Rummy is one of those games that if you hear someone mention “rummy” without even hearing the word “card,” run! It is one of those games that is familiar from childhood, possibly from your uncle’s basement. It is also one of those games that people can be absolutely certain won if it has been going on a long time. The rules are easy enough to understand: Two people are blindfolded, each holding a ten-sided die. There is a hole in the center of the table and whoever gets the last spot will be the loser. Rules are similar for blackjack and poker.
The object of rummy is to get all the cards dealt from the deck to the players without anyone getting “direct cards.” The player who gets the most at the end is the winner. A rummy game usually goes until someone gets three “direct cards,” or calls out “burn” (or pays out). The player who gets three “direct cards” is the winner. If there is still a tie, the last remaining player is the loser of “burn.”
The object of the second player is to do the same thing as the first player, only without getting “direct cards.” Players alternate turns, alternating hands and alternating action according to what works best. The first player may call, meld, or fold. If the first player melds, then everyone gets “direct cards,” and the second player must meld if he wants to play.
The object of the third player is to have the most cards in the discard pile, and at the end have the fewest “direct cards.” If any players are holding “burn cards,” then the person with the least total cards in the discard pile is the loser. That’s all there is to it! It is best played with at least four or five people. Play continues until someone has a good hand, and everyone gets a chance to play.
After each round of rummy, each player receives two “direct cards.” Then each player receives one “rummy card” and the remaining “remaining cards go to whoever melded the best.” The person melding the best wins. Sometimes a player receives two rummy cards, but no cards in the other players’ hands. When this happens, that player receives one “remaining card,” and the remaining players each get one “rummy card” for themselves.
A fun variation on the above rules is to play rummy with two different sets of cards, say, four English cards and two Spades. Each player receives two “cards” and each team fights off their opponents with those cards. The player that melds the most cards (after alternating between English and Spades) wins! This is a fun game that many casinos offer, so check your local casinos to see if they offer it. You might be surprised!
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