Rules for 500 Rummy Card Game

By Stephanie Steensma

Whether you gather around the table to play card games with your family or friends, there are bound to be questions and maybe even some arguments about who is cheating. Bring out the rules of the game and you can be sure everyone enjoys themselves without a hassle.

The cards

Playing 500 Rummy requires a deck of 52 cards and two jokers, unless the group playing has more than five people. In that case, you will need two decks (plus two jokers) to play. While the game can work with as many people as would like to play, the game is intended for two to eight players.

Each player receives seven cards, with the remaining cards put in the middle of the table, face down. This becomes the pick-up pile and the top card should be turned face up as the first card of the discard pile, which should be laid beside one another rather than on top of the other. When a player chooses to pick up a card from the discard pile he must take all cards on top of it (next to it) as well, and the last card chosen must be used immediately. If only the top card is chosen, it may be held to to use during a future turn.

Game play

The game begins with the player to the left of the dealer either choosing the card from the pick-up pile or from the discard pile. If the player has any cards to meld, or lay down, those cards should be placed face up on the table in front of him. Discards should go to the discard pile. The player on his left is the next person to play.

Cards that may be played, or melded, include groups of at least three cards of equal values (such as three 3s or four jacks) or a sequence of at least three cards of the same suit (such as 2, 3 and 4 of diamonds). After a player has melded cards, he is allowed to play off others cards as well. For instance: If another player melded three 8s the other 8 may be played as an extension. Once an extension has been played it also becomes available for the other players as well.

Jokers are wild and can be used for any card. After a joker is played and stated to be a specific card, any player who has the actual card may substitute that card for the joker and use the joker as they wish throughout the game.

Ending the game

When the first player uses all the cards he has, the game is over. If a player has used all of his cards through melding and does not have a card to discard, he will "float" until his next turn.

Each person must add up the total face value of his remaining cards and subtract that number from the points he earned melding.

The cards left in each players hand when one player goes out are scored against the player and the ones that are melded count towards the total score. The player adds up the score of the cards in his hand and subtracts that from the sum of the cards he has melded.

The cards 2 through 9 are worth five points, 10, jacks, queens and kings are worth 10 points, aces are worth 15 and jokers are worth 25. The game is over when the first player hits 500 points.

About the Author

Stephanie Steensma began writing in 1998 as a radio news reporter. Her work has appeared in print publications such as "Engineering Today" and "Dome Magazine" as well as online. Steensma has a Bachelor of Arts in communication and journalism from Western Michigan University.