What is Pool Rummy?
Like Indian Rummy, the aim of the game is to have as low of a “deadwood” or penalty score as possible.
How to Play Pool Rummy 101?
Pool Rummy is played using the Joker Variant 54-card Anglo-American deck. One of the two Jokers should be removed from the deck, leaving a total of 53 cards.
The version that will be covered in this guide, Pool Rummy 101, also has an additional rule unusual for most Rummy games. There is in fact a score “limit” in this game.
As the name 101 suggests, the score limit of 101 Pool Rummy is 101 points. After a Player exceeds 101 points, they are out of the game. Note that the game can also be played with 201 points.
Furthermore, the Pool in the name Pool Rummy is in reference to the pool of winnings a player might earn for victory.
Each Player, before the game starts, should put the same amount of money into the pool or pot, and that money will all go the winner. In the case of a tied score, the pot can be divided by the number of winners, so that each gets an even share.
Once each Player has paid their fair share into the pool, the Dealer can be randomly selected by a method of the Player’s choice, and the game may begin.
This guide will cover a Two-Player version of the game, however, there can be between 2 and 6 Players in a single game. As there are more Players added though, more decks will be needed. Generally, for every 3 Players, there should be an additional deck. 1 deck for 3 Players, 2 for 6.
Once the Dealer is chosen, each Player will be dealt 13 cards from the Deck. Once each Player has their necessary cards, the Dealer will place the remaining cards in a pile in the center of the Play Area, known as the stock. The Dealer will draw one card from the stock, and flip it face-up to the immediate right of the stock, in order to form the discard pile.
The Player clockwise to the Dealer may then start the game.
Each Player on their turn must draw one card, and discard one card, such that their hand always contains 13 cards. Players are attempting to form sets or sequences, as is usual for Rummy-style games. Completed sets or sequences remain in the hand, rather than being placed out on the table.
Players are allowed to draw the top card of the stock, or the discard pile. However, a card drawn from the stock may be immediately discarded, but a card drawn from the discard pile must be kept in the hand, and another card must be discarded instead.
A sequence is a grouping of cards that follow an ascending order of rank and all of the same suit. Sequences must be made up of at least three cards. An example sequence might look something like this:
J♦, Q♦, K♦
Sets must also be made up of at least three cards. Sets contain three cards of the same rank, and naturally must be made of different suits. Cards of the same suit may be used, so long as they are the same rank, in games with more than one deck. A Set may look like this: K♦,K♣,K♠
The Joker may also be used to complete a set or sequence, however, a Player cannot “go out” or declare that they want to end the round, unless they possess at least one Pure sequence, and one other sequence. A Pure sequence uses no jokers.
A game of Pool Rummy ends when a Player declares they wish to go out, at which point they show their two sequences to the table. Cards that do not form a meld (sets or sequences) are then added to each Player’s score.
Once a Player has gone out, the Player with the lowest deadwood score in their hand is the winner, and takes 0 points for the game. The other Players must then assign themselves the penalty points, based on the cards and melds in their hands.
The winner receives the pool, and then the Players each deal in their wager for another game, the deck is shuffled, and another game is started. However, scores are kept between games.
Players who reach the 101-point limit must leave the game. Generally, they are not welcome back at the table until an entirely new set of games is being played. This ensures that the Players at a table are constantly cycling, ensuring Players do not hog the same table all night.
- Players must draw and discard one card to complete their turn.
- Players’ scores are maintained and recorded even between games.
- Pool Rummy is a gambling game, the bets must be made before cards are dealt.
- Sets and Sequences must have at least 3 cards in them, and to go out a Player must have two sequences, with one of them being a Pure sequence.
Scoring & Points
The scores for Pool Rummy are actually quite simple.
The winner always receives a penalty score of 0, and adds 0 to their score total.
Losing Players must assign themselves penalty points for un-melded cards still in their hands. Those card’s values are explained below:
Furthermore, a Player that attempts to go out, but does not have the requisite two sequences, is automatically assigned 80 penalty points, and the game then continues.
The following is an example hand for a game of Pool Rummy:
10♦, 6♣, K♠, 3♦, Q♥, J♥, 9♣, 3♦, 8♣, 6♠, 2♦, A♣, 7♥
There are two possible sequences in this hand, missing only one single card each. The Queen and Jack of hearts, and the 2 and 3 of diamonds both could form a possible sequence immediately, with only a single card.
Focus on drawing and discarding existing cards in the hand in order to shuffle the hand around, and hopefully get the requisite cards.
Frequently Asked Question
Are Aces high or low in Pool Rummy?
Aces can be considered high, as they award 10 penalty points if they remain in the hand. However, they may also be low, as Ace, 2, 3 is considered a legal sequence.
When do you “go out?”
A Player may go out at any time, however, if you do not have two sequences, with at least one of them being a pure sequence, your go-out will fail, the game will continue, and you will be given 80 penalty points.
Can I play Pool Rummy online?
Although Rummy is considered a game of skill, and there are some websites available for legal gambling with real money playing Pool Rummy, one should be very careful and look into these websites carefully. Not all of them are legitimate, and some may take your money!