How to Play Indian Rummy – A Complete Guide
Indian Rummy is one of the most popular card games in all of India. The game is played daily in all sorts of environments, from casual games in the park to family entertainment sessions and, of course, casinos. You will be able to find Indian Rummy at leading Indian online casinos, offering superb games with high-quality sound and graphics.
While the exact origins of Indian Rummy are unknown or have been forgotten over time, the modern version is said to be similar to Gin Rummy. In fact, you will also be able to find versions of Indian Rummy that are similar to both Gin Rummy and Rummy 500.
Fans of Rummy 500 will be pleased and excited to learn that Indian Rummy also uses the 13 card system. Indian Rummy is also mostly played using one or two decks of cards. Indian Rummy also uses a simple turn by turn method of gameplay, making it very similar to Gin Rummy. Most experts will tell you that Indian Rummy is actually closest to Gin Rummy in this regard.
Indian Rummy Basics – Decks and Players
To play Indian Rummy, you need at least two players, although up to six players is not uncommon. Of course, online Indian Rummy games allow you to simply play against the virtual dealer or the live dealer, in live versions of the game.
Most Indian Rummy games will make use of one or two decks of standard playing cards. This means 52 cards or if one includes the jokers or wild cards, 54 card decks. When four or more players are playing, two decks of playing cards will always be used. That said, regardless of whether it is one deck or two, each player will always receive 13 cards per hand.
If you’ve ever played a game of Rummy with family or friends, it won’t take you long to get the hang of playing Indian Rummy. Once each player has received their allotted number of cards, the dealer then turns over the next card in the deck. The dealer then places this card face up next to the deck. This indicates the pile for discarded cards. The remaining pile of face-down cards then becomes the ‘stock’ pile, where players draw cards from.
The Object of Indian Rummy
Like all versions of Rummy, Indian Rummy is all about creating sequences and sets of cards. Sequences are called ‘runs’, and the idea is to collect cards of the same suit in consecutive order. Sets are created by collecting cards of the same ranks, but of different suits.
Runs or sequences are created by collecting consecutive cards of the same rank.
For example, you can create a run of cards that contain the following:
Three of Clubs, four of Clubs, Five of Clubs, Six of Clubs
Four of Hearts, Five of Hearts, Six of Hearts, Seven of Hearts
However, in either case, you cannot mix suits. For example, you cannot have a run containing three clubs, four spades and five diamonds. While they are consecutive, they are not all of the same suits and therefore, it is an invalid run.
If you don’t want to or can’t develop runs from your given hand, you can always build sets instead. Sets are groups of cards that share the same rank, but not the same suit.
For example, you can build sets of cards containing the following:
Three of Spades, Three of Diamonds, Three of Clubs
Eight of Hearts, Eight of Diamonds, Eight of Spades, Eight of Clubs
However, you cannot build sets where two cards of the same rank share the same suit as well. In other words, you cannot collect a set of Aces when two of the set are both Hearts. This would naturally only occur in games where two or more decks are being used.
Whether you choose to create runs or sets, it is important to keep in mind that you can only use a card once. In other words, if you have already used the Ace of Spades, for example, to create a set of Aces, you cannot also use it in a run of consecutive Spades.
Sequences and Pure Sequences in Indian Rummy
An important aspect of the rule to understand in Indian Rummy has to do with sequences and pure sequences. In Indian Rummy, your hand must feature at least two sequences or runs before you can put any cards out. If you are playing with jokers, at least one of your two runs must be a ‘pure sequence’. What this basically means is that your sequence cannot contain a joker card.
Interestingly, in Indian Rummy the common term for a pure sequence is ‘Life 1’. An impure sequence, or one containing a joker, is thus referred to as ‘Life 2’. Once you have created your Life 1 sequence, you may use your joker card anywhere in either a run or a set.
Indian Rummy – Turn by Turn
Unlike some other versions of Rummy, Indian Rummy does not allow players to put out sets or runs during the course of the game. This practice, known as ‘melding’, is only reserved for the very end of the game. However, if a player goes out, they must put their runs or sets down on the table first. Essentially, in Indian Rummy, the name of the game is draw cards and discard cards, all the while creating at least one pure run, one impure run, and/or sets.
Drawing in Indian Rummy
In Indian Rummy, drawing or picking up a card is compulsory. This means that, when it is your turn, you must pick up a card. Players are able to choose a card either from the face-down stockpile or from the face-up discard pile. Players must then add the card to their 13 card hand.
Discarding in Indian Rummy
Once a player has drawn a card, they can decide which card has value and can be added to a run or set, and which card is worthless. A worthless card is one deemed to be unable to fit into any run or into any set. Whichever card a player decided to get rid of, they must then place face up in the discard pile.
Going Out in Indian Rummy
Indian Rummy does not allow for ‘knocking’ by players during the game. Knocking, in Gin Rummy for example, is when a player has completed the maximum number of melds (runs or sets) that they can compete, and their remaining card or cards adds up to less than 10 points. The Player can then knock, ending the round.
However, in Indian Rummy, a player must have created at least two sequences. One of these must be a pure sequence (no wilds), and the player must have successfully melded the rest of their hand, with no ‘dead wood’. Only once this has been met, can a player ‘go out’. This is achieved by placing all the runs and sets on the table. The final card is then discarded; usually face down to indicate a winning hand. After this, all the other players can lay out their runs and sets. Melds and deadwood are counted and the relevant points tallied.
Scoring in Indian Rummy
It is worth noting at this stage that, if a player goes out without at least one pure sequence, any other cards or sets are considered unmatched. This essentially means that any runs or sets created become invalid.
The following demonstrates the scoring system used in Indian Rummy:
- All face cards, that is, Kings, Queens and Jacks, are worth 10 points each.
- All Ace cards are worth 10 points each.
- Joker cards are worth 0 points each.
- All other cards are worth their face value. This is also known as a ‘pip value’. In other words, a 2 of Hearts is worth 2 points, a 3 of Hearts is worth 3 points and so on.
Card Ranking in Indian Rummy
In Indian Rummy, cards are ranked as follows:
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
Ace cards are the highest card and sequences like A, 2, 3 are valid and produce a good score. Q, K, A is also a valid sequence but, since Aces do not “go around the corner”, creating a sequence like K, A, 2 is not a valid meld or sequence.
All in all, Indian Rummy remains one of the most popular card games, not only in India but now more and more around the world. As you may have learned from this in-depth guide, Indian Rummy is easy to learn and you should be able to play a game within a few minutes of reading this guide.