Rummy is a simple card game that can understood by fairly young children. There are some rudimentary tactics involved, but it is principally a game of luck. A hand of rummy only takes a few minutes to play, so game sessions can be tailored to suit the family's attention span or the time available. Rummy can be played by two to six players, so is suitable for most family sizes. There are a number of variations of the game and optional steps may be undertaken by some players. Here is a description of the game in its simplest form.
Nominate a dealer and deal the cards, starting with the player to the dealer's left and traveling clockwise around the players, dealing one card at a time until all players have the correct number of cards. The number of cards held by each player depends on the number of players. For two players, deal 10 cards each. For three or four players, deal 7 cards each and for five or six players, deal 6 cards each. To win at rummy, players need to collect "runs" or "sets," which can contain either three or four cards each. A run consists of consecutive numbers in the same suit, for example the 3,4 and 5 of hearts. A set is made up of three or four cards bearing the same number, for example the 7 of hearts, the 7 of diamonds and the 7 of spades. If you are playing with 10 cards each, the aim of the game is to collect two runs or sets of 4 cards and one of 3 cards. For 7 card hands, the aim is to collect two sets or runs of 4 cards. A winning 6 card hand consists of one set or run of 3 cards, and one set or run of 4 cards.
Place the remaining cards left over after dealing face down in a pile on the table. This is known as the stock. Turn over the top card and place it face up beside the stock pile. This will be the discard pile. The first player to take a turn is the player to the dealer's left.
Draw a card. Each player begins his turn by choosing whether to take the top card from the discard pile -- in which case the other players will receive a clue regarding what he has in his cards -- or the top card from the stock pile, which is unknown.
Lay down a card. The player's turn concludes when he selects a card from his hand to discard, and places it face-up on top of the discard pile.
Continue play to the left by passing on to the next player, who repeats steps 3 and 4. Play continues until a player completes his hand. This occurs when he has a hand entirely of runs and sets after discarding (as per the requirements in Step 1) . The winning player should declare his hand by placing his cards face up on the table. Should the stock run out, the top card is removed from the discard pile and placed face up to form the new discard pile, and the remaining discarded cards are shuffled and placed face down to form the new stock.
Shuffle the pack and deal a new hand, with the person to the left of the original dealer becoming the new dealer.
There are methods for scoring points in rummy, but when playing with children it is simplest just to declare a winner for each hand as described.
- playing cards image by Warren Millar from Fotolia.com