if it can be reused immediately.
- Multi discard: in this variant, a player can take multiple cards from the discard if they wish to do so. If they target a particular card, they also have to take all cards on top of it. With this variant, the game becomes more tactical, but the incentive to try making a rummy decreases slightly.

### Scoring variants

The playroom proposes two different ways of counting points:

- Normal mode: it's the one explained above as a default rule
- Traditional mode: in this mode, points are no longer rounded up to 5 units. Cards from 2 to 9 are worth their face value, face cards always 10, and aces 1 or 11. Some players think that default counting by 5 points is a bad simplification, and thus prefer this mode.

### Elimination or challenge mode

In this mode, the goal is to make as few points as possible. The player finishing the round gets no points, while their opponents get points corresponding to the cards they kept in hand. Combinations melded and layed off don't give any points, the objective is mostly to get rid of your cards as fast as possible.

As in games like uno or dominos, players who reach a certain limit are out of the game, the final winner is the last one still in game with the fewest number of points.

Finishing the round by doing a rummy allows to double the points received by the opponents. Doing it by using only one's own hand (no laying off) allows to triple them, and if it happens while nobody else melded, they become even quadruple.

### Manipulation of already melded combinations

This variant allows to manipulate already melded combinations, by splitting, joining or moving cards from their ends, with the aim to create new combinations. For example, if you have a 4 of hearts and a 4 of clubs in your hand, and if there is a run 4, 5, 6 and 7 of diamonds on the table, you could take the 4 of diamonds from the sequence to make a new set of 4s. More subtle, if you own an 8 of spades, and if there are already 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 of spades on the table, then you could split this latter run into 6, 7 and 8 on one side and 8, 9, 10 on the other side, placing your 8 along the way.

The cards you remove from combinations in this way go temporarily back to your hand, but they must return to the table during your turn. Not replaying cards that have been taken from the table before the end of the turn, or leaving combinations on the table in an incoherent state, just like unplayed taken jokers, gives 300 penalty points to the offending player.

When taking cards from the table, their value in points is temporarily deducted from your score. Thus, taking a card from a combination and putting it back right away into another one without playing any card from your hand won't give you any points, while the set of 4s in the above example would finally give you 10 points (not 15) because you only played two new cards.

Note that it is particularly easy to make a mistake and become obliged to pay the heavy penalty. Be careful and well prepare your move before actually playing it! Pay attention also to the fact that if you remove an ace from a place where it is worth 15 points and then you put it at another place where it is worth only 5, you are going to lose 10 points.

### Identity

This variant introduces a new type of combination, identities. An identity is a combination composed of three or more copies of an exact same card. When this kind of combination is allowed, one always plays with 4 decks of 52 cards regardless of the number of players.

Such a combination is hard to obtain, that's why the value of the cards inside it is slightly different:

- From 2 to 9: 15 points instead of 5, or from 12 to 19 in traditional mode
- From 10 to king: 20 points instead of 10
- Aces: 25 points instead of 15, or 21 instead of 11 in traditional mode

## Keyboard shortcuts summary

- C: view combinations on the table
- N: meld a new combination
- Delete: junk a card
- Space: draw a card
- S: view scores
- D: view discard pile contents
- Shift+D: draw from the discard pile
- T: tell whose turn it is
- R: Repeat defined rules
- Shift+C: sort cards by suit
- Shift+H: sort cards by rank
- Shift+M: disable card sorting

To manipulate combinations on the table, press C to open the list of combinations and then use the context menu (applications key or right mouse click).