How To Play Indian Rummy


This Rummy game, which is very popular in India, is called appropriately enough, Indian Rummy. It is also well known under the name Paplu. Both this game and the 21 card variant (described further below in the variants section) are very popular and widely played on many online Rummy card game sites.

Game Setup in Paplu Indian Rummy is usually played by from 2 to 12 players. The deck used for the game is dependent on the number of participants. For 2 or 3 players, one deck is usually used. For 4 to 6 players, two standard 52 card decks are used. And, for 7 or more players, three such decks are used. In addition, for each deck used, one specific Joker is added. The ranking of the cards in the deck are the same in most other forms of Rummy (from high to low); Ace (high), King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace (low). As will be noticed, an Ace can be used as either high (above King) or low (below two) in this game. The Jokers are wild cards and can be used during the hand to represent any other card.

Determination of first dealer and seating positions is usually done using the following procedure. The deck is shuffled and each player draws one card from the face-down and shuffled deck. If any players draw a card of the same denomination, those players must discard that card and draw another. This continues until there are no tied cards. The player who draws the highest card has the first choice of seats at the table and will be the first player to receive cards in the deal. The player with the next highest gets second choice and this continues until all players are seated at the table. The player who ends up in the position to the immediate left of the player drawing the highest card becomes the dealer, thus ensuring the player to his right is the first to play during the hand. Thereafter, the deal rotates in a counter-clockwise rotation around the table.

Once seating positions and the first dealer are determined, the dealer shuffles and the player to his left cuts the deck. The dealer then distributes 13 card hands to each player in counter-clockwise rotation, one face-down card at a time. After dealing the hands, the dealer then takes the top card of the deck and places it face up next to the stock pile to start the discard pile. He then takes the next card from the stock and places it sideways and partially underneath the stock pile. All cards of the same denomination as this partially exposed card are considered wild along with the actual printed Jokers. If the card exposed is an actual printed Joker, then only the other printed Jokers remaining the deck are considered wild for this hand. The actual card itself that is exposed is not used further in the actual hand and is left partially covered by the stock pile.

The player to the immediate right of the current dealer takes the first turn. On a player's turn, he first draws a card. He may draw either the top face-up card of the discard pile or the top face-down card from the stock pile. He may then meld if able and willing and then completes his turn by discarding one card from his hand face up onto the discard pile. The turn rotates in counter-clockwise rotation around the table. A player drawing the top, face-up card of the discard pile may never discard that same card on the same turn. At the completion of his turn a player may declare "Rummy" if able.

The allowable melds in Indian Rummy are as follows: Legal Melds in Indian Rummy The turns continue until a player, during his turn, can go Rummy. Players keep their melds in their hand and do not play any to the table. In order to go Rummy, as in most other games of the Rummy family, a player must be able to legally meld all 13 of his cards at one time. Every turn must terminate with a discard including the last one, so a player declaring Rummy must first discard before doing so. In addition, before being able to declare Rummy and win the hand, a player must hold at least two sequences in his hand, one of which must be a Straight Meld. If Tanalas are used in the game (when playing with three decks), a Tanala can also be substituted for a Straight meld. When declaring Rummy, the player doing so must place his entire hand face up on the table such that the remaining players can verify his Rummy hand.

Once a player does go Rummy, winning the hand, the opponents are then charged a penalty score (which will be accumulated for the winner of the hand) based on the cards remaining in their own hands. The sum total of all the other players' penalty scores are then added to the hand winners current score. The following chart shows the values of cards found in a player's hand:
Card RankCard Value
Joker0
2 - 10Value marked on card face
Ace, King, Queen, Jack10
Not only do printed Jokers not add any to the score, neither do any of the cards that were designated as the Joker for the hand.

When adding up the point count totals for the other players, all cards in their hand must be counted, including those in legal melds. However, in a few circumstances, certain or all cards may not be counted as follows: The point totals for all the other players are then added to the player who declared Rummy. If a player manages to declare Rummy on their very first turn, after drawing their first card, that player only collects half the penalty for any players who have not yet had their first turn. In addition, these players do not receive a penalty for meldable cards. If a player is able to declare Rummy on their first turn before drawing a card, he collects double points from any remaining players who have not yet had a turn during the current hand.

A player may, at his turn, before drawing a card may elect to drop out of the current hand (this is called packing). If a player does this on his first turn of the game, the winner of the current hand will earn 10 additional points for each player who so dropped. If a player does this on any subsequent turn, the winner of the hand will earn 40 points for each player that drops. If all but one player drops in this way, that last remaining player wins the hand and any applicable points for the players who dropped. The hands for players who drop are set aside, not to be used or viewed for the remainder of the hand.

If at the beginning of any player's turn there is no remaining stock pile to draw from, the game ends with no score being awarded during this hand (including any points potentially earned for dropping). This is called a void game.

The game should continue until each player has had the opportunity to deal a set number of times. At the completion of this set number, the scores should be totaled and the player who has the highest total is declared the game winner.

Rummy Variations and Optional Rules

Double Score on Printed Jokers: One variant of this game doubles all scoring during the current hand if the card exposed to determine the Jokers is an actual printed Joker. Only the remaining printed Jokers are considered wild during the hand.

Ace Jokers: Another variant is played in which all Aces are considered wild if a printed Joker is turned when determining the wild cards to be used for the hand.

No Additional Jokers: In some games, only the printed Jokers are considered wild during the game. Thus, no card is exposed to determine extra wild cards for the hand.

No Jokers: In this variant, the printed Jokers are not used and neither is any card exposed. Thus, in this version, there are no wild cards in play.

At the Block: In standard Indian Rummy, if the stock is exhausted and no player is able to go Rummy the hand ends with no score. However, sometimes a variation is played in which, if the last card from the stock pile is drawn, all but the top card of the discard pile is turned over, shuffled and used to start a new stock pile.

21 Card Indian Rummy: Twenty one card Indian Rummy is a variant of Indian Rummy which is also widely played both online and at physical tables. It uses three standard 52 card decks plus three printed Jokers and is usually played by from 2 to 6 players. The ranking of the cards in this deck is the same as in the standard version of the game. Selection of seats and dealer are the same as in the standard Indian Rummy game as is the shuffle and cut. The deal is similar, however in the 21 card variant, each player receives a total of 21 face down cards to form their hand. Also similar to the standard version, after the players hands are dealt an additional card is exposed from the top of the stock and laid partially under the stock. This card will be used to determine which cards will be wild during the hand (see Wild Card section below). After this card is exposed the top card of the stock is turned face up beside the stock pile to start the discard pile.

The following are the allowable melds in this 21 card variant: Dublee: Although not usually a meldable combination of cards, 21 card Indian Rummy also includes the concept of a Dublee (which can earn various bonuses for a player at the end of a hand). A Dublee is two cards of the same rank and same suit. A wild card may not be used to form a Dublee, unless the Joker is being used as it's actual original printed value. In addition, two printed Jokers could be used to form a Dublee.

Potential Jokers in 21 Card Indian Rummy Jokers and Wild Cards: Similarly to standard Indian Rummy the printed Jokers are considered as wild and can be used to represent a card of any other rank. Also similar to the standard variant, a card is exposed from the deck to help determine additional wild cards for the hand. In the 21 card variant all cards that match this card in rank and suit are considered wild cards. However, in addition to these cards, all cards one numerical rank higher (called the High or Upper Jokers) and one rank lower (called the Low or Lower Jokers) of the same suit as the exposed card are also considered wild.

Special Cases: There are several special cases for specific cards that might be exposed as the Joker. If an Ace were the exposed card, all printed Jokers, Aces of the same suit as the exposed Joker, Kings of that same suit and twos of the same suit would be considered wild cards during the hand. Similarly, if a two were exposed, all printed Jokers, twos of the same suit as the card exposed, Aces of that same suit and threes of that suit would be considered wild during the current hand. If an actual printed Joker is the exposed card, then all printed Jokers, the Aces of all suits, Twos of Spades (♠) and Kings of Spades (♠) are wild cards for the hand. However, in determining bonus points for Jokers (described below), only the Ace of Spades is considered a Value card and earns bonus points for those combinations.

As in standard Indian Rummy, a player draws and discards during his turn. He may draw either the top card of the stock or the top, exposed card of the discard pile. However, if a Joker is discarded by any player, it may not be picked from the discard pile. Thus, at any time the event the top card of the discard pile is any Joker the player must pick the top of the stock unless the Joker was the first card turned to start the discard pile.

Dropping: A player may also elect to drop on any turn during the game. If a player elects to drop on his first turn he earns a penalty of 30 points. If a player drops during any other turn of the game, he earns a 70 point penalty. A player who drops discards his cards to the side and takes no further action in the current hand.

Eight Dublees calls for a Show The Show: On a player's turn he may declare a Show. He does this immediately after discarding at the end of his turn. When doing so the player would then arrange his hand into valid melds face up on the table in front of himself. In order to declare a Show, a player must be able to meld their hands in one of the following combinations: Once a player declares a Show and displays his melds, the remaining players then also show their valid melds of three cards or more. The hand is then scored.

Scoring: If a player has no meldable pure sequences in their hand at the end of the hand, that player would earn penalty points for all cards in his hand (including his meldable ones). If a player has one or two meldable pure sequences in their hand, all other cards except the cards contained in these sequences will be counted as penalty points. If a player has three or more meldable pure sequences in their hand, only deadwood (unmatched cards) would be counted. If all of a player's cards can be melded in valid sequences and sets, that player earns only 2 penalty points for the hand. If the player has 6 or more separate Dublees they would also earns only 2 penalty points for the hand. If the player has 7 or more Jokers which are not being used as part of another meld in the hand, only 2 penalty points are earned. In all cases, the maximum penalty points a player can earn on any hand in this way is 120. If the player has more than 120 points in cards in their hand, they only earn 120 such penalty points. The winner of the actual hand wins an equal sum to all such penalty points accrued by all other players during the hand. The value of the individual cards found in the players hand as per these rules is as follows:
CardScoring Value
Ace, King, Queen, Jack10
2 to 10Point value marked on card
Any Joker0
In addition the winner of the hand earns the points from each player who dropped during the hand; 30 points for each player who dropped on their first turn and 70 from each who dropped on a subsequent turn.

Bonus Points: In addition to the points the winner earns, all players during the hand can also earn bonus points for having combinations of Jokers in their hand (called Value cards).

In addition, special combinations of such Jokers can earn a player positive bonus points. These combinations (called Marriages or Jackpots) are as follows: Each Joker generally only earns points from one of the scoring categories. Thus a Joker used in a Marriage does not also earn points as an individual or group of Jokers. For each bonus positive point a player earns, each other player must subtract an equal amount from their own score. Players who have dropped, of course, do not subtract or add any additional points for the hand once they have dropped.

There are also several special cases regarding the scoring during a Show. If a player shows before some or all of the players have had a turn in current hand, all players who have not yet had a turn need only earn half the normal bonus points (the winner thus only earns half the bonus points from these players). The maximum penalty points a player could accumulate in that circumstance would be 60.

The game should continue for a set number of hands, after which time the player who has accumulated the highest total positive score is declared the game winner.



Hand: Hand is a Rummy type game which has many similarities to Indian Rummy. It is very popular in several Middle Eastern countries such as Kuwait and Qatar. Distribution of cards, direction of play and movement of deal all rotate in a counterclockwise direction during the game. Hand uses either one or two standard 52 card decks, dependent on the number of participants in the game. For two or three players, one deck is used. For four or five players, two standard decks are shuffled together and used. Two Jokers are then added to the pack, regardless of the number of decks to be used in the game. The ranking of the cards in this game is (from high to low); Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace. As will be noticed, an Ace can be either the lowest card in a sequential meld which also contains the two and three of the same suit or it can be the highest card in a sequential mode which also contains the Queen and King of the same suit. An Ace can never be a middle card in a sequence meld.

Any standard method can be used for determining seating positions and first dealer. Once this is determined, the dealer then distributes 14 face-down cards one-by-one to each player. However, the player to his immediate right, who will also have the first turn, is dealt one extra card, for a total of 15.

The player to the immediate right of the dealer then makes the first play. Each players turn normally consists of drawing the top card from the face down stock pile, declaring Hand if willing and able and then completing his turn by discarding to a discard pile (called the field) at the center of the table. A player may only draw the top card of the discard pile (field) on the same turn he will make an announcement or declare he has a "Hand". Or, if that player has already made an announcement during the current round, he may draw the top card from the field providing he uses it immediately to create a new meld or add to one of his own existing melds. For a declaration of "Hand", however, this will end the current round. Note also, that the first player on his first turn (who originally received 15 cards) does not draw a card since he initially received one extra card in his hand. This player simply completes his turn by discarding one of his fifteen cards to the field.

The goal of Hand is to be the first player to make a "Hand" and declare it. There are several different types of Hand, which are described further below. A player having such a "Hand" would thus be able to arrange all his cards into various melds and display them on the table. The following are the valid individual melds which can be made in the game: A Joker is a wild card and may be used to represent any other card in a valid meld. Any specific meld may contain a maximum of one Joker. For purposes of determining the value of cards in melds or for calculating values of unmelded cards left in a players hand when another player announces Hand, the cards in the deck have the following value:
CardScoring Value
AceNormally 11, but when used in a low sequence meld also containing the 2 and 3, the Ace has a value of 1.
King, Queen, Jack10
2 to 10Numerical value marked on card.
JokerValue of card the Joker is substituted for. When found unmatched in a players hand, its value is 20.

During a players turn, after his draw but before his discard, a player can announce that he has a "Hand". He is thus stating that he can meld the cards in his hand into one of the following "Hands" which normally wins the round and allows the player to subtract a number of points from his current score:
Hand NameDescriptionHand Winners ScoreAnnounced Scoring ValueUnannounced Scoring Value
AnnouncementA player can form valid melds from his hand totaling 51 or more points. Normally, when making an announcement, a player still retains some currently unmeldable cards. A player making this Hand announcement discards one card to the top of the field to end his turn. However, the round does not end in this case until this (or another) player is able to meld all the cards in his hand. A player cannot make an announcement until each player has had at least 8 turns.-30Value of all cards in the players hand, with each Joker counting 20.100
Regular HandA players hand consisting of his entire hand (14 cards) which can be formed into valid melds and a last card they will discard to the field which ends the round.-60Doubled sum of all cards in the players Hand200
Colored HandA Colored hand is when all 14 cards in a players hand are meldable and are of the same color. In addition, the 15th card discarded to the table must also be of this same color. To be considered to be of the same color, all the players cards must be of either Clubs and Spades (black cards) or Hearts and Diamonds (red cards).-120Quadruple value of all cards in the players Hand400
Suited HandA Suited hand is when all 14 of the players cards can be legally melded. In addition, these cards must all be of the same suit, as must the card which is discarded to the field to end the players final turn.-240Value of all cards comprising the players hand multiplied by 8800
Joker HandA Joker hand is similar to a Regular Hand. The only difference is that the 15th card played to the field must be a Joker.-120Quadruple value of all cards in the players Hand400
Double Joker HandA Double Joker hand is similar to a Regular Hand. The only difference is that the player must discard two Jokers to the field to end his turn and the game.-240Total value of all cards in the players hand multiplied by 8800
Joker Colored HandA Joker Colored hand is similar to a standard Colored Hand. A Joker Colored hand consists of 14 meldable cards of the same color and his last discard to the field being a Joker.-240Total value of all cards in the players hand, multiplied by 8800
Joker Suited HandA Joker Suited hand is similar to a standard Suited Hand. This hand must consists of 14 meldable cards of the same suit. The player's last discard to the field must be a Joker.-480Total sum of all cards in the players hand multiplied by 161200
Double Joker Colored HandThirteen meldable cards all of the same color, with the last two cards being discarded to the field to end the players turn and the round being the two Jokers.-480Total sum of all cards in players hand multiplied by 321600
Double Joker Suited HandThirteen meldable cards all of the same suit, with the last two cards being discarded to the field to end the players turn and the round.-720Total value of cards found in the players hand, multiplied by 643200
Example of a Colored Hand When a player has one of the Hands after drawing on his turn, he may thus announce he has a "Hand" which immediately ends the round. When a player makes a basic "Announcement" (but not a "Hand"), the game continues. However, after an announcement, the announcing player must place all his applicable melds on the table which must total at least 51 total points. That player then continues the game, and may create new or add to his own melds. He may not, however, announce any of the "Hand" values once making this basic announcement. He wins the hand by, after continued play, melding all 14 of his cards and discarding his last on one of his turns. A player may make an announcement during his turn even if another player has already made an announcement during the same round. Once a player makes such an announcement, they may continue to play valid melds or add to his own melds already on the table. No player may make a basic announcement until after each player has had at least 8 turns during the current round.

Normally a player cannot add to an opponents melds, however there is one exception to this rule. If a player has the exact card for which the Joker was substituted for in a meld displayed on the table, they may exchange that card for the Joker, adding it into their own hand for use in a meld of their own. If a three card Value meld contains a Joker, the Joker may not be exchanged, as it is not specifically clear which of the exact cards the Joker is replacing.

The player making one of the "Hand" announcements then subtracts the applicable points from the chart from his current score. A player who has previously made a regular announcement during the current round may not make a Hand announcement, but players who have not made any previous announcements during the current round may. For each opponent who has previously announced during this hand, that player must add to their current score the value listed in the column of the chart labeled "Announced Scoring Value". For players who have not announced during the current round, they must add to their score the value in the column of the chart labeled "Unannounced Scoring Value".

Although most games have various penalties for making irregularities or mistakes during the game (usually unintentionally), Hand has special rules governing the play. An irregularity in this game would consider any of the following:
  1. Taking the top card of the field without using it immediately in a meld.
  2. Announcing a Hand when not actually having one.
  3. Having two Jokers in the same meld.
  4. Announcing with a total card meld value less then 51 points.
  5. A value meld containing two cards of the same suit.
  6. Making an announcement before the required number of turns (8).
  7. Exchanging the Joker from an exposed Value meld which only contains three cards.
If the irregularity can be corrected immediately with no advantage to the player who makes the error, the game can continue with no penalty. However, if this error is found later or after the winner declares hand, a penalty is assessed to the offending players. The number of points is directly dependent on the winners hand, as per the following chart:
Hand NamePlayer Penalty Value
Announcement150
Regular Hand300
Colored Hand600
Suited Hand1200
Joker Hand600
Double Joker Hand1200
Joker Colored Hand1200
Joker Suited Hand1800
Double Joker Colored Hand3200
Double Joker Suited Hand6400
After a predetermined set number of rounds are played (usually nine or seven), the player with the lowest total score is declared the winner of the game.
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