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Popular Rummy Variants

Out of all the card games that most people play, Rummy happens to be one of the most popular ones. Its multiple variants make it ideal for different groups of people. If you are new to this exciting game, you must learn all you can about these different variations. Even though Indian Rummy is the most popular rummy variation, sometimes people playing together add variations for different rounds just to switch things up! You wouldn’t want to lose out on the chance of winning just because you’re unfamiliar with a variant, right?

So, with that in mind, the following are some of the popular variations of Rummy:

Indian Rummy

Indian Rummy is also known as 13 Card Rummy, as it utilizes 13 cards per player. Many also believe that Indian Rummy stems from Rummy 500 and Gin Rummy. By discarding and picking cards, players create sequences and sets in order to win. The game also uses a joker that can be used as a substitute to any card that the player desires. With this type of Rummy, there are three popular variants, known as pool rummy, deals rummy and points rummy.

Pool Rummy

When playing 101 pool rummy, you must ensure that your players make more than 101 points. Conversely, when playing 201 pool rummy, you must ensure that the other players make more than 201 points, while still keeping your own points under 201.

Points Rummy

Also called 80 points rummy, this game is the most basic version of Rummy and many beginners enjoy this format before progressing onto harder ones. In this, players can choose point values that they are comfortable with (for instance, ₹100 per point) and then play accordingly. At the end of the round, the points are calculated based on the players’ performances.

Deals Rummy

As the name suggests, this version of rummy is played for a specific number of deals. At the beginning of the game, players get a number of chips. At the end of the last deal, players are ranked on the basis of the chips they have.

Below is the comparison chart of the aforementioned 3 rummy variants.

FactorsPoints RummyPool RummyDeals Rummy
Cards per Player13 Cards13 Cards13 Cards
Pure SequencesAt least 1At least 1At least 1
Minimum Sequences222
Number of DecksUp to 2Up to 21 Deck
Printed Joker in Deck111
Open Card Joker111
Joker UtilizationTo make sets and impure sequencesTo make sets and impure sequencesTo make sets and impure sequences
Game Play TypeCash and Free PlayCash and Free PlayCash and Free Play
Table Size2 and 6 Player Table2 and 6 Player Table2 Player Table
Calculation UnitPointsPointsChips
Drop AvailabilityYesYesNo
Initial Drop Value20 Points20 PointsNA
Mid Drop Value40 Points40 PointsNA
Maximum loss80 Points80 Points80 Chips
Wrong ShowLoss of 80 PointsLoss of 80 PointsLoss of 80 Chips
Next Game Auto StartYesNoNo
Empty Seats on TableYesYesNo – Starts when all seats are occupied
Classic Rummy TypesPoints Calculation101 and 201 Point2 Decks & 3 Decks
Number of Deals1Till 1 player remains with score below selected points2 deals
Initially Dealt ChipsNA0160 Chips in 2 Deals and 240 Chips in 3 Deals
Number of Winners111
Winning HandMake valid sequences and or sets before opponents and declareMake valid sequences and or sets before opponents and declareMake valid sequences and or sets before opponents and declare
Winning the GameMake valid sequences and or sets before opponents and declareTill 1 player remains with score below selected pointsPlayer with more chips at the end of total number of deals will be the winner.
Rebuy OptionNoYesNo
Split WinningsNoYesNo
Winning CalculationLosing Players Points x Point ValueFixed PriceFixed Price

21 Card Rummy

Unlike 13 Card Rummy, this variant of the game has 21 cards and uses 3 decks instead of 2. Players must make 3 pure runs, with the remaining also being used to create as many sequences and sets as possible. In this variant of the game, players use value cards along with jokers. These value cards can be used in the same way as jokers – as substitutes for any other cards. Additionally, if players have a 7,8 and 9 of spades, then this hand is known as a Marriage Hand. It gives the player an additional 100 points from the other players.


Canasta is a form of Rummy that is quite popular in Spain. In this variant, there are a total of 4 jokers that are used. All the 4 jokers as well as all the 2s in the deck are treated the way wild cards are treated. Players must create melds or sets of 7 cards and go all out while playing.


This game is a combination of Rummy and Mahjong and is quite popular in Europe and Asia. In this game, players use 104 tiles that are marked with the numbers 1-13 in black, orange, blue and red. Also, there are two tiles that have the same colour and number too. Players start with anywhere from 14-16 tiles and they must put their tiles onto sets of three in the piles. If they cannot play during their turn, then they have to draw a fresh tile. Of course, the winner is the player who lays down every tile first.

Gin Rummy

This game uses a deck of 52 cards and is one of the easiest versions of this game. This version of rummy is a two person game in which players need to create sets with their cards. Players get 10 cards to play with in order to create these sets and sequences. The only restriction in this game is that the sequence has to belong to the same suite.

Oklahoma Rummy

Oklahoma Rummy is quite similar to Gin rummy. Except that 2-4 players can play this game (instead of just 2). Players also use a joker in this game to create impure sets and sequences. In this version, players use 7 cards instead of 10.

Kalooki Rummy

A popular game in Jamaica, this variant can have as many decks as players. Each game is played for 9 deals. The player with the lowest score becomes the winner of this game.

500 Rummy

Also called Pinochle, this game can be played with 2-8 players and is quite popular in America. While all different types of Rummy carry negative points, this version carries positive ones and the player who scores more than 500 points first is the winner.

Contract Rummy

With 3-8 players, this game is inspired from Gin Rummy. In this game, there are decks of 54 cards along with jokers used. There are a total of 7 deals, with players playing with 10 cards during the first 4 hands, and then 12 cards during the last 3 hands. In this Rummy variation, Aces have 15 points, Jokers have 25 points, and face cards have 10 points each.

Deal NumberCards DealtContract
1102 Sets
2101 Set & 1 Run
3102 Runs
4103 Sets
5122 Sets & 1 Run
6121 Set & 2 Runs
7123 Runs

Shanghai Rummy

This version of rummy originated in China and is quite similar to contract rummy. In this game, there are 3-5 players and each gets a total of 11 cards to play with. The 2s in spades and clubs are used as jokers. Moreover, the jokers can only be used in combinations that have 3 or 4 cards, and not more.

Dummy Rummy

In this variation, rummy rules are quite simple to understand. The 2s are all treated as jokers in this game and players use 2 decks of cards along with 4 jokers. Players discard cards from their hands when they make sets and sequences. The following are the types of melds that people can create:

12 combinations of 3 cards of the same kind
23 cards of the same kind & 1 run of 4 cards
32 combinations – each of 4 cards of a kind
42 runs of 4 cards each
51 combination of 4 of a kind & 1 run of 4 cards
62 combinations of 3 cards of a kind & 1 run of 4 cards
71 combination of 3 of a kind & 1 run of 7 cards
83 combinations of 3 of a kind
92 combinations of 5 cards of the same kind
102 runs of 5 cards each
118 cards of a kind
121 run of 10 cards

Now that you understand the basics of different types of rummy, you are ready to take on your first game!


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