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About Rummy 500

About Rummy 500

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (

500 rum, also called pinochle rummy, Michigan rummy, rummy 500 or 500 rummy, is a popular variant of rummy. The game of canasta and several other games are believed to have developed from this popular form of rummy. The distinctive feature of 500 Rum is that each player scores the value of the sets he melds. It may be played by 2 to 8 players, but it is best for 3 to 5. The term “Michigan Rummy” may also refer to an unrelated game involving a playing board, chips, and accumulated pots that are awarded to players who play certain cards.


The cards and deal

500 rum is played using a standard 52-card pack. When playing with more than 5 players, a double pack should be substituted. The cards right of the discard pile are referred to as the river, the flop, and the turn.

An ace counts as 15 points whenever it is played. Face cards count as 10 points each. Other cards count their pip value. Some people play where A-9 are 5 points, unless the Ace is used high, when it is 15.

The players draw for deal, low dealing first. Ace is the lowest card in the draw. The dealer shuffles, and the player to the right cuts. The dealer completes the cut and deals 10 cards to each player and an 11th to the player to the left who discards. The player that wins the previous hand then becomes the dealer in the next game.

Game play

The object of the game is to score points by laying down and laying off cards as in regular rummy, in matched sets of three or four, and in sequences of three or more cards of the same suit (some play starting at four or more cards of the same suit). Aces are high or low; they may be played after the king or before the two card.

The remaining portion of the cards, placed face down, forms the stock; the top card is turned face up and is placed beside the stock as the upcard to start the discard pile. The discard pile should be slightly spread, so that players can readily see all the cards in it. Each player in turn, beginning with the player to the left of the dealer, may draw either the top card of the stock or any card from the discard pile. There are three conditions when drawing a card from the discard pile:

  • The player must take all the cards on top of the selected card.
  • The card so drawn must immediately be used, either by laying it down in a set or by laying it off on a set already on the table.
  • Once a card is picked up, either of the stock or the pile, it is final and no other cards may be picked up. The remaining cards taken with the discard may be melded in the same turn or simply added to the player’s hand.

Each player in turn, after drawing but before discarding, may lay down any matched set or may lay off any card that matches a set already on the table. Cards that are laid off are kept on the table in front of the player. The player ends his turn by discarding a single card from his hand. Sequences may not “go ’round the corner”; thus, Q K A or A 2 3 may be melded, but not K A 2.


When any player discards the last card in their hand, the play immediately ends. Each player’s score is then figured as follows: The player is credited with the point value of all cards that he has showing on the table. From this figure is subtracted the point value of all cards remaining in his hand. The difference is added or subtracted from his score, as the case may be.

If the cards they have shown total 85 points, and the cards left in their hand total 90 points, 5 points are subtracted from their previous net score. If the drawing pile runs out of cards and nobody is able to make a play, then the hand ends and nobody deducts the score from their hand.

The first player whose score reaches +500 wins the game. If two or more players reach 500 on the same hand, the one with the highest score is the winner.

Modified scoring systems

These additional or alternate rules have been put in to simplify scoring and speed up games. Point variants for Aces change the game dynamic somewhat as players may be more or less likely to reveal and play them as a part of runs.

  • Aces count 15 when high and 1 low.
  • Aces are worth 25.
  • Aces played high are worth 15 except in the case where a single player plays a 4-of-a-kind Ace meld, in which case the meld is worth 100 points (25/ea.).
  • Face cards and the ten card are worth 10 points.
  • All other cards are worth 5 points.
  • If preferred, all of these scores may be divided by five and the game played to 100.
  • A pile is called a shiny pile which consist of at least 6 cards.

Boathouse rule

Some rummy players play that any player must discard on the turn in which they go out. For example, if a player held a hand of two 3′s and picked up another 3, this player would be unable to go out as they would not have a discard. This is a variant of standard play and should be opted upon before gameplay begins.

Also, if the stock is finished then players may continue to draw from the pile only so long as they are able and willing to do so. Otherwise, the hand is finished with all cards in each player’s hand counting against them. This is also normally standard. However some play the alternative that the cards should be reshuffled, and play should continue.

Add opponent’s hand rule

Instead of players subtracting their remaining totals when play is finished, they add the values in their hands to the total of the player who went out. If nobody has gone out when play ends (see Boathouse rule):

  • With two players, or two partnerships: add opponent’s remainder to your score.
  • With more than two players: do not add any totals.

This again, is meant to speed up the game. Also when one player plays his last card, the other player reserves the chance to add any of his deadwood cards to the his opponents melds.


Dealer’s gambit

This game is the same as 500 Rum, with the following exceptions. The pack is 54 cards: the standard 52 cards plus two jokers. Some people play with 56 cards, including four jokers. Unlike ordinary rummy, dealing is always rotated anti-clockwise.

At the beginning of each deal one joker is removed from the pack. After shuffling and dealing that joker is placed face-up at the side of the pack closest to the dealer. This is the ‘dealers joker’ and may be used at any time in the game by the dealer, unless it has been ‘blocked’ by another player’s joker. The second joker is shuffled and dealt with the rest of the cards.

After dealing but before any of the players look at their cards the dealer must nominate the effect of the jokers for that hand. The dealer may nominate the joker to do one of the following:

  • Wild card. The joker may be used as a wild card in any set or sequence. The wild joker is worth zero points.
  • Double. The joker doubles the value of any set. The joker is placed face up over any meld, whilst that meld is being belded. Once the joker has been added to the meld, that set is ‘sealed’ and no further cards can laid off on to it.
  • The joker is used to ‘split’ the discard pile from either side of the card selected. Those cards on the inside of the split are then removed from the game for the remainder of that hand. Those cards on the outside of the split are added to the players hand. As per normal the selected card must be used immediately either by laying it down in a set or by laying it off on a set already on the table.

The dealer’s joker can be ‘blocked’ at any time in the game by placing another joker face down over it. If the dealer’s joker is so blocked it may not be used by the dealer for the remainder of that hand.

Jokers have a zero value if still in a players hand at the end of the turn. There are no penalties for not using the jokers.

Each joker nomination may be used strategically by the dealer to improve their position or undermine that of other players. As a result, this is a highly strategic variant of the game which may result in long games with significant fluctuations in the score. As a result some people only play to a smaller score of 250points.

Partnership 500 rum

This game is the same as 500 rum, with the following exceptions.

Four players are organized into two teams of two players each, with partners facing each other across the table. The rules are exactly as in 500 rum, except the partners may play off on each other’s matched sets and sequences in an effort to go out as quickly as possible. When any player goes out, the play ends and the score of each partnership is figured as a unit. The game is over when either side reaches +500.

Persian rummy

The game is the same as partnership 500 rum, with the following exceptions, and the pack is 56 cards: the standard 52 cards plus four jokers.

Each joker counts as 20 points, and jokers may not be used in sequences or as wild cards, but only in groups of three or four jokers. Any meld of four, laid down all at once, counts double its face value. Thus, four jokers laid down together count 160; three jokers laid down count 60, and the fourth joker when added counts only 20 more. Four 6s put down together count 48, but three 6s count only 18, and the fourth 6 adds only 6 points. If a player gets rid of all his cards, his side scores a bonus of 25.

A game ends after two deals. The side with the best score receives a bonus of 50 points and wins the difference between its final score and the opponents’ score.


If a player discards a card that plays into any match set or sequence already laid-off on the table then other players may call-out “Rum”. The first player to call “Rum” may only take the discarded card and must lay-off it on the table in front of them in their laid-off cards area. They may not combine it with cards in their hand to create a new match set or sequence.

A rum can also solely exist in the discard pile; for example if a 4S and 5S are in the discard pile then a player discards a 6S then other players may call-out “Rum” then pick up and lay-off the 4S, 5S and 6S without taking any other cards from the discard pile. They may not combine it with cards in their hand to create a new match set or sequence.


A rummy condition can occur when a player discards, and other players notice that the cards in the pile form a match or a straight. The player who calls “Rummy” first can pull the matching cards from the pile, without pulling the cards on top of the rummy from the discard pile. He may not call a rummy on himself. It does not count for a rummy if someone plays a 3, 4, 5 of spades and there is a 6 of spades in the discard pile already.

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