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Indian Rummy

Of all the popular Indian games, card game Indian Rummy would certainly top the list. It is played like classical Rummy and is commonly known as 'Paplu' in India. Though its origin and history is vaguely known, Indian Rummy has been played for many decades now. It is widely believed to be a combination of popular US-based games called Gin Rummy and Rummy 500 and is just as much fun if not more!

Formats of Indian Rummy

There are 2 formats of the game as of now

  • 13 card
  • 21 card

Indian Rummy Rules

The game is played with 2 deck of cards between 2 to 6 players with the objective of arranging all cards in proper sequences and sets with at least one pure sequence. Each deck has 52 cards + 1 joker (wild card)

What is a sequence?

Running numbers of the same suit is a sequence. Ace can be used as the highest or the lowest card

What is a pure sequence?

A sequence made without using a joker is a pure sequence. The only exception to this rule is when the joker is not being used as a substitute card but as the card itself. For e.g if 8 of clubs is the chosen joker then 6, 7, 8 of hearts or 7, 8, 9 of spades is a pure sequence.

What is a set?

A Set is three cards of different suits but of same face value. Example of Valid Set: 8 of spades, 8 of hearts, 8 of clubs OR Jack of diamonds, Jack of clubs, Jack of hearts. Example of Invalid set: 8 of spades, 8 of hearts, 8 of spades OR Jack of diamonds, Jack of clubs, 8 of hearts

What's a joker?

There are 2 jokers in the card game Indian Rummy.

  1. The printed joker or the wild card
  2. A random card chosen from the deck after the cards are dealt and before the game begins. For eg if the random card selected is 8 (of any suit) then all 8's will be jokers

How does a joker work?

A joker is very useful in the game of Indian Rummy as it can be used as a substitute for any other card. For e.g., if you have already made your 2 mandatory sequences and need only one more card to finish your game, you don't have to wait for a specific card. You can simply use the joker instead of the card to complete your set or sequence and declare your game. If you have 2, 3 and 5 of spades, and 8 is the joker, then you can use the joker as 4 of spades to make your sequence. That will be an impure sequence, which is valid only once you have a pure sequence in hand.

It's good to see you are catching on fast!


The lesser points you have, the better! When a player makes a valid declaration, he/she gets 0 points. The remaining players get points based on the cards in their hands that are not grouped in valid sequences and sets. A, K, Q, J have 10 points each, and remaining cards have points based on their face value. Jokers have 0 points.

If a player makes an invalid declaration (declares without meeting the objective of the game) then the player gets 80 points

How To Play Indian Rummy

Now that you have got a hang of the basic rules, let's get into how the game is played. It's a simple, systematic process.

A dealer is selected at random. Subsequently each player takes turns to deal the cards

Shuffle and Deal: The deck is shuffled and each player is dealt 13 cards, one at a time.

Open card: Once the cards are dealt, the top card is opened for the game to begin. The open card may or may not be used by the person who starts the play

Joker: The dealer then selects a random card from the deck, which is the joker for that game. Now the game begins

Drawing and discarding: Each player in his/her turn draws a card either from the deck or the open card on top. The player must then discard a card, any card, which he/she is holding. There should only be 13 cards with each player at the end of every turn

Declaring the game: All cards must be arranged in valid sets and sequences (with at least one pure sequence). The 14th card should be discarded in the finish slot. This concludes one round of the game

Indian Rummy Tips and Tricks

Rummy is a game of skill, so one needs to work on sharpening that skill. This only happens with practice. However, below are some pointers that will help you stay on top of your game.

The most basic tip is to get your pure sequence as soon as possible. Once that is out of the way, you can focus on rearranging your cards, using jokers optimally and focus on minimizing your points.

A pure sequence can have more than 3 cards: It can have 4 or 5 cards as well. With six cards, you have two sequences, so half your job is done! This is an obvious but a very helpful tip.

While you focus on your game play, it is also important to observe your opponents game. Keeping track of the discarded cards and cards being picked up from the open pile are a good indicator of your opponents' hand. This gives you a fair idea of how to proceed with your own game

Discarding cards close to the joker is a good strategy as the chances of it being used by your opponent are less. And you certainly don't want to assist anyone's game but your own!

A smart player knows that Rummy is not only about winning but also managing your losses. Discarding high cards is always a good idea unless they are already forming a set or sequence

When you keep playing, you will develop your personal tips and tricks as well. Write now, this information is available to you and your opponent. So don't lose time. Start playing rummy now.


Some words you will encounter while playing Indian Rummy
Count: This is the total number of points of a player's deadwood.
Deadwood: Cards that have not formed sequences or sets are called deadwood.

Discard: When you pick up a card, you have to let go of another. This is called discarding the card. Discarded cards are placed on the open pile.

Drop: If you feel your cards aren't good enough, you can drop your hand any time to minimize your loss

Meld: Combination of cards is called a meld. When a player arranges the cards as sequences or sets, it is called melding.

Indian Rummy Tournaments

We at RummyCircle conduct many tournaments that happen on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Match your wits against people from across the country! You can play with cash or use practice chips to hone your skills. For detailed schedule click here.

Disclaimer - Rummy is a game of skill. The above testimonials are of real players who won cash prizes on RummyCircle.com. These testimonials are not indicative of likelihood of winning cash for any individual. Winning cash prizes is dependent on the skill of an individual in regards to the game of Rummy
* This is an indicative amount only and this includes promotional tournaments and bonuses. Actual amount may differ and would depend on the total number of cash tournaments played on the Website and bonuses claimed by players in a calendar month. Individual winnings depend on your skill and the number of cash tournaments you play in a calendar month.