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How to Play London Rummy

Rummy is considered the second most popular card game in the world.
playing cards image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com

Though the nuances of each rummy game may differ depending on the version you are playing, all rummy games revolve around the basic concept of melding, which is to form the cards you get into runs or sets. Sets are formed of equally ranked cards, but different suits (e.g., queen of spades, queen of diamonds, etc.). One set can only have four cards. A run is a made with consecutive cards of the same suit (e.g., two of hearts, three of hearts, four of hearts, etc.). Kalookie is the British counterpart of this wildly popular game that is regarded the second most popular card game after Poker.

To keep score, count each face card at face value. The royal family counts 10 each, the ace is 11 points and the joker is a wild card that takes the value of the card it represents, unless you are caught holding it at the end, in which case it counts for 15 points.

Shuffle both decks together, and deal out 13 cards to each player.

Place the rest of the cards face down. They will make up the stock pile. Take the top card, and place it face up. This will be the discard pile.

Whoever is left of the dealer begins, and each player takes turns going in a clockwise direction. Each turn is broken down into three parts.

When it is your turn, you draw a card from either the stock pile or the discard pile. Then meld forming new sets or runs or adding to existing melds. Lastly, discard one card from your hand and place it face up on the discard pile. In each turn, you must draw a card and discard a card. Melding is optional. Note that aside from the first player's turn, you must be ready to lay down your initial meld of 40 or more points before you are allowed to draw from the discard pile or add to existing melds.

The hand ends when someone melds all of their cards except for one and discards the last card. You cannot meld everything. There has to be a discarded card at the very end. The term for this is calling up.

All the other players total up the points left in their hands as penalty points. As a player reaches 150 penalty points, he or she is taken out of the game. The last surviving player wins the game.

Things You'll Need:

  • 2 full decks of cards, including the jokers
  • Paper and pencil for scoring


You can draw a card from the discard pile to use in your initial meld.

If the stock pile runs out, take the top card of the discard pile, and leave it face up on the table. Shuffle the rest of the discard pile and turn it face down to make the new stock pile. Note you can only reshuffle the discard pile once. If the stock pile runs out again, the game is void (no winner, no payment).

Kalookie is when a player wins by melding all 13 cards in his initial meld, whether by creating new melds or adding to existing ones. If playing for money, this receives a higher payment than a regular win.


  • If you end your turn with three or fewer cards in your hand, you must announce it to the table before the next person takes his turn. Otherwise, you are not allowed to win in your next turn. Never play for money unless you have completely understood the rules of the game and developed a strategy. British Kalookie differs slightly from North American Kaluki.
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