The standard game of rummy is played with two to six players using a deck of fifty-two cards. All of the court cards are worth ten points each, and the numbered cards are worth their face value. An ace is worth one point. While playing rummy, you try to dispose of all of the cards in your hand through the formation of multiple melds.
A random dealer is chosen and deals out the cards, one at a time, face down, to each player. If there are two players, each player receives ten cards. If there are three or four players, each player is dealt seven cards. If there are five or six players, each player receives six cards. The dealer turns up the next card, face up, and this begins the discard pile. The remainder of the cards are placed face down next to the discard pile and become the stockpile. Deal continues to alternate after each game.
Completing a Turn
The game starts with the player to the dealer's left completing a turn. When it's your turn, you must first choose to draw the top card on the discard pile or the top card of the stockpile. You add the card you drew to your hand. If you have a meld, you may lay it down on the table (although you are not obligated to do so). You may only lay down one meld per turn. You may also choose to lay off other cards on your opponent's melds or previous melds that you have laid down, by adding cards to continue a sequence of cards, or add a card to a group of three. After you have laid down as many cards as you choose, your next step is to discard a card. This card is placed face up on top of the discard pile. If you drew the top card from the discard pile, you may not discard that same card within the same turn. The next player to the left completes a turn, and play continues multiple times around the table.
If the stockpile runs out of cards, and the next player does not want to take the top card on the discard pile, the discard pile is turned over to form a new stockpile and play continues.
Play for that hand ends when the first player discards his last card by melding, laying off, or discarding his last card. The other players then add up the values of the cards still in their hand. Those points are added to the winner's score. More hands are dealt until a player wins by reaching a specific number of points (agreed upon before play began) or until a specific number of hands have been played (agreed upon before play began). The player with the highest score at that time wins the game.
Once a player discards his final card and the game is over, you may not discard cards from your hand to get rid of penalty points, even if they are melds or if you can play the cards on existing melds on the table. Sorry, those are the rules!
There are many variations to the game of rummy. You may play more than one meld in a turn, but you may not lay off on your opponent's melds until you have laid down a meld of your own. If you go out without having laid down any melds or without laying off cards to your opponent's hands, you receive a bonus of ten points or your score for that hand is doubled, depending on how you and the other players have chosen to play the game.
In one variation, you must discard your final card to go out. If you lay down all of your cards in melds or on your opponent's cards, you must wait until the next turn and draw a card from the stockpile. If you can play that card, you must do so and wait another turn. If you can discard that card, the game is over, and you win.
A scoring variation is that you receive points equal to the value of your hand when another player goes out. When the first person reaches 100 points, the player with the fewest points wins.