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How to Play Michigan Rummy

The card game of Rummy has been played for centuries. Over the years, many versions have been created in different parts of the world. The game of Michigan Rummy is a fun version of the game that is played with three to eight players. The following steps will show you how to play the game of Michigan Rummy.

Set Up the Game

Remove the Ace of Hearts, the King of Clubs, the Queen of Diamonds and the Jack of Spades from the second deck of cards and lay these cards out (in order of previous mention) face up. These are your "pay cards" or "boodle cards."

Place two chips on each pay card if you are the dealer before the deal. All other players place one chip on each pay card.

Shuffle and deal out the cards from the first deck one at a time to each player and into a spare hand until the deck is gone. Some players may have more cards than others and that is fine.

Leave the spare hand face down and set to the side.

Play the Game

Begin the game if you are sitting left of dealer by playing the lowest card you are holding in any suit. Place that card face up in front of you on the table.

Show the next highest card of the same suit if you are holding it, no matter where you are sitting at the table, by placing it face up in front of you. The next highest card is then played and so on.

Keep playing in order until the Ace is played or until no one has the next highest card in the suit. The last card played, as long as it is not an Ace, is called the "stop card."

Start the new round with the card of your choice if you played the Ace or the stop card last. You must play the lowest card you are holding in any suit. Continue playing in this manner until all the cards are gone.

Take all the chips on the pay card if you play a card that matches one of the pay cards on the table.

End the round when any player runs out of cards. All other players pay one chip to the player who has run out of cards for each card remaining in their hand. Keep any chips remaining on the pay cards where they are for the game's next round.

End the game when after a predetermined number of rounds or when the first player runs out of chips. The player with the most chips at the end of the game wins.

Things You'll Need:

  • 3 to 8 players
  • A standard deck with the Jokers removed
  • A second deck
  • Poker chips


The spare hand makes the game more challenging, as some of the cards will be missing from the deck. Aces are high in the game of Michigan Rummy. Some versions of this game require that at the start of a round you play a different suit from the suit that was just played if possible. In some versions, if you don't have a different suit, the turn passes to the player on the left of you. In some versions of the game, if you are the dealer you have the option of exchanging your hand for the spare hand (without looking at the spare hand first). Some versions of the game require that each player start out the game with a fixed number of chips. Each player lays out their chips among the pay cards however they choose. You can purchase a Michigan Rummy game board set to play this game or just play with regular playing cards.

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