Rummy Glossary

Ace

Ace is derived from “as”, a word used in France during Roman times, probably referring to either a monetary or weight unit. It is the first card of the game with the value one, which is followed by the pip cards with numbers 2 to 10. Finally, there are the face cards (Jack, Queen, and King). This is where the Ace comes full circle: It can also follow the King, where it adopts the value eleven.

Discard Pile

At the beginning of the round, one card from the stock is revealed as the base of the discard pile. Players can draw a card from the stock or from the discard pile to begin their turn. After making all possible moves the player ends their turn by discarding one card from their hand onto the discard pile.

Face Cards

Face cards, also known as picture cards, show members of the court: Jacks (Knaves), Queens, and Kings. They score ten points each.

First Meld

Melding cards in groups and sequences is Rummy’s key element. Each player’s first meld of a round must reach a minimum value of 30 points. The points can also be reached by playing several melds within the same turn.

French Playing Cards

Rummy is predominantly played with French playing cards. One deck consists of Ace, pip cards (2 to 10) and face cards (Jack, Queen, and King), each presented in four suits – Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts and Spades. This makes 52 cards per deck. Two decks and six Jokers, 110 cards in total, are needed for Rummy. Regional variations can be played with German, Swiss-German or other, locally preferred playing cards. At the Rummy Palace the widespread French playing cards are used.

Going Rummy

A player melding all their cards during the same turn without laying off or swapping Jokers is going Rummy. They receive double the score for the round.

Group

Groups are one of two types of melds in Rummy. They are also called sets or books and consist of three to four cards of the same rank but different suits. Any type of card, except Jokers, can form a group.

Joker

The Joker can replace missing cards of any meld. Jokers cannot outnumber the regular cards. The Joker’s value adjusts to the value of the replaced card. Keep this in mind when determining the score of your first meld! Later, Jokers used in melds can be swapped for the missing card of the meld. This can be done only after playing the first meld and during your turn. The freed Joker must be melded during the same turn. Jokers can’t be used to form a meld on their own. Should you end up with a Joker in your hand after another player won the game you are out of luck: A Joker in the hand scores 20 negative points.

Knocking

This is a custom rule. In enables players to gain the card last discarded when it is not their turn. The players can’t knock for a card they themselves just discarded. When receiving the card knocked for, the player must draw an additional card from the stock.

Laying Off

This means adding cards from your hand to any existing meld. One can only lay off in their own turn and after completing their first meld. If a group of three Kings is lacking the fourth King, for example, it can be added. Similarly, a sequence of Hearts with the cards 7-8-9-10 can be supplemented with the 6 of Hearts and/or the Jack of Hearts.

Meld

The aim in Rummy is to get rid of the cards in your hand by playing them in melds. Melds can either be groups or sequences. Any meld combines at least three cards. The first meld must meet specific requirements.

Move

A move is any action you can take during your turn. In Rummy you can meld, lay off and swap Jokers.

Pip Cards

Pip cards are the playing cards with numbers from two to ten. They differ from the face cards and Aces.

Rummy

It’s the name of the game. The player melding all their cards and discarding the last card onto the discard pile exclaims: Rummy! They won the game.

Run

See Sequence.

Scores

Each card has a value in points. The pip cards’ values match their depicted numbers from two to ten. The face cards score 10 points each. Aces can have a value of one when followed by 2-3-etc., or eleven when played after King or when left in the hand after another player won the game. The Joker takes on the value of any card it replaces. Left in the hand it scores 20 points. The points are relevant for determining the value of the first meld and for the scores at the end of the game: Each player receives negative points for the cards left in their hand. The winner receives the sum of everybody’s negative points as positive points.

Sequence

Sequences are one of two types of melds in Rummy. They are also called runs and consist of three to 13 cards of the same suit in consecutive ranks. The order is (Ace) – pip cards 2 to 10 – Jack – Queen – King – (Ace).

Set

See Group.

Stock

After shuffling and dealing at the beginning of a round, the leftover cards are placed face down in the middle of the table. This pile is the stock. Players can draw from it to begin their turns.

Suits

French playing cards have symbols on each card – Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, and Spades. These symbols are called suits. One French deck contains each card in four versions – one for each suit. The suits are relevant in Rummy when combining groups and sequences.

Turn

It’s your turn after the previous player discarded a card. To begin your turn, you can either draw this card or a card from the stock. You can now use this card for melds along with your hand cards. Other moves you can make after your first meld are laying off or swapping Jokers. Every turn has to be ended by placing a card from the hand to the discard pile.