How to Play Polish Rummy

By Kat Black
Polish rummy requires a standard deck with 52 cards.

Polish rummy is a variant of 500 Rummy. This game, for two to four players, uses a standard 52-card deck, and players must form sequences of cards in the same suit, such as the eight, nine and 10 of hearts, or matches of cards of the same type, such as three queens. Each set or match must contain at least three cards. Aces can be either high or low. To goal of the game is to amass the highest number of points by the end of the game. Aces are worth 15 points, except when they are used as part of the sequence ace-two-three. In this case, they are worth one point. Jacks, queens and kings are worth 10 points. All of the other cards are worth their face value.

Select the initial dealer. There is no set process for choosing the dealer, but all players should agree on the choice.

Deal one card, face up, to every player. The player with the lowest card is the dealer for the first hand. The player with the second lowest card chooses her seat. Then, the player with the third lowest card chooses his seat. Continue this process until all players have a seat.

Shuffle the cards and have the person to the dealer's right cut the deck.

Deal the cards, beginning with the player to the dealer's left and continuing in a clockwise direction. Deal the cards one at a time, face down and continue until all players have seven cards.

Turn one of the remaining cards face up. This card begins the discard pile. Place the other cards face down. This pile is referred to as the stock.

Begin playing with the player to the left of the leader. This person can draw a card from the stock or from the discard pile. If the player draws from the discard pile, he must immediately use this card as part of a meld. At the end of his turn, this player must discard one card. The cards in the discard pile must be arranged so that all of the cards in the pile are visible.

Continue play by moving in a clockwise direction. Subsequent players have the option of picking up multiple cards from the discard pile. If players pick up multiple cards, the bottom card of the draw must be used as part of a meld. When melding, you have the option of starting new matches or sequences or playing off of the melds of other players. For example, if one player has laid down the two, three and four of spades, you can lay down the five of spades.

Keep score as the game progresses by updating the score sheet after each player discards. The game is over either when one player runs out of cards or when the stock is empty. At the end of the game, finalize the scores by subtracting the value of the cards that players still hold in their hands. The winner is the person with the most points.

Tip

If a player inadvertently discards a card that can be played as part of an existing meld, any of the other players can call "stop." The player that calls "stop" can then lay down this card and discard any card in her hand. Once the player has discarded, play continues with the person to the left of the player who made the mistake.

About the Author

Kat Black is a professional writer currently completing her doctorate in musicology/ She has won several prestigious awards for her research, and has had extensive training in classical music and dance.