Indian Rummy Variants

Rummy Variantions

One Game, Many Faces: Exploring the Different Types of Rummy

The origin of the card game Rummy is still a mystery, but its history dates back several centuries. Experts disagree on the exact details of its evolution, and different versions of how the game came into existence exist.

One popular theory is that Rummy evolved from a Chinese game called Mahjong. Mahjong is a tile-based game that resembles Rummy in terms of creating sets and sequences. Another theory suggests that Rummy has roots in Mexican card games, with early versions called "Conquian." This game, played with Spanish cards, also involved forming sets and sequences, much like modern-day Rummy.

Today, Rummy is one of the few socially acceptable card games on the Indian subcontinent and is also the most widely played game here. Although most of us think of the 13-card “Indian Rummy” game as ‘Rummy,’ this is just one of a huge variety of different forms of the game. In North America, ‘Rummy’ typically refers to a different variation of the game called ‘Gin Rummy.’

The word “Rummy” refers to a family of card games that share a common gameplay principle - matching cards of the same face value or arranging cards of the same suit into sequences. In every variation of rummy, the primary objective for a player is to ‘meld’ cards into these ‘sets’ or ‘sequences/runs’ and be the first to go out, tthus signaling the end of the game or accumulating more (or less) points than their opponents.

BBelow, we've categorized the rummy variations into different family groups based on their similarities to each other.

Knock Rummy Family

In Knock Rummy, players typically reveal their entire hand at the end of the game. Depending on the Rummy rules, one player indicates a valid hand and signals the end of the game by either ‘knocking’ or making a specific type of card discard.

Indian Rummy/ 13-Card Rummy

TThe classic 13-Card Rummy is also known as Indian Rummy due to its popularity on the Indian subcontinent. It is played with two decks of cards and two jokers each. The game's objective is to arrange the 13 dealt cards into at least two sequences, one of which must be a pure sequence without any jokers. The game ends when at least one player ‘Declares’ that he has successfully melded all the cards in their hand. Opponents have to minimize their points from unmelded cards. Unlike Gin Rummy, Indian Rummy accommodates multiple players, adding an exciting element of competition.

At Taj Rummy, you can play Indian Rummy in various formats. The links provided below provide detailed information about each format.

  1. Points Rummy
  2. Pool Rummy
  3. Deals Rummy
  4. Rummy Tournaments

Gin Rummy

Gin rummy is a two-player card game that revolves around forming sets and runs of cards in the same suit. Similar to Indian Rummy, the objective is to fully meld all cards into ‘sequences’ or ‘sets.’ But here’s where the similarity ends. In this variation, each player is dealt 10 cards. The winner indicates the end of the game by knocking or calling out ‘Gin.’ The game is played over several rounds, and the player with the lowest ‘deadwood’ points after their opponent knocks is declared the winner. Gin rummy is known for its swift gameplay, which makes it a popular choice for players looking for a more focused and competitive card game.

Oklahoma Rummy

Oklahoma Rummy is a variation of Gin Rummy. In Oklahoma Rummy, players aim to form sets or runs of cards in their hand, similar to standard Gin Rummy. However, the distinguishing feature of Oklahoma Rummy is that the value of the upcard determines the maximum count for knocking. For example, if a seven of clubs is revealed as the upcard, players cannot knock until they have seven or fewer points of deadwood (unmatched cards) in their hand. This adds more strategy to the game, as players must adjust their gameplay based on the value of the upcard.


Rumino, also known as Rumoli, is a unique rummy variant that combines elements of rummy and poker. In Rumino, players receive chips representing their points, and the objective is to collect chips by forming valid sets and sequences from the dealt cards. Players can make use of community cards, further distinguishing it from traditional rummy games. The player with the most chips at the end of the game is the winner.

Tonk (aka Tunk)

Tonk is a fast-paced rummy game played with standard playing cards. The main goal is to be the first to get rid of all your cards by forming sets of equal rank or consecutive cards in the same suit. A distinctive aspect of Tonk is its use of "spreading," where players can add cards to existing sets or melds on the table. The game incorporates point values for unmelded cards in players' hands, and the winner is typically the one who goes out first with minimal points remaining. Tonk's unique gameplay and emphasis on hand management set it apart from other rummy variations.

Viennese Rummy

Viennese Rummy, also known as Closers Rummy, is a variation of traditional rummy that involves closing one's hand by forming a sequence or set with the final card. Players receive 10 cards each, and the objective is to create a valid combination of cards while being strategic about which card to close with. The closed card is placed face down, and other players have a limited number of moves to improve their hands. Viennese Rummy is a quick and engaging rummy variant with a strong emphasis on closing tactics, making it a popular choice for players seeking a twist on the classic game.

Melding Family

This is the most basic form of Rummy. The game is played until the card stock is exhausted or a player achieves a specific number of points. In some variations, some melds are worth a specific amount of points, and in other variations, the first meld must be worth a certain value of points.

500 Rummy

500 Rummy is a widely played variation of the classic Rummy game that has gained immense popularity worldwide. It is believed that several other popular Rummy variants, such as Canasta and Indian Rummy, have evolved from this game. One of the key differences between 500 Rummy and Indian Rummy lies in the scoring system. In 500 Rummy, players earn points based on the melds they have formed rather than the value of their unused cards, also known as 'deadwood' cards.

21-Cards Rummy or Indian Marriage

This is another widely played game on the Indian subcontinent. Diametrically opposite to Indian Rummy, the objective of Indian Marriage is to earn as many points as possible from melds created. Players have to form specific card sequences (or marriages). Although jokers are used, players are only allowed to see the joker once they have completed three pure sets or sequences.

Dummy Rummy

Dummy Rummy is a simplified version of traditional Rummy where players create melds of cards, but with a unique rule – once a meld has been created, it is placed in front of the player. Any other player may add to this meld on their turn. Another unique rule of this variation is that a player is allowed to ‘cut in’ on any other turn to pick a card from the discard pile if the player whose turn it is allows it. These distinctions add an interesting dynamic to the gameplay.

German Rummy

German Rummy, also known as Rommé, is a popular card game in Germany. It closely resembles Classic Rummy. Players aim to form sets and sequences to score points and eventually win the game. For the most part, the game follows like a classic game of Rummy. In German Rummy, melds are called ‘Figures.’ The first meld has to have a minimum value of 40 points and can either be a set or a sequence.


Machiavelli Rummy is considered one of the most strategic variations of Rummy (hence the name). This variation of traditional Rummy is known for its unique rules and scoring system. Players work to create specific combinations, including runs of cards in the same suit, and the game incorporates elements of strategy.

Bing Rummy

This is a variant of Rummy invented in Alaska. One of the most distinct features of Bing Rummy is that players may not create a meld on the same turn they draw a card.


This version, named after the Seven Continents, requires players to form seven distinct types of hands.


Marriage is a classic Rummy variation in which players aim to form specific card combinations, such as sets and runs and "marriages" (specific pairs of cards).


Panguingue, also known as Pan, is a card game that combines aspects of Rummy and Poker. Players aim to form sets and runs of cards, following specific combinations and betting strategies.

Scala 40

Scala 40 is a Rummy variant popular in Italy. It features elements such as drawing and discarding to form sets and runs, and it typically involves three to eight players. The game focuses on achieving a certain score to win.

Shanghai Rum

Shanghai Rum is a version of Rummy with a specific rule regarding Jokers, known as "Shanghai Rummy Jokers." The game emphasizes forming sets and sequences while considering the unique role of the Jokers.

Speed Rummy Family

Three Thirteen

Three Thirteen, also known as Teen Do Paanch, is a Rummy variation played with special rules and card combinations. Players work to create sequences and sets with specific requirements, and the game is characterized by the number 313, which holds significance.


Tong-its is a popular card game in the Philippines, and it bears some similarities to Rummy. Players aim to form specific combinations of cards, such as sequences or sets, to achieve victory.

Contract Rummy Family

Contract Rummy is a variation that has a twist on the traditional form of the game. In these variations, players have to fulfill a specific objective or ‘contract’ to win the game. This objective is either assigned to the player or self-declared at the start of the game. Depending on the format, players may know or may not be aware of the objectives of the others. As the game progresses, new contracts are revealed, making it an exciting and ever-changing game.

Some other variations within this family are:


Kalooki, also known as Kaluki or Kalookie, combines elements of Rummy and wild cards. Players use Jokers and additional wild cards to form sets and sequences, making it distinct from classic Rummy variants. The objective of Kalooki Rummy is to meld your entire hand into valid combinations before any other player does so first. Players score points based on how many cards they have left at the end of each round – those with fewer cards receive more points than those with larger hands.


Carioca, a Brazilian Rummy game, introduces a distinct concept where players are required to form specific combinations called "books" in their hands. The requirement of creating these book combinations sets it apart from other Rummy variations.

Phase 10

Phase 10 is a card game that deviates significantly from classic Rummy. Players must complete specific "phases" in each hand, with each phase having a different requirement. The game's structured phases differentiate it from traditional Rummy games.

Liverpool Rummy

Liverpool Rummy is a multi-deck Rummy variant where players aim to collect specific combinations of cards and create "books." Unlike classic Rummy, the book-building aspect is a unique feature of Liverpool Rummy.


Zioncheck Rummy is a fast-paced variant characterized by continuous drawing and discarding. Players aim to score minimum points while following unique rules for sets and sequences, differentiating it from other Rummy games.

Shedding Family

This family includes two variations of Rummy. Both are characterized by rules that require players to discard melds as play progresses.


One of the most primitive forms of Rummy, it is considered the origin of all modern versions of the game. It originated in Mexico around the mid-1800s. Conquian is played with a 40-card Spanish pack or a French pack by removing the court cards. The aim is to be the first to get rid of all cards in your hand.

Robber’s Rummy

This variant has no scoring or points. The sole object is to discard all of your cards by creating melds and displaying them on the table. It is played with a regular 52-card pack. While creating melds, players may ‘rob’ cards from already-made melds to make new ones, giving this game its name.

Canasta Family

The Canasta Family of rummy games involves playing the game in partnership with another player (or players). Melds in this family typically consist of 7 or 8 cards and are what give this family its name, ‘Canasta.’ There are a number of different variations within this family, played across the globe. Each region typically has its own classic version of the game. The Canasta family is most popular in North and South America.

These are some of the more popular variations of rummy in this family:

  1. US American Canasta
  2. Samba
  3. Hand and Foot Canasta
  4. British Canasta
  5. Boat Canasta
  6. Ponytail Canasta

Rummy Winning Strategies and Recommendations

To get ahead in Card Rummy, try these winning strategies and recommendations to help you ace the game.

  1. Begin by assessing your opponents’ hands. You should pay attention to how many cards they have left and what kinds of sets or sequences they may be trying to form. This will give you an idea of which cards are safe to discard so that your opponents do not benefit from them.
  2. Note whether a specific player is discarding only low-value cards, as this could indicate that he already has strong melds in his hand.
  3. Another key strategy is learning when it’s best to drop out of the round early on. If you feel like the other players are about to declare their hands, then it might be wise to leave before it’s too late. That way, even if everyone else declares but you don’t win, at least you won’t incur heavy losses due to high-point penalties.
  4. Observe how quickly each player moves; those with slower turns usually have more complex combinations that require more thought, while those who move fast likely have simpler ones that can be declared earlier without much effort.
  5. Always make sure to keep track of the points accumulated throughout the round. Keeping tabs on your own score along with that of others gives you a better overview of your chances of winning or losing the game overall and helps inform any strategic decisions made during the course of play.


What is the minimum number of players required to play Rummy?

The minimum number of players required to play Rummy is two.

What are the rules of Indian Rummy?

The rules of Indian Rummy involve drawing and discarding cards to form sets and sequences.

Are there any online Rummy websites where I can play for free?

Yes, there are several online Rummy websites where you can play for free, such as Taj Rummy, which offers a user-friendly interface and various game variations for players to enjoy without any cost.

Are there any online tutorials available to teach me how to play different variations of Rummy?

Yes, numerous online tutorials are available to teach different variations of Rummy, providing step-by-step guidance and strategies for mastering the game.


Playing different variations of rummy can be a fantastic way to enjoy your free time. Whether it’s Indian Classic Rummy, Gin Rummy, or any other popular version, mastering the fundamentals and tactics of each game can help you enhance your skills and become a more proficient player.

Familiarizing yourself with all the different types of Rummy Card Games will provide you with more choices for enjoying time with friends and family. Who knows, you might even make some money while relishing your favorite rummy variant.

So, why hesitate? Go out there and take a chance today. Wishing you the best of luck!

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Disclaimer: This game has the potential to become habit-forming or financially risky. Please play responsibly.