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History of Rummy

Are you a rummy fan? Did you know that the card game you love has a long and illustrious history? We should all know about how rummy originated. So, the next time you catch up with your friends for a set of rummy games, you can impress them with your extensive knowledge about rummy history.

Searching for the Origins of Rummy

Just like most other games, much research has been done into the origins of rummy by games historians. Researching the history of a sport reveals a lot about the people and social customs of the era. And, since rummy has always been extremely popular among the masses, the history of rummy is of particular interest to historians.
One such scholar who has done extensive research into the history of rummy is David Parlett. He is undoubtedly one of the foremost game history scholars in the world specializing in the background of the board and card games. He has penned a number of books on the history of games. In his “A Dictionary of Card Games” and “The Penguin Book of Card Games”, he has delved into the history of rummy.
He is the first scholar who found a link between rummy and the Spanish card game, Conquian. In fact, Conquian might be rummy's most direct ancestor. Even though it originated in Spain, it took form and evolved to the early versions of rummy in Mexico when the Spanish immigrants arrived in the Americas in the 19th century. When the immigrants began moving north, Conquian reached the United States and Canada.

Conquian and Rummy

Conquian may have arrived in Mexico in the 19th century, but it originated earlier. Most probably, it originated 400 years ago. The reason Conquian is believed to be the direct ancestor of rummy is that the basic rules of both games are the same. There are two stacks - the stockpile from which cards are drawn and a waste pile into which cards that are not needed are discarded.
As Conquian traveled the length and breadth of the Americas, people began to put their own spin on the card game and rummy emerged.

Rummy's Asian link

Even though rummy shares the most likeness with Conquian, we can trace the history of rummy further back in time and to a different continent. David Parlett believes that Conquian and hence, rummy developed from Chinese card games - Kon Khin and Khanhoo. Another ancient Chinese game with which rummy shares a striking similarity is Mahjong. In both games, cards or tiles have to be arranged in a particular order. There is another game called Hanafuda that originated in Japan may also have influenced the development of rummy. It is believed that rummy developed when European countries began to trade with Asian countries and there was an extensive cultural interchange between the nations.

How did rummy acquire its name?

Have you wondered how rummy came to be called rummy? One theory that explains its name is that when rummy arrived in Britain, people found the game very odd. ’Rhum‚ is a colloquial word that means strange. Another theory explains that rummy descended from whiskey poker or rum poker and hence, the name rummy.
Yet another theory believes the name originated in the Netherlands. ’Roemer‚ in Dutch means glass drinking vessel. It was customary for the person who lost the game of cards to purchase drinks for everyone else.

Indian Rummy

Rummy in India gained popularity since the mid-20th century. Indian rummy is a hybrid of gin rummy and rummy 500, both of which took shape in the United States.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Rummy is an Indian skill-based card game. Online Rummy is a multiplayer game that is played between 2-6 people. The basic goal of Rummy is to build melds which consist of sets, three or four of a kind of the same rank; or runs, three or more cards in sequence, of the same suit.
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Sets are a group of 3 or 4 cards with the same rank but different suits. Sets can contain Jokers. Example: A Hand of 3 cards of 10 Face Value but a different suit.
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13 Card Rummy is the most common form of the rummy game in India and needs a good amount of practice to ace the game. But it is essentially a Game of Skill and with ample practice, one can create a winning hand. The 13 Card rummy game is played with a standard deck of cards with jokers and needs at least 2 players to play. Each player gets 13 cards that need to be arranged in sets.
The Indian rummy game is usually played with two packs of cards with two jokers played between 2-6 players. Each player is dealt with 13 cards and a random card is selected as the Joker. A player has to form valid sets and sequences out of these 13 cards in hand. To do this, a player has to draw and discard cards from the common pack of left-over cards. Once, the player has created the essential sets & sequences, he has to make a declaration to win the game.

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