Manipulation Rummy

Also known as Carousel, Shanghai, Rummi, or the tile game Rummikub, Manipulation Rummy allows a player to manipulate the cards on the table to form new melds so that he can play more cards from his hand. The objective of Manipulation Rummy is to try to meld all of your cards onto the table using the cards in your hand, your previous melds, and your opponent's melds. The game requires three to five players and two standard decks of fifty-two cards. Aces are considered high and cannot be melded into a sequence with low cards.

Rules of Play

The game starts by choosing a random dealer who shuffles the cards and deals seven cards, face down, one at a time to each player. The remaining cards are turned face down and placed in the middle of the table to form the stockpile. Play begins with the player to the left of the dealer. If you are able to meld any of your cards onto the table, you must do so. If you can't meld any cards, you must draw cards from the stockpile until you can. A meld can be a sequence of three cards in the same suit, or a three-of-a-kind. There is no initial draw and no discard in the game of Manipulation Rummy.

A three-of-a-kind must consist of three cards of different suits. 4 is not. If you have two of the exact same cards, you'll need to create another group of cards or play the other card in a sequence.

Play continues clockwise around the table. After an initial meld has been laid down, you can manipulate the cards that have been melded on the table in order to create new melds using at least one card in your hand. For example, if there is a meld of 4. If you do rearrange the melds on the table, when you are finished each card on the table must still be part of a legal meld. The first player to get rid of all the cards in his hand wins that hand.


If you are not the player to get rid of your cards first, you receive penalty points for the cards remaining in your hand. Cards with a value below ten receive five points each, tens and face cards receive ten points each, and aces are worth fifteen points each. The game is played to a specified number, determined before play begins (usually 200 or 300 points), and when one player goes over that number, the player with the fewest points wins the game.


There are similar games and multiple variations of Manipulation Rummy. In the game of Shanghai, each player is dealt ten cards, and the rest of the game is played like Manipulation Rummy. The only difference is that you are not required to lay off all of your melds if you have more than one. This allows you to play one meld at a time and not have to draw new cards. If you manipulate existing melds, it is called a Shanghai. Players receive one point for each card left in their hand after the first player melds all of his cards.

The game of Carousel is played with two decks of cards and two jokers. On your turn, you must pick up one card from the stockpile and then meld if you can. If you cannot, you draw a second card and then meld if you can. If you still cannot, you draw a third card and play passes to the next player. If you lay down a joker, another player may replace the joker with the correct card and then use the joker elsewhere on the table to form a new meld. This must happen within the same turn as replacing the joker.

The game of Rummikub uses colored tiles instead of cards with suits and also uses two jokers. If you cannot meld on your turn, you only pick up one tile from the stock available, and you cannot play it until your next turn. In order to initially lay down melds, the total value of the tiles you lay down must equal a minimum of thirty points. If you lay down a joker, another player may replace the joker with the correct tile and then use the joker elsewhere on the table to form a new meld.

Rummikub was developed by the late Mr. Ephraim Hertzano in the early 1930s. The first Rummikub sets were handmade one at a time in the Hertzano backyard by his family. Today Rummikub is the third bestselling game in the world!

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