Strategy For Beginners : Role Of A Joker In Rummy

Strategy For Beginners : Role Of A Joker In Rummy

Strategy For Beginners : Role Of A Joker In Rummy

There are card games, where the joker is excluded from the game, but in rummy it is integral to the gameplay. It is a game changer. For instance, you are almost close to declaring, but you need one card to form a set or impure sequence. If you have a joker, it is the perfect way to complete the grouping.

Importance of a joker:

Joker is a valuable substitute to complete an impure sequence and set, yet the point value for it is zero. While calculating, the formed set or sequence with a joker brings down the score.

Playing the Joker right is a tricky thing which a beginner may lack.  But understanding the perfect way of Joker management will help them in a long run. A new player should work towards understanding the tricks on using Jokers wisely. This will help them become a better rummy player.

As the saying goes, too much of something is good for nothing, if there are too many jokers in hand and you are still struggling to form a pure sequence, it is recommended to discard jokers.

Note: If a player throws/discards a joker by mistake or intentionally, the opponent cannot pick that discarded card, that is the joker.

There are two types of jokers:

The joker, whether a printed joker or a wild card joker, comes handy in rummy either to make an impure sequence or a set.

Printed joker (PJ): Two printed jokers come with a pack of cards. Indian rummy is played with two decks, so there will be four printed jokers in a game.

Wildcard joker: At the beginning of the game, a random card is selected as a wildcard joker. All the suits of that value are also the wildcard joker. For example, if 6♣ is the selected card, then 6 of , ♠, and are all wildcard jokers for that game.

A joker is used in forming impure sequences and sets.

Here is how you can use joker in impure sequences:

Scenario 1: You want an incomplete sequence, but you have a PJ. So, you can use it as a substitute. For instance, 23PJ 56 – here a printed joker stood as a substitute for 4.

Scenario 2: There are cases where you may have a PJ and wildcard joker. It is a quickest way to complete a combination. For instance, A♠2♠ PJ Q – here a printed joker and a Q – wild card joker completed the sequence.

Scenario 3: What happens when you have just one wildcard. For instance, say 2 is the wildcard, then it can fill in for 10♣ in this sequence – 8♣9♣2J♣

Scenario 4:  PJ 8 PJ – in this case, 8 is the wildcard joker and there are two printed jokers. Triple jokers are considered in rummy.

Scenario 5: You may get two PJs, which is perfect to complete an impure sequence. For example, 3♠PJ 5♠PJ 7♠ – here two printed jokers are substitutes to the missing cards.

Here is how you can use joker in sets:

Scenario 1: 22♠8♠ – in this set, 8♠ is the wildcard joker that is the substitute to complete the set.

Scenario 2:  K♣ PJ KK – the printed joker completes the combination.

Scenario 3: PJ PJ A – two printed jokers can be clubbed to form a set.

Scenario 4: PJ 7♠ 8– a printed joker and 7♠ – wildcard joker is used in this set.

How to use a joker to your advantage:

Let us say there are two players playing pool rummy. Both the players have jokers, but how can they use it to their advantage. In the following scenario, Q and its suits are randomly picked as the wildcard joker.

Player 1

Dealt Cards 2♣ 3♣ 9 6 56♣ 106♠7♠ 9 3 4 PJ
Sorted Cards 99♥   6♣6♠   456♥   2♣3♣ PJ   7♠103

Note –  After sorting Player 1 has created 2 sets, 1 pure sequence and used a printed joker to complete an impure sequence. However, the sets are lacking a card each for grouping. Then there are the unwanted cards that do not fit anywhere.

Player 2

Dealt Cards 8♠ 7 68♣ Q 5K♣ K JQ♠4♣ 8 4♠
Sorted Cards J♦ Q♦ K♦  678♥   8♠8♣   Q♠4♣4♠   5K♣

Note – Player 2 has two wildcard jokers. On sorting, it has formed a pure sequence and impure sequence with the wildcard joker. He has grouped the cards in 2 sets one with a wildcard joker, while the other set is incomplete. There are two random cards too that are unwanted now.

Note – Whenever player picks the card and if it is useful to him and he uses it, his hand will change. But if he discards the picked card because it is not useful to him then his hand will not change and will remain the same.

Round 1

Player 1

Action Player 1 wins the toss and picks J from the closed deck, but it is useless to him, so he discards it.
Same Hand 99♥   6♣6♠   456♥   2♣3♣ PJ   7♠103

Player 2

Action Player 2 needs 8 of or to complete the set, but he picks 5♣ from the closed deck. It is useless for him too, so he throws it in the pile.
Same Hand J Q K♦   678♥   8♠8♣   Q♠4♣4♠   5K♣

Round 2

Player 1

Action Player 1 picks 6 and he can use it to complete the set. He discards 3. Player 1 just needs 9 of any suits to complete the other set.
Changed Hand 99♥   6♣6♠6♦   456♥   2♣3♣ PJ   7♠10

Player 2

Action Player 2 picks A, again there is no place for it in the hand. He discards it as it is a high value card.
Same Hand J Q K♦   678♥   8♠8♣   Q♠4♣4♠   5K♣

Round 3

Player 1

Action Player 1 picks an 8 but throws it away as not useful to him.
Same Hand 99♥   6♣6♠6♦   456♥   2♣3♣ PJ   7♠10

Player 2

Action Player 2 picks up 8 since useful to him for making set. He discards 5.
Changed Hand J Q K♦   678♥   8♠8♣8♥   Q♠4♣4♠   K♣

Both the players neck to neck, but they are not aware of it. It is a race to declare a valid set and win the prize pool.

Round 4

Player 1

Action Player 1 picks 10♠. He keeps it to form a new set and discards 7♠.
Changed Hand 99♥   6♣6♠6♦   456♥   2♣3♣ PJ   10♠10

Player 2

Action Player 2 picks a PJ, which he quickly adds to 8♠8♣8 PJ and he places the unwanted K♣ in the finish game section to declare.
Changed Hand J Q K♦   678♥   8♠8♣8PJ   Q♠4♣4♠

Player 1 had only one joker to work with, but player 2 had three jokers – 2 wildcards and 1 printed joker. Players are more alert when they play rummy with jokers. The probability of finishing the rummy game is high for the person with more jokers. So, be alert and mindful of the jokers and how to use it to your advantage.

Here are some useful strategies to make use of jokers in a rummy game:

  • You can start with using the joker with higher value cards. That way you can reduce your points as well.
  • Before forming a set with a joker in rummy, you should have at least one pure sequence in place so that you stand a chance of remaining in the game.
  • After seeing the wild joker card, you can try and get rid of its adjacent cards. For example, if 2♥ is the open joker, you may discard its adjacent cards. This strategy is widely used by the beginners.
  • Wait for the wild joker cards and then start planning for sets. That way you can choose better picks from the deck. Also, if you start forming the sets immediately after the cards are dealt then there is a risk of discarding any useful cards as well.

Players are more alert when they play rummy with jokers. The probability of finishing the rummy game is high for the person with more jokers. So, be alert and mindful of the jokers and how to use it to your advantage.

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