How to Play the School Card Game Rummy

By Shannon Johnson

Rummy is a card game played with a single deck of standard playing cards. The object of the game is to be the first player to eliminate all the cards in your hand. Players can get rid of cards by melding, laying off or discarding. Discarding is the easiest and occurs at the end of each turn when each player gets rid of a card in his hand. Melding happens when you can make a sequence of three or more cards and lay them face up on the table. There are two kinds of sequences. The first occurs when you have three or more cards of the same suit in consecutive numerical order, and the second occurs when you have three or four cards of a single number but differing suits. The third way you can get rid of cards is to lay them off or add them to the sequences you have already made on the table without rearranging the setup. To play, follow these steps.

Choose your dealer randomly by rolling dice or drawing straws. Play will proceed in a clockwise direction, and the dealer will change with each turn, moving in a clockwise direction.

Shuffle and deal the cards one at a time. If there are two people playing, each player gets 10 cards, three or four players get seven cards each, and five or more players get six cards each. Lay the next card on the deck face up on the table to start the discard pile, and the rest are stacked next to it.

Decide on your target points score. This is the number you will play to with consecutive games for an overall win. This setup allows players to come back from a single-round loss.

Draw a card either from the face-down stock pile or from the discard pile and place it in your hand. Remember that your goal is to create sequences in order to get rid of all the cards in your hand. Once you take a card, you cannot change your mind.

Sort the cards in your hand and complete your discard. If you have a sequence, set them face up on the table. If you have nothing, discard the card in your hand that is least related to the others. If you chose the card from the top of the discard pile, you cannot end your turn by discarding that card.

Complete each turn as it comes to you. When the stock pile runs out, you may turn the discard pile over without shuffling to make the stock pile. Get rid of all your cards through one of the discard methods to win in a process called going out. This immediately ends play by all other participants.

Add up the leftover cards in each player's hand. Face cards are worth 10 points, aces are worth one point, and all other cards are worth their own values. These scores are then all added to the winner's overall score.

Continue play until you reach your points target. The first person to reach this number is the game's winner.

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About the Author

Shannon Johnson has been a freelance writer since 2008, specializing in health and organic and green-living topics. She practiced law for five years before moving on to work in higher education. She writes about what she lives on a daily basis.