Different Variations of Rummy

Rummy is one of the most popular games in the world. This game can be traced back many centuries and is said to have originated from either Spain or Mexico. As it is a social game, its popularity has only continued to spread across the globe.

Rummy Variants
Rummy Variants

In India, rummy is especially beloved by the masses. Whether it is a wedding, a social gathering, or just an afternoon spent with friends, the game has been a staple in many Indian households for generations. With the advent of smartphones, there has been a growing community of players in India who love to play rummy online. That’s why platforms like RummyTime have over 1.5 crore players.

Apart from the fact it is a thrilling game, another reason is that there are so many variants of rummy. In fact, there are more than 100 variations of the game across the world. Players can choose which variation of the game they want to play based on their own interests, preferences, and the time they have on their hands. It is also a game that requires skill and strategy. So, it is no surprise that this is a game that everyone loves.

Forms of Indian Rummy

13 Card Rummy

This is played between 2-6 people. This is generally considered the most popular version of the game. All players are dealt 13 cards each. The goal is to meld all cards into sets and sequences. The first player to make a valid declaration wins. A valid declaration must have at least two sequences, of which one sequence should be a pure sequence.

21 Card Rummy

This is a more complex form of traditional rummy. In this version, players have to create at least three pure sequences before making a valid declaration. Generally, most people tend to play the 13-card version but those seeking a bigger challenge, enjoy the 21-card version just as much.

Variations of Indian Rummy

Big platforms like RummyTime also offer different variants of 13-card rummy. The three most popular variants that are available on the rummy app are: Points, Pool, and Deals rummy.

Points Rummy

Points rummy stands out as an engaging and thrilling variant of the game. It is perfect for those players who don’t have a lot of time on their hands. There are between 2 and 6 players in each game. Each game involves a single deal, with players being dealt 13 cards.

At the start of every game, one card is randomly selected and it will function as the wild card joker (printed jokers and wild card jokers can be used in place of missing cards). Players take turns drawing cards from the closed or open deck and subsequently discarding a card to the open deck.

The primary objective in Points Rummy is to organize cards into sets and sequences. To make a valid declaration, a player should at minimum have two sequences and the rest of the cards should be arranged into sequences and sets. A sequence is formed by 3 or more cards of the same suit that are sequentially arranged. A pure sequence does not have any printed jokers or wild card jokers that are used in place of a missing card.

The first participant to make a valid declaration emerges as the winner of the game.

If you are playing a cash rummy game, then each point will be valued at a pre-decided rupee value.

Here is an example of a valid declaration:

  • 3♣ 4♣ 5♣ (pure sequence)
  • 10♣ 10♦ 10♥ 10♠ (set)
  • 6♦ 7♦ Printed Joker (impure sequence)
  • J♥ K♥ Wild Card Joker (impure sequence)

Pool Rummy

Pool rummy is a much longer format of the game and is more strategic in nature. It is the perfect game to play if you have additional time and love coming up with new strategies on the go.

RummyTime offers three sub-variants of Pool Rummy. They are called: 61 Pool, 101 Pool, and 201 Pool. In the case of cash games, there is a fixed Buy-In to play the game. This becomes part of the prize pool.

The first person to make a valid declaration during each round will be the winner of that round. They will receive 0 points.

Those who lose a particular round will carry the number of points they accumulated to the next round.

Players get eliminated if they reach the maximum number of points on the table. So, if you are playing 201 Pool, then players who get 201 points or above will be automatically eliminated.

It should be noted that when it comes to playing Pool rummy in RummyTime, you can rejoin a table even if you are eliminated at some point. However, there are some conditions to this rule. For example, on RummyTime, the entry fee should be less than ₹2,000. And, no player on the table should have points over 44 in 61 Pool rummy, 79 in 101 Pool rummy, and 174 in 201 Pool rummy.

Here’s how the penalty system works on RummyTime.

Pool variant First drop Middle drop
61 Pool 15 points 30 points
101 Pool 20 points 40 points
201 Pool 25 points 50 points
Pool variant Invalid declaration penalty
61 Pool 60
101 Pool 80
201 Pool 80

Now, let’s consider a 6-player game of 61 Pool rummy. In the first round, player B made a mistake and made an invalid declaration. Therefore, they will go to the next round with 60 points. And here are the points that the other players carried:

  • Player A: 23 points
  • Player C: 27 points
  • Player D: 5 points
  • Player E: 32 points
  • Player F: 5 points

In the next round, player E makes a valid declaration. Here’s how the rest of the players scored:

  • Player A: 15 points
  • Player B: 10 points
  • Player C: 6 points
  • Player D: 9 points
  • Player E: 0 points
  • Player F: 32 points

60 + 10 is 70. Therefore, player B will get eliminated in this round. These will be the points that the other players have at the end of round 2:

  • Player A: 38
  • Player B: 70 (eliminated)
  • Player C: 33
  • Player D: 13
  • Player E: 32
  • Player F: 37

In this scenario, player B does not get to rejoin as the table is worth more than ₹2,000. This game will keep continuing round after round until all players but one are eliminated. The player with the least number of points will be declared the winner.

Deals Rummy

At the very beginning of the game, all players are allocated a set number of chips. Players will have to play with these chips for a predetermined number of deals. On RummyTime, players can choose between 2-deal and 3-deal games. When it comes to 2-deal games, there will be two rounds before a winner is declared and for 3-deal games, there are three rounds.

RummyTime also offers a quick option called “Express”, which consists of just one round. The player with the most number of chips at the end of all the pre-decided number of deals will then be declared the winner.

What Sets Deals Rummy Apart

  • The option to drop from games is not available to players if they are playing a 2-player 1-deal variant of the game.
  • If someone is playing a 6-player Deals Rummy game, they can drop at any time.
  • All players have to pay a fixed Buy-In before joining the game. This becomes the overall prize pool at the end.

The penalty for dropping depends on the platform that one is playing. For RummyTime, the penalty for dropping from a 6-player Deals rummy game stands at:

First drop Middle drop Invalid declaration
20 points 40 points 80 points

Let’s imagine a 6-player game consisting of two deals. Here, the other 5 players lose by 22, 52, 34, 26, and 38 points respectively in the first deal. The winner of the first deal carries forward 24+54+12+46 = 172 chips to the next deal.

Gin Rummy

Gin rummy is generally considered to be one of the toughest versions of rummy. It is generally played by only 2 players. No jokers (printed or wild cards) are allowed in this format of the game and it is played with one deck consisting of 52 cards. You won’t be able to play this version of the game if you aren’t great at math. In fact, the best way to play it is also to have a paper and pen with you as you keep playing.

Both players are dealt 10 cards and the objective is still to arrange all cards into sets and sequences. However, the winner is only declared (in most cases) when they reach 100 points. Here’s how the scoring works: the person who declares “Gin” will get 25 points. They will also all the points from cards that their opponent failed to turn into combinations and sets.

500 Rummy

The 500 Rummy variation is similar to traditional rummy. It is generally played between 2 and 6 players. Usually, it is one deck of 52 cards plus 2 printed jokers. The point of the game is to meld all cards into sequences and sets until there is one winner. In 2-player games, each player is dealt 13 cards and in games where there are more than 2 players, all players get 7 cards.

The winner gets the points of all the cards that their opponents could not turn into sequences and sets. The game goes on until one person gets 500 points.

Other Rummy Variants Popular Outside India

Canasta Rummy

Originating in South America, Canasta is a variation of 500 Rummy. It is played by 2 to 8 players. Everyone has to arrange their cards into sets and sequences. A sequence of at least 7 cards is called Canasta.

Oklahoma Rummy

Oklahoma rummy is generally played between 2 and 4 players. It is one of the more complex variations of rummy as it is similar to Canasta.

Shanghai Rummy

Also known as California rummy, this is a variant of gin rummy. It is played between 3 and 8 players. The thing that sets Shanghai rummy apart is that there are 10 rounds in the game.

Kalooki Rummy

Kalooki rummy is a variation of rummy that is extremely popular in Jamaica. In fact, one of its other names is Jamaican rummy. It is similar to gin rummy.

Hollywood Rummy

It is similar to traditional rummy and can be played even if you don’t have a lot of time. The name comes from the fact this variation became popular on Hollywood sets where people will play during breaks.

Mahjong Rummy

Mahjong rummy is a blend between the games of Mahjong and rummy. There are 4 players in every game and all players get 20 tiles for every game.

Viennese Rummy

Also called Wiener Rummy, Viennese rummy is a popular format that’s played across Europe. It is also called German rummy and is played between 2 and 6 players.

Liverpool Rummy

It is a multiplayer game that has many rounds. It is similar to another form of rummy called Contract rummy. There are new elements in the game such as “buying” and “cutting’.