Khanhoo

Khanhoo is a rummy game for two to four players. It was originally from China, though it experienced a period of popularity in England at the end of the nineteenth century. Khanhoo may be one of the earliest rummy games ever to be played. It seems likely that it at least influenced Conquian, considered to be the ancestor of most rummy games.

Object of Khanhoo

The object of Khanhoo is to be the first player to form their entire hand into combinations called melds.

Setup

A special 61-card deck is needed to play Khanhoo. To make one, take two decks of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards and remove all of the 10s. Then, take out the face cards in hearts, spades, and diamonds, and all of the remaining number cards from the clubs. Shuffle these two decks together, and add one joker, and you’ll have your Khanhoo deck. It will contain the joker, two each of the J-Q-K♣, and two each of aces through 9s in the other three suits. You’ll also need something to keep score with.

Shuffle and deal fifteen cards to each player. Then deal a sixteenth card to the player to the dealer’s left. Place the stub in the center of the table, forming the stock. (In a four-player game, the entire deck will be dealt out, so there will be no stock.)

Game play

Game play begins with the player to the dealer’s left choosing one card to discard. This starts a discard pile, usually placed to one side of the stock. The turn then passes to the left. This player draws one card, either from the stock or the discard pile, and then discards one card. Turns continue in this manner, with a draw and a discard by each player in turn.

If the stock runs out, its top card is set aside, the discards are flipped over, and then shuffled to form a new stock. The old top card then forms the new discard pile.

As the entire deck is used in the four-player game, there is no stock. Instead, each player simply draws the card that was discarded by the player to their left.

Melding

The players’ goal is to form their hands into melds. The valid melds, and their point values, are as follows:

  • Sequence (1 point): Three or more cards of the same suit in consecutive order, e.g. 6-7-8♥. Note that sequences will never include face cards or clubs, as the only “sequence” that can be formed using them is actually the more valuable royal assembly (see below). Aces are considered low in sequences (just below the 2). Note that the point value does not increase if more cards are added.
  • Aces (1 point): Three aces of any suit (duplicates are allowed).
  • Triplet (2 points): Three number cards of the same rank and of three different suits (no duplicates allowed).
  • Royal assembly (3 points): J-Q-K♣.
  • Court melds (4 points each): K♣-9♥-9♥, Q♣-8♠-8♠, or J♣-7♦-7♦.
  • Khanhoo (5 points): A♥-2♠-3♦.
  • Double aces (10 points): Six aces of any suit.
  • Double triplet (10 points): Two triplet melds of the same rank. That is, six number cards of the same rank, with each suit appearing exactly twice.
  • Double royal (10 points): J-J-Q-Q-K-K♣.
  • Double khanhoo (15 points): A-A♥-2-2♠-3-3♦.

As players form melds, they keep them in their hand (that is, they do not lay them out on the table). Thus, the players can rearrange and expand or split melds at will. The joker is wild, substituting for any other card in a meld without restriction.

Bumping

In a three- or four-player game, after a player discards, another player may intervene by claiming the discard before the next player can draw it. They may only do this, however, if they can immediately use the card in a meld other than a sequence. Taking the discard out of turn in this way is called bumping. When a player bumps, they must place the meld that the discard is part of face-up in front of them. They may then no longer alter the meld in any way (e.g. by making it from a khanhoo to a double khanhoo). They then discard as normal and play passes to the left, with the intervening players skipped.

If the player who would have normally had the right to the bumped discard (i.e. the player to the left of the player who discarded it) also wants the card, they may challenge the bump. Both players must then declare the type of meld they wish to use the discard for. If the player that wishes to bump can form a higher meld, they get the right to the discard. If the other player can make a meld of equal or higher value to the bumping player, then no bump happens, and play proceeds as normal.

Ending the hand

When a player has formed their entire hand into melds, they make one final discard and announce that they are out. Each player then reveals their hand, placing it on the table with each meld broken out. Each player then scores the value of their melds, with the player that went out also getting a five-point bonus.

The deal passes to the left, and a new hand is dealt. Game play begins until one or more players reaches a score of 50 points or more. Whichever player has the highest score at that point is the winner.

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Carioca (Loba)

Carioca is a rummy-type game for two to five players. It is a good example of a member of the Contract Rummy sub-group of the Rummy family. In Contract Rummy games, each player’s first meld must meet certain requirements called a “contract”, which change from hand to hand.

Carioca is mostly played by that name in Argentina, but it has been known to appear in Chile as well. In Central America, a version of the game with some variations is played under the name Loba. (There’s a game called Loba played in Argentina, but it’s not the same as Carioca.)

Object of Carioca

The object of Carioca is to score the lowest number of points by being the first to deplete your hand. Cards are disposed of by forming melds. In order to do so, the player must first make a certain combination of melds that meet the contract for the hand.

Setup

Carioca requires the use of two standard 52-card decks of playing cards, including jokers, shuffled together to make a 108-card pack. While you could use any old cards you have lying around, we know you’ll get the best results if you use Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards. Trust us on this one. You’ll also want something to keep score with, like pencil and paper.

Shuffle and deal eleven cards to each player, or twelve cards on the seventh and final hand of the game. Place the remainder of the deck face-down in the center of the table, forming the stock. The first card of the stock is turned face up; this card, the upcard, is the first card of the discard pile.

Game play

The player to the right of the dealer goes first. This player may draw either the current upcard or the top card of the stock. If they are able to meld any cards, they do so after melding. Finally, they discard one card, ending their turn. The next player to the right goes after that.

Melding

There are two types of melds in Carioca. One is the trio, which is three cards of the same rank. The other is the escalera, which is four cards of the same suit in sequence. Cards rank in their usual order, with aces either high or low (but not both at the same time).

Melding is subject to one big restriction: on each hand, on the first turn in which a player melds (their initial meld), they must, all at once, make the contract for the hand. The contracts for each hand are as follows:

  1. Two trios.
  2. One trio and one escalera.
  3. Two escaleras.
  4. Three trios.
  5. Two trios and one escalera.
  6. One trio and two escaleras.
  7. Three escaleras.

Note that on the sixth and seventh hands, meeting the contract will exhaust the player’s entire hand. On the first five hands, players will have cards left over when they make their first meld. On later turns, a player who has met the contract may extend any meld on the table with cards from their hand. That is, a player may expand a trio with more cards of the same rank, or they may add extra cards on the end or the beginning of an escalera. Any meld on the table can be expanded, whether you melded it or not.

Using jokers

Jokers are considered wild cards, and can substitute for any other card that you wish in a meld. However, when a player makes their initial meld, only one joker is allowed per meld. After making their initial meld, players may freely add as many jokers as they wish to a meld.

If there is a joker in an escalera, and you hold the natural card that it represents, you can play that card to the escalera in place of the joker. The joker then moves to either end of the meld. You can then extend the meld further from the joker, if possible.

Ending the hand

The hand ends whenever one player runs out of cards. That player wins the hand and scores zero. All other players count up the value of their deadwood (unmatched cards in hand) as follows:

  • Jokers: 50 points each.
  • Aces: 20 points each.
  • Face cards: 10 points each.
  • All other cards: Face value.

Each player’s deadwood value is their score for the hand. The deal then passes to the right for the next hand.

Whichever player has the lowest score at the end of seven hands is the winner.

See also

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Burraco

Burraco is a Rummy game much like Canasta. It is best played by four players in partnerships. Burraco adds several interesting features to Canasta, such as an extra hand each team must play before going out and the ability to meld runs rather than just sets of the same rank.

The Canasta branch of the Rummy family originates in South America. Burraco is most likely an evolution of one of several similarly-named games played there. At some point, it migrated across the Atlantic to Italy, where it really hit its stride. Burraco is incredibly popular there, played in tournaments with an official governing body!

Object of Burraco

The object of Burraco is to score 2,000 points before your opponent by forming melds of three or more cards of the same rank, and burracos, which are melds of seven or more cards of the same rank.

Setup

To play, you’ll need to shuffle together two decks (preferably of the same back design and color) of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards, including the jokers. This will give you a 108-card deck. You’ll also need something to keep score with, such as pencil and paper. If you’re really confident in your math skills, go ahead and use a pen. You might impress someone.

Determine partnerships by whatever method works for your group. Dealing out four cards and the two highs versus the two lows is a good way of doing it if you want a random method. Of course, if you can just agree on partnerships, so much the better. You could go further at this point and come up with team uniforms, mascots, and chants too, but that would be sort of silly. In any case, each player should sit opposite of their partner, so that as the turn goes around the table it alternates between partnerships.

Shuffle. The player to the dealer’s right cuts the deck. The dealer takes the bottom part of the deck and deals eleven cards to each player. Meanwhile, the player who cut retains the top part of the deck and, dealing from the bottom of the stack, makes two piles of eleven cards each. These two piles are called the pozzetti. Stack the pozzetti, putting them at right angles to one another to keep them separate. Place the bottom part of the deck atop the top part, completing the cut and forming the stock. Turn the top card of the stock face up, forming the discard pile.

Game play

The player to the dealer’s left goes first. They may draw either the top card of the stock or take the entire discard pile into their hand. Once that is done, they may lay down any melds they have. Then, they end their turn by discarding.

It should be noted that when you draw from the discard, you take the entire pile, not just the top card. Also, unlike in Canasta, there is no requirement that you have to be able to immediately use the top card of the discard—you can take the discard pile whenever you want! There is one restriction: if there is only one card in the discard pile and you take it, you cannot discard this card on the same turn. This is to prevent a player from presenting the same card their opponent on their right discarded to their opponent on their left. (Note that if you have the other card of the same rank and suit as the card you just drew, discarding the other card is totally fine!)

Melding

There are two types of meld in Burraco. The first is the set, which is three or more cards of the same rank. The second is the run or sequence, which is three or more consecutive cards of the same suit (cards rank in their usual order). As players form melds, they may lay them down face up on the table. Each player shares melds with their partner, and can add on to melds laid down by either player on any previous turn. A player may meld as many cards as they want on any single turn.

Aces may be played either high or low in sequences, but a meld cannot have more than one ace in it (i.e. you cannot have an ace at each end of the sequence). You can have more than one sequence of a given suit, but you cannot merge two melds that happen to grow to the same endpoints into one big meld. You also cannot divide one run into smaller melds.

Each partnership can only have one set for each rank. You cannot have a set of jokers or 2s.

Wild cards

Jokers and 2s are considered wild cards. Each meld can only contain one wild card (one joker or one 2, not one of each). In a meld, a wild card can take the place of any natural card.

In runs, a 2 can also be used as its natural value (e.g. in a run of ). 2s are not counted as wild cards when they are used in such a way. For example, 2-3-4♥-★ contains just one wild card—the joker. If there is no other wild card in a meld, a 2 used as its natural value can be pressed into service as a wild card. With a meld of 2-3-4♥, a player could add the 6♥ by changing the 2 into a wild (i.e. form 3-4-2-6♥, with the 2 standing in for the 5♥).

A wild card must always be placed at the low end of a run if it is not being used for one of the inside cards. For example, 7♠-★-9♠ is a valid meld, but 7-8♠-★ is not (it should be corrected to ★-7-8♠). If a player wishes to later extend the sequence upward using the joker, move the joker to the high end position. For example, if a player holds the 10♠ with a meld on the table of ★-7-8♠, they can move the joker to the end to make 7-8♠-★-10♠. This rule is to prevent a player from conveying to their partner which direction they want the run extended in.

If a player obtains a natural card that is already represented in one of their runs as a wild card, the player can place that card into the meld. For example, with a meld of 7-8♠-★-10♠, a player could replace the joker if they pick up a 9♠. The resulting meld would be ★-7-8-9-10♠. The melded wild card then moves to its usual position at the low end of the sequence. Note that you cannot replace one wild card with another wild card (e.g. to force a wild 2 into becoming a natural card).

Burrachi

Any meld of seven or more cards is called a burraco. If a burraco has no wild cards, it is called a clean burraco. Otherwise, it is a dirty burraco. A clean burraco is worth more points at the end of the hand than a dirty one.

Traditionally, a burraco is indicated by turning the end card at right angles to the rest of the cards. Clean burrachi are denoted by turning a second card in addition to the first.

Taking a pozzetto

When a player runs completely out of cards, they are able to take one of the pozzetti from the center of the table. If they take the pozzetto in the middle of a turn (i.e. before they discard), they simply pick it up and continue on with their turn. When a player discards their last card instead, they take the pozzetto but keep it face down in front of them until their next turn. This is to keep them from passing any information about their holdings to their partner.

After one player has taken a pozzetto, the other one is reserved for their opponents. The first player of the opposing partnership to run out of cards takes that pozzetto. Once a partnership has taken care of their pozzetti, when either player runs out of cards, they must be able to close instead.

Ending the hand

A player can close, ending the hand, as long as the following conditions are met:

  • That partnership has already picked up their pozzetto. (It is not necessary for the player who took the pozzetto to be the one that goes out.)
  • That side has at least one burraco.
  • They end their final turn with a discard. That is, they cannot meld all of their cards without discarding.
  • The final discard cannot be a wild card.

The hand also ends automatically if the stock is drawn down to two cards. After the player who drew the third-from-last card completes their turn, game play stops.

One other way the hand can end is with a stalemate. This is when the discard pile only has one card in it, and each of the players takes a turn where they simply draw the preceding player’s discard. After four turns (a complete orbit) of this, the hand ends.

Scoring

After the hand ends for any reason, each partnership totals the values of the cards in their melds, then subtracts the values of the cards left in their hands. Card values are as follows:

  • Jokers: 30 points each.
  • 2s: 20 points each.
  • Aces: 15 points each.
  • Ks–8s: 10 points each.
  • 7s–3s: 5 points each.

Additionally, each partnership scores the following bonuses, if applicable:

  • Clean burrachi: 200 points each.
  • Dirty burrachi: 100 points each.
  • Closing: 100 points. If neither team actually closed (due to stock depletion or stalemate), neither gets this bonus.

If a partnership failed to pick up their pozzetto, they take a –100 point penalty. The only exception is if a player got their pozzetto but never got to look at it; in this case the pozzetto is treated like the player’s hand and scored appropriately.

Game play continues until one partnership exceeds a score of 2,000 points. Whichever team has the higher score at that point is the winner.

See also

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Conquian (Coon Can)

Conquian, also known as Coon Can, is a rummy game for two players. Conquian follows an open (face-up) melding style, and allows users to rearrange their melded cards. One unusual feature of the game is that players are not allowed to draw cards into the hand—any new cards the player gets must immediately be melded!

Conquian is one of the oldest rummy games in existence, and it is believed to be the common ancestor of the entire family of Western rummy games. It is believed to originate from Mexico, although it could share a common Phillipine heritage with Panguingue. The roots of the rummy family may trace even further back, to the Chinese game of Khanhoo.

Object of Conquian

The object of Conquian is to be the first player to lay down eleven cards in melds.

Setup

Conquian is played with the traditional 40-card Spanish deck. To get your hands on such a deck, just take a deck of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards and remove all the 10s, 9s, and 8s. You’ll be left with the aces, face cards, and 7s through 2s in each of the four suits.

Shuffle and deal ten cards to each player. Place the stub face down in the center of the table, forming the stock.

Game play

The non-dealer plays first. They turn the first card of the stock face up. If they can form a valid meld with that card and two or more others from their hand, they can lay all the cards in the meld face-up in front of them as a group, then discard one card from the hand, placing it next to the stock to start the discard pile. Otherwise, they simply discard the card from the stock. The turn then passes to the dealer. They have the opportunity to use the discard to form a meld. If they can’t or don’t want to, they draw the next card from the stock and can meld it if possible, and so on.

Melding

There are two types of valid melds in Conquian. The first is the set or group, which is three or four cards of the same rank (e.g. 5-5-5). The second is the run or sequence, which is three or more consecutive cards of the same suit (e.g. 3-4-5♦ or 7-J-Q♠). Note that a nine- or ten-card sequence would make it impossible to go out, so a player will usually avoid sequences of longer than eight cards if they can help it. For the purposes of runs, aces are always considered low, and 7s are considered consecutive with jacks.

A player can only lay a new meld down when they have access to a card from the center of the table that can be added to it. That is, unlike in most rummy games, a player can never lay down a fully-formed meld from the hand. Nor can a player lay down cards on their opponent’s melds—all cards must be played only to a player’s own melds.

Players may rearrange their melds on the table in order to meld new cards from the stock or discard. A player may, for instance, move a card from a set of 4s to extend an A-2-3 sequence. They could then extend it further with a matching 5 from the discard pile. All cards on the table must be part of valid melds with three or more cards after rearranging.

Forcing

A player is not required to accept a card from the stock or discard pile that they are able to meld. However, if a player notices their opponent passing up a melding opportunity, they can compel the opponent to take the card and meld it anyway. This is a surprisingly powerful move, since it can occasionally force a player to make a meld that makes it impossible to go out.

Ending the hand

Game play continues until one player has melded eleven cards, i.e. the ten from their hand plus one more from the center of the table on the last turn. If the stock is depleted before a player goes out, the hand is considered a draw.

 

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Kowah

Kowah is a rummy-esque game for two to four players, from the Indonesian island of Java. In this game, players try to form their eight-card hands into triplets—but winning the game requires holding three cards of the same rank and suit!

Object of Kowah

The object of Kowah is to form a hand of a certain structure so that the player can make a declaration of checki. Then, the player must obtain a card of the same rank and suit as two others in their hand.

Setup

Kowah uses a highly unusual 120-card deck. To build such a deck, start with four decks of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards. From each deck, remove the aces through 10s of clubs. From the other three suits, remove the 10s and face cards. You’ll be left with two 30-card decks consisting of A–9♠, A–9♦, A–9♥, and J-Q-K♣. Shuffle these four 30-card decks together to form the full 120-card deck.

Shuffle and deal eight cards to each player. Place the stub in the center of the table, forming the stock.

Game play

The player to the left of the dealer goes first. They draw from the stock, then discard one card from their hand, placing it face-up next to the stock to form the discard pile. Upon discarding, the turn passes to the left. Thereafter, players may draw either the top card of the stock or the top card of the discard pile at the beginning of their turns.

Declaring checki

Players are trying to form a hand that meets either of these criteria:

  • Two threes-of-a-kind (suits do not matter) and a pair of the same rank and suit. For example, 5♠-5♥-5♦-7♥-7♠-7♦-A♦-A♦.
  • Three of a kind and a five-of-a-kind consisting of two pairs of the same rank and suit and one card of the same rank but a different suit. For example, 5♠-5♥-5♦-7♠-7♠-7♦-7♦-7♥.

Upon forming one of these hands, they declare checki, and place the pair of identical cards face up on the table in front of them. (For a checki of the second type, they may place either pair face up.) These cards are still considered part of the player’s hand.

When a player has declared checki

After player has declared checki, each time an opponent draws from the stock, they must reveal the card they have drawn. If it is a third card matching the same rank and suit as two in a checki player’s hand, they may claim that card. Likewise, if a player discards a card that would be the third card of the rank of suit a checki player needs, they may claim that card out of turn. As play continues, additional players may declare checki and are then able to claim cards out of turn the same way.

Game play continues until a checki player gets the third card they need. This player wins the game. If the stock is depleted before a player gets the card they need, the hand ends without a winner.

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Rumino

Rumino is a rummy-type game of Italian origin for two to six players. Although it is played with a double deck, and uses reverse scoring (lowest score wins), at its core it plays much like Gin Rummy. The game also includes the rumino—a special type of seven-card meld that allows a player to win the game instantly.

Object of Rumino

The object of Rumino is to be the last player remaining with a score of under 100 points. Points are scored when a player has unmelded cards remaining at the end of the hand.

Setup

Rumino is played with a 108-card deck of playing cards, formed by shuffling together two decks of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards, complete with four jokers. You also need something to keep score with, such as pencil and paper.

Rumino is often played for money. If you choose to do so, all players should agree to the value of one stake. Collect this amount from each player and amass it into a pool to be won by the winner of the game.

Shuffle and deal seven cards to each player. Place the stub in the center of the table, forming the stock. Turn over the top card of the stock and place it face up next to it. This card, the upcard, is the first card in the discard pile.

Game play

The player to the dealer’s left goes first. They begin their turn by drawing a card, either the upcard or the top card of the stock. After this, they discard a card (which becomes the new upcard for the next player’s turn). The next player does the same thing on their turn.

Players are trying to form their hand into combinations of cards called melds. A meld is three or four of a kind, or three or four cards of the same suit in sequence. (Cards rank in their usual order, with aces low.) If a player holds a joker, it is wild, and can substitute for any other card in a meld. When a player forms a meld, they keep it in their hand, rather than laying it out on the table.

While a player is forming melds, they are also keeping track of their deadwood count. This is the point value of all of the cards in their hand which are not part of a meld. Aces count for one point, face cards and jokers count as ten points, and all other cards count as their face value.

Going out

When a player reaches a deadwood count of seven or less at the beginning of their turn, they may knock. Knocking must be done before a player draws to start their turn. When a player knocks, every player lays their hand face up on the table, breaking the melds out separately. Each player then has the total value of their deadwood added to their score.

If a player manages to reach a deadwood score of zero, they may go gin instead of knocking. In this case, the player going gin scores –10, while all other players score their deadwood count, as before.

Ruminos

There are two special conditions known as ruminos: seven cards of the same suit, in sequence (e.g. 7-8-9-10-J-Q-K♦) or seven of a kind. Either of these may contain jokers. When a player obtains a rumino, they reveal it, and the game ends immediately, with the player holding the rumino as the winner.

Should a player have six cards to a rumino, and a card that could be used as the needed seventh card is discarded by another player, the player holding the potential rumino may interrupt and draw it out of turn. They then reveal their newly-completed rumino and win the game, as usual.

Ending the game

If no ruminos are scored, game play continues for several hands, with players’ scores gradually increasing. When a player reaches a score of 100 or more, they drop out of the game.

If playing for money, a player may rebuy into the game by contributing more money to the pool. A player’s first rebuy is the same as the initial stake. If a player rebuys again, their second rebuy is double that amount. The third rebuy is again double the cost (four times the amount of the initial buy-in), and so on. Whenever a player rebuys, their score is reset to that of whichever opponent has the highest score under 100. A player no longer rebuy when there are only two players left in the game (i.e. whenever the third-place finisher is eliminated from the game).

Whichever player is the last remaining with a score under 100 wins the game. That player collects the entire prize pool.

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Pif Paf (Cacheta)

Pif Paf (pronounced with a long sound in Pif, like peef), also known as Cacheta, is a Brazilian card game that combines rummy-style game play with betting. It can be played by three to eight players. Players race to be the first to form their entire hand into melds. Whoever does that first gets to collect the pot!

Object of Pif Paf

The object of Pif Paf is to be the first player to arrange your hand into melds.

Setup

Pif Paf is played with a 104-card deck formed by shuffling two standard 52-card decks (like Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards) together. You’ll also need something to bet with, such as poker chips. If desired, each chip can have a real-world cash value; if so, give each player chips equal to the amount of their buy-in. On the other hand, if you want to just play for fun, give each player an equal number of chips to start with.

Each player antes. Shuffle and deal nine cards to each player. Place the stub in the center of the table, forming the stock.

Game play

In Pif Paf, cards rank in their usual order, with aces low.

Betting

Each hand begins with a round of betting. The player to the dealer’s left has the first opportunity to bet. Betting is conducted the same as betting in poker. Players cannot raise beyond the ante multiplied by the number of players in the game (for example, in a four-player game with a 5¢ ante, the maximum bet allowed is 20¢). Should all players but one fold, that player takes the pot by default and the hand is not actually played.

Play of the hand

After the betting round is resolved, the player to the dealer’s left goes first. They begin their turn by drawing one card from the stock. Then, they discard a card, placing it next to the stock to form the discard pile. This ends their turn. Thereafter, each player may draw either the unknown card from the top of the stock or the top card of the discard pile, as is typical in rummy games.

Players attempt to form melds as they play the game. There are two types of meld in Pif Paf. The first is the sequence, which is three or more consecutive cards of the same suit. The second is the group, which is three or more of a kind, containing exactly three suits. For example, Q♠-Q♥-Q♦ and Q♠-Q♥-Q♦-Q♦ are both groups, but Q♠-Q♦-Q♦ is not, and neither is Q♠-Q♥-Q♦-Q♣. Players keep their formed melds in their hand and do not lay them down on the table or otherwise reveal them.

If the stock is exhausted before a player goes out, simply turn over the discard pile to form a new stock without shuffling it.

If a player discards a card that is the last card another player needs to go out, they may claim that card out of turn. In the event that there are multiple players who could go out with the same card, the next player in turn order from the player that discarded it gets the right to claim it first.

A player may go out when they can form all nine of the cards from their hand into melds. They discard and then reveal their hand, broken out into melds. If all of the melds are valid, then they win the hand and collect the pot. The winner of the hand then deals the next one.

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Panguingue (Pan)

Panguingue (pronounced pan-ginn-geh), also known as Pan, is a Rummy-type game for two to fifteen players. It is best for six to eight. Unlike most Rummy games, however, players cannot simply hang onto the cards they draw. They must be melded immediately or discarded!

Panguingue is probably of Philippine origin. In fact, the Oxford English Dictionary attributes the name Panguingue as deriving from Tagalog, one of the principal languages of the Philippines. It was first recorded in the United States in 1905. In the early twentieth century, Panguingue was widely played throughout the American Southwest, including in Las Vegas casinos. While it is no longer played as widely, an active community of players still enjoys the game.

Object of Panguingue

The object of Panguingue is to be the first player to meld eleven cards.

Setup

Panguingue is played with an unusually large number of cards. A Panguingue deck is based upon 40 cards, obtained by starting with a standard 52-card deck (like Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards) and removing the 10s, 9s, and 8s. Eight of these 40-card decks with the same back design are shuffled together to form a 320-card pack. (Some players choose to play with as few as five or as many as eleven decks—a 440-card pack!)

You will also need some sort of tokens to keep track of the score with, such as poker chips. If you wish, each chip can be purchased for an agreed-upon amount of real currency. Otherwise, the chips will serve as valueless MacGuffins, which should be distributed equally to the players.

All players ante to form the pot. Shuffle and deal ten cards, two at a time, to each player. Place the stub face down in the center of the table, forming the stock. Turn over the first card of the stock. This card, the upcard, is the first card of the discard pile.

Game play

Prior to the first play of the hand, each player has the opportunity to drop out of the hand. If they choose to do, they must play two chips to the pot.

The player to the right of the dealer goes first. Thereafter, turn order continues to the right, the opposite of most games.

A player begins their turn by drawing a card. This may be either the upcard or a card from the stock. If a player draws from the stock, they may either meld it or discard it. If drawing the upcard, the player must be able to meld it immediately, then discard another card from their hand. A player may not draw a card and add it to their hand for use later.

If the current player is faced with an upcard that they can meld, any other player may compel them to draw and meld that card. This is known as forcing. Forcing can cause players to discard cards they might otherwise wish to hold onto.

In the event that the stock runs out, set the upcard aside and turn the rest of the discard pile face down. Shuffle it to form the new stock. The upcard remains in place as the new discard pile.

Melding

As players form melds, they lay them face up on the table in front of them. A player may meld as many cards as they wish on their turn. There are two types of melds in Panguingue. The first is the spread or square, and the second is the rope or stringer, which roughly corresponds with the sequence found in other rummy games.

A spread consists of three or four cards of the same rank in different suits. A spread can also be three identical cards (i.e. three copies of the 5♠). A meld of two cards of one suit and one of a different suit, e.g. 5♠-5♠-5♦, is not a valid spread. Aces and kings, however, are exempt from suit restrictions on melds. That is, any three kings or aces may form a valid meld.

A rope consists of three or more cards of the same suit, in sequence. An example of a valid rope is 5-6-7♥. Because the 8s, 9s, and 10s have been removed, 7s are considered consecutive with jacks, so 6-7-J♦ is a valid meld. Cards otherwise rank in their usual order, with aces always low.

As players acquire cards that match with their existing melds, they may lay off these cards to their melds. Spreads that are all of one suit can only be extended with further cards of the same rank and suit. Spreads of multiple suits may be augmented with any card of the correct rank (suits may be duplicated). Ropes may be extended on either end by cards of the same rank in sequence.

Conditions

Players score extra payouts from certain melds known as conditions. Whenever a player forms a condition, each of their opponents pays them a certain number of chips depending on the condition. Some conditions are based upon valle cards (pronounced as in “valley cards”)—3s, 5s, and 7s.

The conditions are:

  • A spread of valle cards…
    • …of different suits (one chip)
    • …all clubs, diamonds, or hearts (two chips)
    • …all spades (four chips)
  • A spread of non-valle cards…
    • …all clubs, diamonds, or hearts (one chip)
    • …all spades (two chips)
  • A sequence of A-2-3 or J-Q-K…
    • …all clubs, diamonds, or hearts (one chip)
    • …all spades (two chips)

If a player lays off further cards to a condition they played, their opponents must pay them the prescribed amount again for each card added to it.

Borrowing

A player may split a meld of six or more cards into two melds, so long as both of the new melds are valid melds on their own. This is known as borrowing from the larger meld. A player may also take cards from an existing meld to form a new meld with cards from the hand. The remaining cards must still form a valid meld, however. For example, you cannot cannibalize the 4 from a 2-3-4-5 rope to form a spread of 4s, as 2-3-5 is not a valid sequence.

When borrowing creates a new condition, the players opponents pay them exactly as if they had just played the meld from the hand.

Going out

A player is out when they have eleven cards melded in front of them. This means that a player must meld all ten cards in their hand, plus one draw. That means a player may find themselves with ten cards on the table and none in hand. A player in this situation must simply keep drawing, hoping to find a card that matches with their melds to allow them to meld that critical eleventh card.

This situation is the only time in which a player does not have to meld a card they just drew. If the next opponent in turn order has ten cards melded, and discarding the card they just drew would cause the next player to go out, they may instead retain that card and discard another.

When a player goes out, the hand ends. The player collects the pot, plus one chip from each active player, plus another round of payments for each condition they hold.

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Kaluki (Caloochi)

Kaluki (also known as Caloochi) is a game in the Rummy family that was popular in the eastern United States in the middle part of the 20th century. It can be played by two to four players, but is best for four.

Despite its homophonic name, it is not to be confused with the Caribbean game named Kalooki, which is a totally different game based on Contract Rummy.

Object of Kaluki

The object of Kaluki is to be the first player to deplete their hand of cards. A player achieves this by forming combinations of cards called melds.

Setup

To play Kaluki, shuffle together two standard 52-card packs of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards, complete with jokers. You’ll be left with a 108-card pack that has two of each card, ace to king, in each of the four suits, with four jokers.

You also need some form of token to keep track of the scoring with. Poker chips work well, as do buttons, pennies, or any number of other small doodads. Establish whether or not each counter will hold some form of monetary value. If so, determine how much they’re worth and exchange them for cash appropriately. (If you’re using pennies as tokens, you really shouldn’t make them worth anything more than 1¢, since otherwise, you risk making a mockery of fiat currency systems.) Simply distribute the tokens equally between the players if you opt not to play for money.

Shuffle. The player to the dealer’s right cuts the cards, exposing the bottom card of the half of the deck they lifted up. Should this be a joker, the player cutting the cards keeps it and is dealt one fewer card than the other players. The player then completes the cut. Deal fifteen cards to each player (unless the player at their right kept a joker, in which case skip them in the last round of dealing). Place the stub in the center of the table, forming the stock. Turn over the top card of the stock. This card, the upcard, will become the first card of the discard pile.

Game play

Before actual game play begins, the dealer gets a chance to draw the upcard. If they do, they replace it with a discard from their own hand, which becomes the new upcard, and their turn ends. If they choose not to take the upcard, the play simply passes to the dealer’s left. They do not get a draw from the stock or any other consideration if they simply don’t like the upcard.

The player at the dealer’s left gets the first full turn. They may draw either the top card of the stock or the upcard. If they take the upcard, it must immediately be used in a meld. After drawing, they may meld, as described below, if able. Thereafter, they discard one card, and the turn passes to the next player.

Melding

Each card in Kaluki has a point value, used to determine the value of melds it is used in. Aces are worth eleven points, face cards ten, and all other cards their face value.

Valid melds are the same as in most other Rummy games: three or four of a kind, or three or more cards of the same suit in sequence. An added stipulation is that duplicate cards are not allowed in melds. That is, in three or four of a kind, all of the cards must be of different suits. J♠-J♣-J♦ is a valid meld, but J♠-J♦-J♦ is not. Aces may be either high or low in sequences, but not both. K-A-2 isn’t something you can meld.

The first set of melds a player makes in each hand is their initial meld. These melds must total at least 51 points. If other players have melded, the player may lay off on their opponent’s melds as well, and count these toward their initial meld total. However, a player must lay down at least one meld of their own to satisfy the initial meld requirement.

After a player has made their initial meld, they may meld on their turn as much or as little as they please.

Ending the hand

The hand ends when a player runs out of cards. That player wins the hand. Each of the winner’s opponents pays them one unit for each unmelded card left in their hand, and two units for each joker. If a player is able to meld all fifteen of their cards in one turn, they have gone Kaluki and the payouts are doubled—two units for each unmelded card in hand, and four for each joker.

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Continental Rummy

Continental Rummy is a Rummy variant that supports a lot of people. A lot of people. You can play it with as few as two or as many as twelve players! Unlike many other rummy games, in Continental Rummy you cannot lay down melds as you get them. Also, unlike Gin Rummy, you cannot go out with part of your hand unmelded. Going out is an all-at-once, one-and-done deal.

Object of Continental Rummy

The object of Continental Rummy is to be the first player to organize your hand into sequences and go out.

Setup

The size of the deck in Continental Rummy scales up as the number of players do. A game can use as few as 106 or as many as 212 cards! If playing with two to five players, shuffle together two decks of Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards plus two jokers. For six to eight players, use three decks plus three jokers. And for nine or more players, use four decks plus four jokers.

You will need some way of keeping score. The simplest way is to give each player an equal number of poker chips or similar tokens and handle the accounting that way. Each of these chips may represent a cash value, if desired, or simply an abstract point. You can also use pencil and paper, but scoring on paper is complicated by having to enter each score twice (as a plus for the winner and as a minus for each loser).

Shuffle the cards, using the multiple-deck shuffling technique if needed. Deal fifteen cards, three at a time, to each player. Then, place the stub in the center of the table, forming the stock. Turn the top card of the stock face up. This card, the upcard, is the first card of the discard pile.

Game play

The player to the dealer’s left goes first. They begin their turn by drawing either the upcard or the top card of the stock. Then, they discard any card they wish, which becomes the new upcard. Play then passes to the left. Play continues like this until a player can go out. If the stock runs out before then, set aside the current upcard, shuffle the discard pile, and turn it face-down to form a new stock.

Players are attempting to use the cards they draw to build sequences. A sequence is three to five cards of the same suit in consecutive order. Cards rank in the usual order, and aces may be high or low, but not at the same time. That is, 3-2-A-K-Q is not a valid sequence. Jokers count as wild cards, and may substitute for any card a player wishes. A player may have multiple sequences of the same suit. Unlike most other rummy games, sequences are the only melds in the game; sets of three or more of a kind do not count as a meld.

In order to go out, a player must have all of their cards in sequences. The following are the only valid combinations of sequences a player is allowed to go out with:

  • Five three-card sequences.
  • Three four-card sequences and one three-card sequence.
  • One five-card sequence, one four-card sequence, and two three-card sequences.

No other combination of sequences (e.g. three five-card sequences, a twelve-card and a three-card sequence, etc.) is allowed. When a player is able to go out, they discard their sixteenth card and lay the others face up on the table. The players then verify that it meets one of the legal patterns listed above. If it does, the player wins the hand. If it doesn’t, the hand continues, with the player who wrongly declared themselves out being forced to play with an exposed hand.

Scoring

A player who wins the hand collects the following from each of their opponents:

  • One point for winning
  • Two points for each joker melded
  • Seven points for going out on the first turn
  • Ten points for going out with the fifteen cards dealt (i.e. on the first turn, without drawing)
  • Ten points for using no jokers
  • Ten points for the entire hand being of the same suit

Game play continues until one player reaches a previously agreed-upon number of points. That player, of course, wins the game.

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