How to play Rummy


If you want to learn how to play Rummy, you’ve come to the right place!

Rummy is a rather simple game. The most popular variant of rummy that everybody probably knows is Kalooki 51, but there are a lot of other variants of Rummy(Gin is a rather popular rummy game as well). If you are interested in learning rules to the most popular rummy games just check out the card games rules section and find the game that interests you. If you would like to play online, you can check out Online Rummy here.

For those of you that already know the rules of the game that intrests you and want to find strategy tips on how to play rummy, keep reading. Below you can find basic strategy tips, or you can have a look at articles on specific topics.

Basic tips on how to play Rummy well…

Here I’ll present you with some basic tips on how to play rummy with an edge over your opposition. These tips will help you with all variations of rummy…

So lets get started…


Obviously the whole point of the game is to form melds, but how do you go about doing it? The most important thing to know is which potential melds to break in case you don’t have any deadwood(cards that don’t connect). To know that you first have to be familiar with different potential melds and what odds they have to improve.

2 card potential melds:
Gutshots, example: 4s6s(1 card to improve, 2 if there are 2 decks in play)
Sets and runs, example: QQ or 4s5s(2 cards to improve, 4 if there are 2 decks in play)

3 card potential melds:
Angle, example: 6d6s7s(4 cards to improve, 8 if there are 2 decks in play)
3 card gutshots, example: 9sJsKs(2 cards to improve, 4 if there are 2 decks in play)

4 card potential melds:
Z, example: 4s5s5d6d(6 cards to improve, 12 if there are 2 decks in play)
Cube, example: 9sTs9dTd(8 cards to improve, 16 if there are 2 decks in play)

The strength of a potential meld is determent with how many cards can improve it into an actual meld, these cards are also called outs. So in case of no deadwood break the ones that have the worst chance to improve.

Now that that is settled, there is one more thing you can do to better your odds of winning. Make sure you follow the discarded cards as much as you can. That way you will know how many outs that improve your potential melds are still out there.

This is important, because, for example, you could be holding an Angle that is actually weaker than one of your potential sets due to discards of your opponents, and if you know this you can make the right decision and break the Angle instead of your potential set.


What cards should you discard? The general rule would be to discard the highest deadwood you have. The reasoning behind this is that in case someone wins you are going to get as little penalty points as possible. However there are a couple of exceptions…

First would be if one of your opponents is close to winning and you have absolutely no chance to win. In that case you should make it a priority to dump high cards even if they could potentially form a meld(use the discard pile to take low cards). Do this wisely, because you could do more harm than good.

Second exception is for games where you need a certain amount of points to open up(like kalookie 51). If you are in a situation where you have a lot of melds, but they are very low and you can’t open you should discard lower deadwood so that you give yourself a better chance of winning straight off the bat.

Remember, these exceptions are exactly that, exceptions. If you stick to the general rule you’ll be fine. Also always watch what your opponents are doing and try to discard cards that won’t help them.


By speculating I mean taking a card from the discard pile to make a potential meld. This is usually not a good idea because of two things. First, you warn your opponents that you are trying to form a certain meld so they will be reluctant to discard another card that you need. Second, you lose the opportunity to create a meld by getting the right card from the deck.

But still, speculating is OK if you don’t already have any potential melds or you are playing against players that don’t really follow the action. Otherwise just stick to the general rule of thumb and pick cards from the discard pile only if they complete one of your melds.

4.TO OPEN OR NOT TO OPEN(for kalooki)

This is a good question, but there’s really no definitive answer, if you open too fast you give your opponents a better chance to win, but if you wait too long someone might win and you are left with all your cards(read: you get a shit load of penalty points).

My best advice to you on this topic would be to follow your opponents game as much as you can and try to figure out how far along they are. When you see that someone is close to winning, open up right away and dump those penalty points! On the other hand if everybody still has all their cards you can keep cool and just form melds in your hand.

Special articles on rummy strategy

Here is a list of Rummy strategy articles that will teach you how to play Rummy well:

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I hope you learned something about how to play Rummy, enjoy!