Invented by Howard Fosdick © BestFreeNewGames.com
Rummy games are entertaining but placid. In contrast, Robber Rummy
becomes boisterous as players steal each other's scoring cards.
For 2 to 5
playing individually. Also for 4 players paired into two partnerships.
Two 52-card packs
(with identical backs). A set of coloured poker chips or similar
markers, with a different colour for each player or partnership.
Score the most
points in a single deal. Win Game by being first to 400 points across
Deal 13 cards to each
player. Turn one card face up for the start of the discard
Place remaining cards in a face down pile to compose
the draw pile.
In his turn, a player:
- Either draws one card from the
draw stock ---OR--- takes the
entire discard pile into his hand.
If the player chooses to take up the discard pile, he must
first take the topmost card only
and meld it to the table.
Only after melding it does he take the rest of the discard pile
into his hand (which he is required to do).
- The player optionally makes any melds he wishes. The player
may also steal meld(s) from his opponent by adding one or more
cards to each he steals.
- The player discards one card face up onto the top of the discard
pile. If he took up the discard pile into his hand in his turn, this
single card forms the start of a new discard pile.
A set of matched cards is called a meld
. The two kinds of melds are:
|3 or more cards of the same rank
|3 or more cards of one suit in
All cards in melds must be placed on the table such that they are fully visible to all parties at all times.
Since two decks are used, it is possible to have a single set meld of up to 8 cards.
For sequence melds, cards rank, from low to high: A-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-J-Q-K-A. This is also the maximum length sequence meld.
Aces may be played high or low.
To declare a
meld, a player places it face up in front of him on the table. To
denote his ownership, he places a poker chip of his own
colour on top. The player scores points for this meld only if he still
owns it when the hand ends.
In his turn, a player may steal any of his opponent's melds by adding
one or more extra card(s) to that meld, then marking it with
his own colour poker chip.
Example: Player A declares
the meld 3-Hearts + 3-Spades + 3-Clubs by placing it face up before
him on the table along with his own colour poker chip. In his turn,
Player B adds another 3-Hearts to the meld and steals it.
He replaces the original owner's poker chip with his own.
The Discard Pile:
Example: Player A lays down a Spades sequence of 9-10-J-Q.
In his turn, Player B steals the meld by adding the King and Ace of
Spades to it. He denotes his ownership by changing the identifying
Melds can only be added to and/or stolen.
They may not be merged together or split apart.
pile starts as a single face up card placed on the table
after the initial deal of cards to the players. At the end of each
player's turn, he is required to discard one card face up onto the top
of the discard pile. The cards must be stacked and "squared up" such
the top card is
visible at any one time. Players may not
peek underneath the top card of the discard pile.
In his turn, instead of drawing a single card from the drawing stock,
a player may take the entire discard pile into his hand. To do this,
he is required to immediately
meld the top card of the discard pile to the table. The
player cannot use cards from the discard pile below the top card when
melding the top card.
The player then takes the entire discard pile into his hand and makes any melds he
wishes. Any cards he does not meld he keeps in his hand. When he discards, his single face up discard
starts a new discard pile.
A hand ends when
- One player melds his entire hand
and goes out (goes rummy).
A player may rummy either with or without a final discard.
The last card is drawn from stock. In this case, the player who
drew the last card finishes his turn, then the hand immediately
ends. No other players may make any plays.
Scoring is performed
after the hand ends. Players score points for all cards in melds they
own at the end of play. Cards still in players' hands score negative
points against the players holding them. There is no "going out" bonus
For set melds
, each player
scores for his melded cards as per the scoring chart below. For sequence melds
melded cards are worth double those in the chart:
|Ace (played high or in a set of aces)
|King, Queen, Jack, 10
|9 down to 2
|Ace (played low)
Example: A meld on the table
of 4-Hearts, 4-Spades, and 4-Clubs is worth 5 + 5 + 5 points, or +15
Example: A sequence meld on the table of
9-10-J-Q-K-A is worth: 5 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 15 times
2, or +120 points total.
For players still holding cards in hand when the hand ends,
negative points for those cards are scored as per the above table.
Penalty card values are never doubled. Aces in hand are always valued
Example: A player has the
following cards in hand when play ends: 2, 3, 4, 5, Jack, Ace. The
penalty assessed against his score for the hand is -5 + -5 + -5 + -5 +
-10 + -15 = -45 points total. These negative points are applied
against any positive points the player scores for melds on the table
for which he is credited.
Example: At hand end, a
player owns a single table meld having cards 9-10-J in Hearts. In his
hand he still holds the 2-Diamonds, A-Spades, and Q-K-A in Clubs. The
player scores 5 + 10 + 10 times 2 or +50 points for his table meld.
For those cards still in hand he scores -5 + -15 + -10 + -10 + -15 or
-55 points. The player's final score for the hand is 50 + -55 = -5
Should a player either inspect or take up the discard pile without
first properly melding its top card, he has reneged. He immediately
drops out of play for the hand and loses the hand with an assigned
score of -100 points.
Aces may be played either high or low, but not "around the corner" (eg, K-A-2).
Players must tell opponents how many cards they hold in hand upon request.
Four Player Partnership Game:
Partners use one colour of
chips and total their points for each hand. If a player goes out
(rummies), the card points still in his partner's hand count against
Two Player Game:
is one of the few rummies that plays very well for two players,
though the dynamics shift. Optional Rule:
Best 4 of 7 Games wins the Sitting.
Tips for Play:
Holding melds in your hand as long as possible
before playing them to the table reduces the chances your opponents
can steal them. You also lull opponents into complacency and gain
greater victory if you put down a lot of cards to rummy while they
still hold many cards in hand. However, retaining melds in hand
increases your own penalty should an opponent surprise you and
Cards played to sequence melds are worth double those used in set
melds. Always check whether sequence melds are possible versus the
cards already melded and your assessment of opposing hands. And play
Play a large meld as two smaller melds instead. Example:
Play Hearts 3-4-5-6-7-8 as the two melds Hearts 3-4-5 and Hearts
6-7-8. This scores the same point total and makes it harder to steal
those points, since two melds are harder to steal than one. (Players
are not allowed to reform or combine melds on the table.)
Keep a steal back
your hand. A steal back card allows you to easily steal back one of
your melds an opponent steals from you. Example:
You play Hearts 3-4-5 to the table, but keep in
hand your 2-Hearts. Should your opponent steal this meld with a
6-Hearts, you can then steal it back again by playing your 2-Hearts.
Or maybe you kept the 7-Hearts in hand in case the opponent plays the
6-Hearts. Keep in mind that, since you are playing with two full
packs, there are two of each card in the game. Unless you know its
location, some one else might hold the same steal back card as you.
A meld is locked
becomes impossible to steal. For example, a set meld of 8-of-a-kind
cannot be stolen, since there are only 8 of each card rank in play. A
sequence meld becomes locked if the cards required to extend it have
already been played to the table in other melds. If you can lock a
meld under your control you've guaranteed you'll score for it at hand
Carefully consider when to take up the discard pile. Taking the pile
often confers a huge melding advantage, with the scoring potential
increasing proportional to the size of the pile. But beware! You'll
suffer big penalties if an opponent suddenly rummies while you still
hold those cards in hand. If you're close to rummying, consider
seeding the pile with an alluring card to tempt your opponent to take
it up just before you rummy. Judge how many melds he'll immediately
steal with the discards versus the penalty he'll score for cards still
in hand when you rummy.
Note that rummying does not guarantee victory. Mentally total points
before going out to ensure you'll win the hand if you do.
Feel free to print, copy, and distribute these rules, so long as you retain this paragraph. Invented by Howard Fosdick © 2023, distributed under Creative Commons License BY-ND