How Rummy Game Evolved Around The World

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How Rummy Game Evolved Around The World

One of the most popular card games played across the world and age groups is hands down rummy. Much loved by both genders, rummy game is both relaxing and intense In equal parts. Evolved from the Mexican game of Conquian which finds its origins in the Chinese Khanhoo, Rummy has gained a strong foothold in different parts of the world especially India and it is believed that Indian Rummy forked from the American 500 rum.

These days with almost everyone playing rummy online, it is becoming easier for people to break away from the traditional setups and limitations. To enjoy a game, you no longer need a deck of cards or someone to play with. All you need is an internet connection and a smart device. No wonder people playing mobile rummy has become an everyday sight. The incredible growth online rummy has seen over the last few years is undoubtedly stupendous and only speaks for a new era of rummy. But ever wondered what was it like to play rummy back in the day? Let’s take a look at how rummy game was played before the rise of digital space. Here are some of the variants of rummy seen and played around the world. 

Rummy Game Variants:

Viennese Rummy 

Majorly played in Europe, the game is played with two packs of 52 cards with two jokers and is apt for two to six players. Each player receives 10 cards while the dealer has 11. The players don’t have to meld cards rather collect sets and runs in their hand until they declare rummy or knock. It belongs to the family of Knock Rummy where players only reveal their hand at the end of the game. Other popular variants of Knock Rummy are Tonk, Gin Rummy, Indian Rummy, and Rumino. 


Also called Rumina, this game is a variant of Knock Rummy and is popular in Italy. The game is said to have been popularised by the Italian immigrants in 1940s America by mixing up Scala Quaranta and Gin Rummy together and creating a new variant out of it. A deck of 52 cards is used to play with four Jokers. Each player receives seven cards and the rest of the cards are spread on the table. A player wins on drawing a 7-card straight flush and announcing Rumino. 


Among the most popular card games in Greece, Biriba is pretty akin to Italian game Pinnacola and is a part of the Canasta family. Played by two to six people with two decks of 52 cards and 4 jokers, Biriba has players playing in partnerships. The melding takes place by placing cards on the table face up. Each team of players has a designated area to keep their melds. The aim is to score sets and runs through melding of similar rank cards or earning runs of consecutive cards in a suit. 


Meant for two to four players, this variant is played in Austria and Germany. Treppenromme translates to staircase rummy and implies that the discard pile must be arranged in a manner that the cards are partially visible forming a treppe or staircase. The points are made through melding a high-scoring combination of cards. The game gets over the moment a player runs out of his hand cards irrespective of whether they put the card on the treppe. 


Pretty popular in Jamaica, locally known as Jamaican Rummy, this variant of Contract Rummy game has a version by the name of Super Kalooki which is hugely popular and is played in tournaments. There can be around three to eight players with four players at each table. Online Kalooki is pretty big too and is enjoyed by many. The game ends when a player gets rid of all his cards. The player with the lowest points wins. 


The Chilean variant of Rummy game is similar to the 13 card Rummy and emphasises on finishing the game with the least number of points. Popular in Argentina, Carioca is similar to Loba played in Central America. The only difference being Carioca has seven rounds while Loba has seven. Both games are part of the Contract Rummy. 


The Chinese card game is considered to be the oldest of card games in the world. Dating back to the Ming Dynasty, the draw and discard nature of the game is pretty similar to the present day Rummy. The origin of many card games is linked to Khanhoo, which also is associated with Mahjong and Conquian. The game was introduced to the West by William Wilkinson, a 19th-century British sinologist.

Robber’s Rummy 

Belonging to the category of Shedding games, Robber’s Rummy game allows players to recombine the cards in the melds which explains its name. A variant of the German Rummy, the game focuses on card matching. Players can rob cards to make new melds from the already made ones. The player who discards all the cards in hand by making new melds wins the game. It is played with a standard French 52-card deck with 2 to 6 jokers. 

Contract Rummy 

As the name suggests, the game has specific objectives announced by players before the game starts. Based loosely on Gin Rummy, the Contract variant can be played by three to eight people. Also known by names such as Phase 10, Deuces Wild Rummy, Combination Rummy, and Joker Rummy, Contract Rummy is played with a deck of 54 cards with seven rounds of hands in a game. Each player receives 10 cards each for the first four rounds and 12 for the remaining three. The player with the lowest score after all seven hands are played is the winner. 


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