Indian Rummy, also known as Paplu, is one of the card games that fall under the Rummy Family of meld-making card games. Popular in the Indian Subcontinent, Indian Rummy is a fun variation that can be played among friends.
How to Play Indian Rummy?
Indian Rummy utilizes the Joker variant of the Anglo-American pattern deck. One of the Jokers from this 54-card variant is removed, leaving only 53 cards for each Indian Rummy deck. There can theoretically be an infinite number of Players, so long as there is 1 deck of cards for every 3 players.
This guide will help you learn how to play Indian Rummy with a short tutorial.
The dealer can be determined in any way the Players see fit. The Player to the left of the dealer will then take a card from the top of the deck, which will here on out be referred to as the stock, and flip it face up next to the stock. This card will be known as a “Joker”.
This “Joker” is different from the regular Joker within the stock, and determines the wild cards of the round. All cards with the same rank as the “Joker” become wild cards as well.
For example, if the “Joker” is a 4♦, then the other 4s (4♣, 4♠, 4♥) all become wildcards for the round.
If by chance the “Joker” happens to be the actual printed Joker, then there will be no wildcards for the round if only playing with one deck, one wild card if using two, etc.
The Dealer, after determining the “Joker” for the round, will then begin dealing 13 cards to each player, 1 at a time, counter-clockwise. After the deal, the Dealer will take one more card from the top of the stock and place it face up next to the stock, this acts as the discard pile.
Once each Player has their 13 cards, and the discard pile has been created, the Player to the right of the Dealer will begin the game with the first move.
During each Player’s turn, they must draw one card and discard one card. Unlike in some Rum card game variations, cards are not placed down onto the play area. Instead, Players keep their cards in their hands until they reach the win condition.
Indian Rummy ends when a Player has all 13 cards in their hand melded in one form or another. This is done after the Player discards their last card, and declares “Rummy” to the table. That Player wins the round, and other players will tabulate their deadwood scores to determine how many points to pay the winner. This is explained in the scoring section.
There are two types of melds in Indian Rummy: Sets and Runs.
A Set is a meld composed of cards that are all the same rank (Ace, 2-10, J, Q, K), and must be at least three cards. The cards in a Set must all be different suits, in the case of multiple decks being used for more players. This means a set cannot be more than 4 cards long, as each suit may only be represented once in a Set.
A Run is a meld composed of cards that are all the same suit (♥♦♣♠) in ascending or descending order. Aces are high and low in Indian Rummy. The same card cannot be used for two different melds. For example, 9♥, 9♦, 9♣, 8♦, 7♦. In this case, the Player must either choose to form a Run and have two deadwood 9s, or form a Set and have a deadwood 8 and 7, which would be the better option as it gives less deadwood score.
The round continues in that fashion, with Players drawing and discarding one card each turn. If the stock is emptied before any Players can declare Rummy, with all 13 cards in their hand being melded. Scores are then tallied, and additional rounds may be played, or the game can end after a single round with one winner.
In a game of multiple rounds, Players may choose to “pack”. This is similar to folding in Poker.
- To Pack, it must be the start of a Player’s turn.
- If the Player chooses to pack before they have even drawn their card, they must only pay 10 penalty points to the eventual winner.
- If a Player packs at any other point in the game, that Player will have to pay 40 penalty points instead.
Packing will prevent the Player from taking their turn for the rest of the round, but they will face a minimal punishment instead of losing outright.
Rules of Indian Rummy
- The rules for Indian Rummy dictate that a Player must draw and discard one card at the start and end of their turns, respectively.
- Unlike some Rummy variations, cards are not played into a general play area. All melds are formed secretly in the hand.
- In the case of a stock out, or the stock being emptied, Players will immediately end the game and count their deadwood scores, with the lowest deadwood score winning the round.
- Players may draw the top card from the discard pile instead of drawing from the stock, but they may not discard that same card on the turn they drew it.
Scoring & Points
Deadwood are cards that remain unmelded at the end of a round. These cards give the Player penalty points, but Indian Rummy is distinct from other Rummy games. Rather than penalty points adding to your own score, points are instead awarded to the winner of the game.
The Player that declared Rummy, or had the lowest overall deadwood score, is given a natural 0. The deadwood scores of all other players are then added up, and “paid” to the winner. This is the winner’s round score. This score should be high, and the highest round score at the end of a game wins.
Deadwood points are awarded for the face value of each card (e.g. 2 is worth 2 points), with face-cards and the Ace all being worth 10 points if they remain in the hand.
Jokers, including the “Joker” cards determined at the start of the round, are worth 0 deadwood points.
|Ace, K, Q, J
|Joker and Wild Cards
Tips & Tricks
- It is a good idea to try and achieve the 13 card melds necessary for victory. Although it is not always possible, it should be attempted as much as possible.
- If victory does not seem likely, attempt to mitigate the loss as much as possible through Packing. Try to analyze your starting hand carefully. If significant melds cannot be made in 3 or 4 turns, then packing is the best option.
- A good strategy tip is to draw from the discard pile if you still have a few melds in your hand by the middle of the game. If you have a lot of deadwood, a stockout could make you lose the round. Try to delay a stockout as long as possible.
The following is a possible starting hand in a game of Indian Rummy:
4♦, 8♦, Joker, 6♣, K♥, 9♥, Q♥, 5♣, 3♠, J♠, 7♥, K♦, A♦
The 13 above cards represent a starting hand. Assuming that Aces are the “Joker” for this round, this is a strong starting hand with two wild cards and many cards of the same suit.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the role of the Joker?
Jokers in Indian Rummy act as wild cards. There is both the actual Joker card, and the “Jokers” determined at the start of the round. Wild cards may be substituted for other cards in a meld.
What is the difference between normal Rummy and Indian Rummy?
Both games are very similar, but some key differences include the 13-card deal per player, the inability to discard a discard draw, and the payment of deadwood score to the winning player, instead of acting as a penalty to one’s own score.
Where to Play Indian Rummy online?
Indian Rummy may be played for free online at PlayingCards.io.