The Journey from Tables to Screens – Rummy Game & Evolution


Okay, while playing rummy, has it ever occurred to you when and how did it all start? No, not just rummy – it’s card games we are talking about. Hearts, spades, clubs, diamonds; these are all instilled in our minds as if they existed since the very outset of mankind – is that true? Or is that what we believe?

Well, you know the origin of card games can be traced back to 1000 AD, but what developments followed later?

Wear your ‘historian’ Chashma as we take you through the timeline of card games –

  • 1360 – Chinese reached Europe from an Egyptian empire called Mameluke
  • 1377 – There is a mention of playing cards in one of the manuscripts by a German monk’s friend from Switzerland, Johannes
  • 1400s – Religious sermons are a testimony to the card and dice games
  • 1440s – With the advent of Gutenberg’s printing press, the production of wooden carvings in decks became even more popular in France
  • Late 1400s – Italy introduced court cards with a knave, mounted king, and a crowned & seated queen
    Fun Fact – The first European cards were considered a luxury item with hand-painted motifs and representations. But with more manufacturing units and cheap labor, cards became widely accessible.
  • Early 1500s – The French community introduced the most commonly used suits today – clubs, spades, hearts, and diamonds
  • Late 1500s – French manufacturers started giving names to cards in relation with the literary epics and classics like Bible
  • 1700s – Taxing on decks was imposed
  • 1828 – To save taxes, the cards were purchased only from the commissioner of stamp duty with a proof of duty paid and the manufacturer’s name
  • 1835-1871 – This period marked the invention of New York Card Company by Lewis I. Cohen capable of printing all colored cards at once

1875 – First recorded time when JOKER was used as a wild card in the United States


A basic search would make you familiar with David Perlett – who, in one of his books mentioned the origin of all forms of Rummy from a Mexican game called ‘Conquian’. With a rich history of 400 years, here are a few facts about Indian rummy

  1. The most popular variation of rummy in India is called – PAPLU, yes! This game has slightly different rules and is often considered a mix of gin rummy and rummy 500
  2. The Indian version of rummy is believed to be taken from the South Asian variant called Rhuk
  3. The game picked up popularity in no time and is now available in 60 variations under the umbrella of canasta, melding, rummoli games, shedding, Chinese cards, tiles, contract, so on and so forth – this is why rummy is called the ‘Mother of card games’
  4. It is the third most popular game across the globe! – From being a stress buster to improving cognitive skills, there’s no doubt why it won’t be popular!
  5. There are many interesting stories around the game – one of them says the game was played for Rum. The loser had to buy Rum for the opponents and winner on the table.

    Take Home –
    The highest margin win in any rummy game has been 500 and none of the players has been able to break that (thinks about breaking the record!). Well, good luck folks!

Indians and the love for Rummy?

Well, Indians have loved entertainment since ages –archaeological findings and sites of ancient civilization are a testimony to it. Among hordes of recreational means, card games have never failed to make a place. From Mughals to the digital version of Rummy, Rummy has been one of the most prominent games in India.  Here’s why –

 There’s no denying that card games have always been a vital part of Indian traditions and culture. Rummy is believed to have formed the social fabric of various societies and families. The onslaught of video games couldn’t stop card games from surviving, to say the least: in fact, the introduction of Rummy in the digital arena surged its popularity more than ever.

  • Krida-Patram Ever heard of it? This is what they used to call cards in ancient India, especially the royal courts. The legacy of card games has translated rummy into a game of significance – from cognitive skills to decision making abilities, there’s no reason not to.
  • The classical Indian movies have showcased the denizens indulging in playing the card games as a source of ‘joy’. Be it clubs, festivities, holiday trips or journeys, rummy is one such game that has brought Indians together – with the advent of online rummy, this has become even more interesting because of easy accessibility.
  • Mathematics and Indians go hand in hand (believe us!), and rummy is about permutation, combinations, and probability! By racking their brains hard, Rummy makes people confront new challenges with every new game – and this is what makes it one of the most popular of the lot!

India has a very impressive culture enriched with a lot of elements – and Rummy being one of them. Just like everything else in the nation, card games have seen an evolution too by getting online in the modern world. With the smartphone’s penetration in tandem with affordable data charges, rummy has become accessible to all and sundry. A perfect balance of skills and entertainment, Rummy is waiting for you to use your brains!


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