How to Play Rummy for Beginners
So you want to play rummy but you don’t know a thing about how the game is played? No problem – we’re here to help. Here’s everything that a beginner needs to know about how to play rummy:
The basic concept of Rummy is that you create something called melds. No, it’s not something that you need Mr. Spock to do for you – you do it with cards by creating either sets or runs of the cards that you are dealt.
Regardless of the particular version of Rummy you are playing, all of them allow for creating sets which are in essence three of a kind or four of a kind, in much the way that you can have three of a kind or four of a kind in poker. Basically, what this means is that you have three of a particular type of card (i.e. three of the 9s or three of the 6s in the deck)or four of a kind (all of the cards of a particular type).
In most cases where multiple decks are used for a game, such as in Canasta, you still have to have only three of a kind or four of a kind with each card being from a different suit (i.e. hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs).
Runs are created using the same suit (i.e. all of the cards are from the diamonds or from the spades for example) and must be consecutive. This means that you may have the 3,4,5 and 6 of hearts, but if you have the 3,5 and 6 of hearts along with the 4 of diamonds, that’s not acceptable.
Unlike sets, suits can theoretically encompass all the cards you hold, meaning that for example, in traditional rummy you could have seven consecutive cards or in Gin Rummy you could have 10 consecutive cards, though the minimum for a run is three cards.
Some rummy games also include something called deadwood. This happens when you have cards left over after creating your runs or sets (it doesn’t happen in traditional rummy, but can happen in games like Canasta and Gin Rummy). The deadwood counts against you so you want to have as little of it as possible.
The Discard Pile
Finally, a word about how to play rummy to win: whenever possible, avoid taking cards from the discard pile (in virtually all Rummy games, you must discard a card from your deck when you draw and keep a card. If you don’t keep the card you drew, that one is discarded). The reason is that picking up a card from the discard pile alerts your opponents to cards you are potentially seeking, allowing them to block you by holding onto cards that they know you need.
Now Go Out and Play
So, now that you know how to play rummy, go out and play the game! Have fun and enjoy, then check out our advanced tips for more ideas on how to win at Rummy and make lots of money playing the game.