5000 Rummy is an exciting twist on the Rummy 500 card game that adds more strategy and variability. The game is also known as George and Polish Rummy and has many variations.
General gameplay remains the same – form sets and runs by drawing and discarding cards. But the fun begins with the uneven distribution of cards based on each player’s first upcard. With the dealer’s upcard designated as wild for that hand, the gameplay keeps everyone on their toes!
The goal of 5000 Rummy is to be the first player to score 5,000 points by forming sets and runs.
Setup and Deal
Rummy 5000 is typically played with 2-8 players. Use one standard 52-card deck for 3-4 players, and two decks for 5-8 players.
- Decide on a dealer however you prefer.
- The dealer then shuffles the cards and the player to the dealer’s right cuts the deck.
- The dealer begins dealing cards face-up, one at a time, clockwise around the table.
The rank of each player’s first upcard determines how many more cards they are dealt face-down. Face cards count as 10, Aces count as 11, and numbered cards go by their number value.
For example, if a player’s upcard is a 5, they get 5 more cards face-down. The dealer’s upcard is wild for that round.
Once all cards have been dealt, the remaining cards become the stock pile. The top card is flipped face-up to begin the discard pile.
Players form melds during their turn by laying down cards in valid combinations. There are two types of melds:
- Sets – Group of at least three cards of the same rank, e.g. three 7s. Can include multiple copies of the same card when using two decks.
- Runs – Sequence of 3+ consecutive cards of the same suit, e.g. 4♥ 5♥ 6♥. The Ace can be high or low but not both, e.g. A-2-3 is valid but K-A-2 is not.
The dealer’s face-up card is designated as wild for that round. Wild cards can substitute for any card when forming melds.
Players can “steal” a wild card by replacing it with the actual card from their hand, then using the wild card elsewhere in their melds.
For example, if As are wild and a meld on the table contains A♥ 2♥ 3♥ a player holding 4♥ could swap in the 4♥ and take the A♥ to use in their own meld.
So in summary, the wild cards add flexibility when forming and expanding melds. Take advantage of them, but be aware opponents can steal them!
Play starts with the player to the dealer’s left and proceeds clockwise. On their turn, a player must:
- Pick Up – Draw the top card from the stock pile or take one or more cards from the discard pile. If multiple cards are picked up, the deepest card taken must be melded that turn.
- Meld – Optionally lay down new melds or add cards to existing melds on the table. To form a new meld, at least 3 cards must be laid down.
- Discard – Discard one card from the hand face-up onto the discard pile. The discarded card must be usable by other players.
If a discarded card can extend a meld on the table, any player can call “Rummy!” and claim it. They add it to their meld, discard, and play continues.
If a player melds all their cards with nothing left to discard, they float. On subsequent turns they draw from the stock and meld if possible until they can discard. Floating players can call “Rummy!”.
The round ends when a player goes out by melding all their cards and discarding their final card. It also ends if the stock runs out and no one takes from the discard pile.
5000 Rummy Scoring
When the round ends, players add up the point values of their melded cards:
|Face cards (J, Q, K)
|Face cards (2 to 10)
For example, if you made two melds:
- Meld 1: 8♥ 8♦ 8♠ (set of three 8s)
- Meld 2: 3♠ 4♠ 5♠ (run of three cards)
Your score would be:
- 3 x 8 cards at 5 points each = 15 points
- 3 run cards at 5 points each = 15 points
Total score = 15 + 15 = 30 points
Bonus for Going Out
If the round ends because a player goes out (melds all their cards), that player earns a bonus equal to the total value of all opponents’ unmelded cards.
This bonus can be significant. It provides an incentive to go out as soon as you are able each round.
Points accumulate from round to round. Gameplay continues over multiple rounds until a player reaches a total of 5,000 points. This player wins the game.
Go for Aces and Wilds
Aces and wild cards are the highest-scoring cards, worth 100 points each. Make it a priority to meld Aces and Wilds early in each round before opponents can discard them. Keep an eye out for opportunities to “steal” wild cards from opponents’ melds to maximize your own melds.
Pay Attention to Discards
Keeping track of what cards are being discarded gives you valuable information during gameplay. You’ll get a sense of which cards are already in opponents’ hands, making it easier to decide which cards to draw and which melds to target.
Watch the discard pile for cards that could improve your existing melds. When you see a key discard come up, be ready to call “Rummy!” and claim it before another player can.
Balance Small and Long Melds
While long melds score big, having only long melds means fewer total melds. Try to balance short melds of 3-4 cards and longer melds of 6+ cards. This allows you to score points from having numerous melds while also gaining points from lengthier melds. Find the right mix based on the cards you draw.