How to Play Pay Me

Pay Me is a fun and relaxing Contract Rummy style game. A very similar game, called Three Thirteen is described in the variations section below.

This game is designed to be played by 2 to 8 players all playing independently. If played by two players, one standard 52 card deck is used with the addition of two Jokers. If the game is to be played by 3 or 4, two such decks are usually shuffled together to be used during the game. For 5 to 8 players, three decks should be used. The standard ranking of the cards in this game is as follows (from high to low); King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, Ace.

Determination of seating positions and first dealer can be done using a variety of methods, with drawing of high cards a common method. The players drawing the highest card from a shuffled, face down deck selecting the seat of his choice at the table, the player drawing the second highest is the next to select a seat and so on. The player drawing the highest card of all is set as the first dealer, with the deal rotating in a clockwise direction between each hand.

Pay Me is played over a series of 11 rounds, with the number of cards dealt increasing in each round. For the first round, the dealer shuffles the cards and deals out three face down cards to each player. For each subsequent round one extra card is dealt to each player. In addition, numerous wild cards are used in this game. All Jokers and Twos are considered wild cards and may be used to substitute for any other card in the deck. In addition, each round has a specific wild card for that round. The wild card for the round is the same as the number of cards received. The following chart summarizes the number of cards dealt on each hand the card which will be designated as the wild card for the hand:
RoundCards Dealt to Each PlayerWild Cards
13Jokers, Twos and Threes
24Jokers, Twos and Fours
35Jokers, Twos and Fives
46Jokers, Twos and Sixes
57Jokers, Twos and Sevens
68Jokers, Twos and Eights
79Jokers, Twos and Nines
810Jokers, Twos and Tens
911Jokers, Twos and Jacks
1012Jokers, Twos and Queens
1113Jokers, Twos and Kings
      Initial Cards Dealt for Playing Pay Me

Pay Me Wild Cards Wild cards can be used to substitute any other card (including a card of it's own denomination). There are a few stipulations on the use of wild cards, however; A meld may never contain more wild cards than natural (non-wild) cards, and in any run, two wild cards may not be used directly in sequence.

After dealing out the requisite cards to each player in a clockwise rotation, one by one, the dealer places the remainder of the deck, face down in the center of the table as the stock. He then turns over the top card of the stock, placing it beside the stock to form the discard pile.

During each hand, players attempt to form their hand into valid melds before their opponents manage to do the same. The player to the dealer's immediate left then has the first turn. On each turn a player begins by drawing one card; either the top, face-up card of the discard pile or the top card from the stock pile. To end his turn, the player would normally discard a card from his hand onto the top of the discard pile, face-up. If a player finds that all cards in his hand can be formed into legal melds, he may also make a declaration of "Pay Me" without making such a discard. Thus, if a player makes a declaration of "Pay Me", he is not required (but is permitted) to discard on that turn.

Thus, the player's turn generally consists of drawing cards in an effort to form his entire hand into one or more valid melds. The valid melds in this game are as follows:
Example Melds in Pay Me Once a player, on his turn, declares "Pay Me", the remaining players each have one more turn to draw and discard, but may only draw from the stock pile, the discard pile is prohibited once a player declares "Pay Me" on that hand. If another player also can match all his cards into valid melds, he is not obligated to draw or discard on this last turn. Once each player has had this last turn, the player who declared "Pay Me" must then expose their entire hand, declaring each of his melds. After this the other players then also expose their cards, showing their valid melds. They may also lay off any cards from their own hand onto the melds of the original player who declared "Pay Me", but cannot lay off on the melds of any other player. These players may only extend the melds of the player who declared "Pay Me", but may not play the natural card to replace wild cards in those melds.

After each player has had one last turn, the scores for the hand are determined. The players then earn a number of points in their hand based on the unmeldable cards in their hand. The following chart shows the point value for these cards:
Card DenominationPoint Value
Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 75
8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King10
Jokers and other Wild Cards15

After each hand the deal rotates to the next player in a clockwise direction. After all 11 hands have been completed, the player with the lowest accumulated score over all the hands is declared the game winner.


Variations and Optional Rules

Full Cycle: One common variation of Pay Me is to play in a full cycle. In other words, the game is played in a total of 22 rounds. The players continue receiving one additional card each round, up to a total of fourteen cards. In this round, Aces are the special wild card for the hand. After the 14th hand, the players then receive one fewer card during each subsequent deal. This continues until the 22nd hand in which the players again will receive three card hands. After this hand the game is completed and scores totaled to determine the winner of the game. Obviously, this can make for much longer and higher scoring games.

Three Thirteen: Three Thirteen is a game played very similarly to Pay Me. It is played identically to the standard game with the following differences: In all other respects this game is played the same as Pay Me, described above.
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