Dummy Rummy is a card game in the meld-making family of games. The game was started in The United States and exists as an alternate version of the popular Rummy card game.
How to Play Dummy Rummy?
Dummy Rummy utilizes two Joker Variant Anglo-American 54-card decks. These decks are shuffled and combined into one “stock”, and this stock will be reshuffled at the start of each new round.
There are 12 rounds in a game of Dummy Rummy, with each round demanding that only particular melds may be played.
Melds outside of these round-specific melds will not be allowed for that round. Only the legal melds for that round may be played. This will be explained further in the scoring section.
Dealing the cards
At the start of the game, a Dealer will be chosen by whatever method the Players find suitable.
- Once a Dealer is chosen, the dealing position will shift each round clockwise at the end of each round, to the Player to the immediately left of the Dealer.
- Once a first Dealer has been chosen and the stock has been shuffled, the Dealer will begin the deal.
- Each Player receives 13 cards, dealt one at a time in a clockwise fashion.
- Once this has been done and each Player has their necessary cards, the Dealer will take the top card from the stock and place it face up next to the stock. This card represents the discard pile.
Beginning the Game
The game begins with the Player to the immediate left of the Dealer.
Each Player must draw one card at the start of their turn, then they may lay down any legal melds for that round if they have any melds in their hand and then they must discard one card at the end of their turn.
Play continues until a Player has “gone out”. When a Player has no cards remaining in their hand, they have “gone out” and play for that round ends. That Player receives 0 penalty points, scoring the best possible for that round, while other Players must count their deadwood and add their scores up.
In Dummy Rummy, high scores are bad. The lowest score at the end of the 12 hands wins the game.
There are two different melds in Dummy Rummy, with each round demanding that a Player place down a particular number of melds.
More melds than the required amount may not be placed, though cards may be set on them if they are legal. Once a Player has set down their required number of melds, they may no longer place melds for that round.
The two melds in Dummy Rummy are Runs and Kinds.
Runs are sequential in nature, a grouping of cards that ascend or descend in order according to their rank (3-10, J, Q, K, A) and are all the same suit (♥♦♣♠). Runs must be at least 3 cards long. For example, 4♦, 5♦, 6♦.
Kinds are melds that are composed of cards that are all the same rank, but they can be different suits. For example, 3♦,3♣,3♠. In Dummy Rummy, since 2 decks are used to form the stock, repeated suits are allowed in the same meld. For example, 4♦, 4♦, 4♠.
Like in other Rummy games, Dummy Rummy includes wildcards that can take the place of other cards in Runs or Kinds. 2s and the 4 Jokers represent the wildcards.
Ending by Going Out
Going out is not the only way to end a round. If the stock is emptied during play, this is known as a stockout. In the event of a stockout, all Players must calculate their deadwood totals, and nobody scores a 0 for that round.
Rules for Dummy Rummy
In short, the rules can be summarized as follows:
- A round ends when a Player goes out or runs out of cards.
- If a Player does not meet the required melds, they must continue to do so in the next round.
- The Player with the lowest score at the end of 12 rounds wins.
- Deadwood, cards in the hand that are not melded, count for penalties towards the Player possessing them at the end of a round.
- A Player must draw one card from the stock or discard pile at the start of their turn, and discard one card at the end of their turn.
Deadwood in Rummy scoring are cards that did not get melded onto the board. These remaining cards have particular penalty points associated with them. As Dummy Rummy is a “low-score wins” game, the more penalty points a Player accrues, the worse they are playing.
This chart will help explain Dummy Rummy’s penalty point system:
Penalty points are given to each Player that did not go out in a round, and at the end of all 12 rounds, the Player with the lowest score is the winner.
Dummy Rummy demands that particular melds be played in particular rounds. These melds are:
- Round 1 – Two 3-card Kinds
- Round 2 – One 3-card Kind and one 4-card run
- Round 3 – Two 4-card Kinds
- Round 4 – Two 4-card Runs
- Round 5 – One 4-card Kind and one 4-card Run
- Round 6 – Two 3-card Kinds and one 4-card Run
- Round 7 – One 3-card Kind, and one 7-card Run
- Round 8 – Three 3-card Kinds
- Round 9 – Two 5-card Kinds
- Round 10 – Two 5-card runs
- Round 11 – One 8-card Kind
- Round 12 – One 10-card Run
If a Player does not reach the required melds for a particular round, they must attempt to get the same meld in the next round. For Example, If Player 1 fails to play Two 4-card Runs in round 4, they must still try to get Two 4-card Runs in round 5 as well.
Individual cards may also be set on melds that have already been placed on the board. This may be done as many times as a Player wishes.
Basic Strategy & Tips
- Cards can always be set on someone else’s meld. Do not only focus on your own melds, but keep tabs on the play area as well. Even setting one card down reduces your hand at the end of your turn by one card.
- Drawing from the discard pile is sometimes advantageous, though you may only draw the top card.
- Try to get your melds out first, and then add cards on top of them. Getting your melds out is more important than getting a better score, because if you do not complete the required meld for the round you will have to make it up the next round. It is important to get to the higher rounds because the melds in the last three rounds of play can remove up to 10 cards from your hand.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many cards to deal in Dummy Rummy?
Unlike other games similar games, such as Contract Rummy, for example, Dummy Rummy always deals the same number of cards to each Player in each round, 13. Every Player at the start of every round is always given 13 cards.
How do you win Dummy Rummy?
By having the lowest penalty score relative to other Players at the table at the end of the 12th round. If you have 50 penalty points, and the other players have 130, 150, and 55, you have won the game.
Can you Play Dummy Rummy online?
There does not appear to be any online play of Dummy Rummy specifically, however many other versions of Rummy are available on Cardgames.io