Michigan Rummy Card Rules

By Mike Andrews
How to Play Michigan Rummy
playing cards image by Mijakowska from Fotolia.com

Among the dozens of "rummy" card game variations, Michigan Rummy combines the elements of casino-style gambling with the competitive fun of traditional rummy games. Each game of Michigan Rummy consists of three to eight players (ages eight and up are recommended), a Michigan Rummy board pre-marked with eight cards or card combinations, betting chips (or anything that can be used as chips, such as coins) and a standard deck of 52 playing cards.

Game Setup

The Michigan Rummy board has eight compartments, each of which is pre-marked with a card or card combination plus a bonus compartment, and is placed in the center of the players where everyone can reach it. The cards marked on the board called "bonus cards" or "pay cards" are: (1) the ten of hearts, (2) the Queen of hearts, (3) the Queen and King of hearts, (4) the Ace of hearts, (5) the Jack of spades, (6) the King of clubs, (7) the seven, eight and nine of any one suit together, and (8) the poker pool. Each player receives an equal number of betting chips to start the game. To determine who will deal first, each player draws a card. The player with the highest card (two always being the lowest and ace always being the highest) is chosen dealer.

Beginning Play

Before each hand begins, each player except the dealer places one of their betting chips into each of the compartments on the board, including the bonus compartment. The dealer must place two chips into each compartment. The dealer than deals one hand for each player, plus an extra "dummy" hand, until all of the cards in the deck are dealt. (Players do not necessarily receive the same number of cards in each hand.)

Dealer's Choice

Each player now examines his hand to see if the hold any "bonus" or "pay" cards, illustrated on the board. Anyone without a bonus card is eligible to play the dummy hand. The dealer first chooses whether she will use the dummy hand; if not, she may sell it to the highest bidder, keeping the bid chips for herself. Only players with no bonus cards in their hand may bid on the dummy hand.


Play now begins with the player to the dealer's left, who may play the lowest card in his hand in any suit. The player holding the next highest card in that suit plays it, and so on until a number is reached that no one is holding. At that point, the last player to play may play the lowest card in his hand of either suit that's the opposite color of the suit just played. (For example, if the last suit played was spades, the player may play his lowest heart or diamond.)

Money Cards (Bonus Cards)

Whenever a player plays a bonus card as indicated on the board, he wins all of the chips found in that card's compartment. (Note that some compartments require multiple card plays to win.) Thus, one goal of Michigan Rummy is to win all of your opponent's chips by playing bonus cards and winning them during each hand.

Ending Play

The first player to play all of her cards wins the chips in the center jackpot compartment, and the hand ends. After the hand, the player with the best poker hand among all of his cards wins the poker compartment. Any chips in compartments marked with unplayed cards remain in the compartment for the following round, and accumulate until that card is played.

Ending the Game

Anytime a player runs out of chips, he is eliminated from the game. The game continues until only one player has chips remaining--she is declared the winner.

About the Author

Mike Andrews is a freelance writer and serial entrepreneur focused on small-business and entrepreneurship for average people. He holds a bachelor's degree in biblical studies and a master's degree in theology and has appeared in a wide array of print and online periodicals including "HiCall," "Mature Living" and "Caregivers Home Companion."