Lesson 3: Your Fellow Rummy Players and Their Number

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Lesson 3: Your Fellow Rummy Players and Their Number

At the Rummy Palace, you can play Rummy as a game of two, three, or four players online. Some groups even bring it up to six players at their tables at home. In this lesson, you get advice on how to approach your fellow players in the game, focussing on options with two, three, and four players at the table.

The fundament remains the same: Everybody plays alone; there are no alliances. At the beginning of the round, each player receives 13 hand cards, and the remaining cards become the face-down draw pile. But different numbers of players come with different ways to approach victory.

Your Fellow Players and You

In our beginner’s lesson, you can learn how to make the best of your own hand. But you also need to keep an eye on your fellow players. Depending on which cards they need, you can adapt your playing behavior.

Regardless, whether you are a small or big group of players: It is worthwhile observing your fellow players. That also applies when no melds are played yet. You can check, for example, which cards they are picking up from the discard pile – thus, apparently having good use for them – and which ones they are leaving there.

Once you can tell they prefer a certain suit or rank, you should try to discard cards that your following player does not need. Of course, that does not apply at all costs. When melds are already in the playing field and you would otherwise obstruct your chances, you can take the risk and play into your opponent’s hands.

Rummy Playing Field: Two Players - Which Card to Discard?
So far, none of you melded. You could bring out the three Queens as your first meld before discarding a card. But your hand might also be fit for going Rummy with a few optimizations. One way or the other, you should avoid discarding the Six or Eight of Spades since those would clearly benefit your opponent. The Seven of Hearts is likely less dangerous, for example.

If there are no melds yet and your follow-up displayed a clear preference in certain cards, you should consider grasping the nettle to not support them in going Rummy. Read more on that topic in the matching Rummy Lesson.

Rummy With Two Players

That is where the tactic described above works best, since you only need to focus on one player. Vice versa, your opponent has a grandstand view of you, too. If you like, you can deliberately counteract the observation.

Rummy Playing Field: Two Players - Which Card to Draw?
It would be reckless not to pick up the King of Spades here. The second one is already in the playing field, which means that chance is not coming back soon. The risk of not finding a fitting card in the stock is pretty high with that hand.

You could cause confusion purposefully by drawing redundant cards, only draw from the stock to keep your hand as private as possible, and even leave useful cards on the discard pile to that end. But watch out and do not render yourself incapable of actually playing!

Especially in Two-Player Rummy, you do not have to play potential groups and runs immediately. Otherwise, that gives your fellow players chances to append their cards. But if you stall for too long, and only optimize cards in your hand without ever playing them, you might be left with considerable negative scores.

Rummy With Three Players

More players bring more uncertainty as well as more suspense: You still get to decide which cards you are providing your follow-up with, and you can camouflage our drawing behavior at will. But which cards your predecessor receives from your follow-up and any further interaction of the two is out of reach for you.

In that constellation, you can still hold back your melds for a few passes to present as little space to add cards to as possible, or maybe even get ready to go Rummy and double the scores at the end.

Starting with three players, the custom rule Knocking would be effective. If you activate it, you can gain the last discarded card even when it is not your turn – by knocking in time. But you cannot knock for a card you discarded yourself! When receiving the card, you have to draw an additional card from the stock as a price. In these rounds, it is on: Whoever is faster at knocking or drawing, gets the card. The active player in regular order can proceed to draw from the discard pile or stock after another player knocked successfully. If the regular active player picks up a card from the stock, you can still knock for the card on the discard pile.

Rummy Playing Field: Three Players - Knocking
Garant just discarded the Queen of Hearts which would go well with Misty’s Ten and Jack of Hearts in hand. Maybe the penalty card will be useful too. So, they click the knocking button before Hanna gets to draw the Queen of Hearts.

As a result, there is more to see: Which cards are worth picking up penalty cards to your fellow players? But some players use knocking simply as a source for plenty of hand cards to raise their chances of forming combinations. So, if you cannot make out a pattern here, there might not be one.

Rummy With Four Players

With four players, it becomes very challenging to keep an eye on three players’ drawing behavior. But even at such tables, you can try to recognize certain basic patterns. So, try to observe your fellow players’ discarded and picked-up cards as well as their behavior.

Is the same person consistently holding back their cards? Who will play cards as soon as possible, even if it is just one meld? Is there a sudden change of strategy? Maybe you will recognize warning signs over time so that you can bring high-value cards on the playing field before somebody else finishes the round.

Now that you made it here, you know a few rules of thumb for proceeding in different game constellations without being unnecessarily surprised by your fellow players. Of course, these guidelines only work when your fellow players are not purposefully bluffing from time to time. And be aware that no tactic – regardless how strong – is able to fight luck. Sometimes you have a fabulous hand, and sometimes a fellow player will have it. Feel free to browse all Rummy Lessons for even more Rummy tips and tricks! Or go straight to the Rummy manual.