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Contract Rummy

Game Type: Matching, Rummy
Age: Teens, Adults
Players: 3-8
Deck: Standard, Jumbo index, 105 cards

One of the most popular Rummy games for three or more persons playing individually. There are many forms of the game, differing in minor details but all are alike in one essential respect: A series of four, five, or more deals is played, with a different requirement for going out in each deal. One of the most popular versions is given here.

Number of Players. Three to eight people can play. Each plays individually.

The Pack. For three or four players, a double pack with one joker is used (105 cards in all); five or more players use a triple pack with two jokers (158 cards in all). All the cards are shuffled together.

Rank of Cards. A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A. (Aces are high or low.)

Card Values. Ace, joker, and other wild cards, if any, count as 15 points; each face card counts 10; each other card counts its pip value.

The Shuffle and Cut. If a double pack is used, the dealer shuffles; if a triple pack is used, the dealer and one other player each shuffle a portion of the pack, the dealer having the right to shuffle each portion last, and the portions are then combined. The player to the dealer's
right cuts.

The Deal. The players draw for deal from a spread pack. Low card has the first deal, ace being low in the draw.
Each game consists of seven deals, the turn to deal passing from player to player to the left. Cards are dealt clockwise face down, one at a time beginning on the dealer's left. Note: When the pack is too thick for the dealer to handle, he may take the top portion and deal as far as it will go, and then resume dealing with the remaining portion, if necessary.

In each of the first four deals, each player receives 10 cards.

In each of the last three deals, each player receives 12 cards.

The remainder of the pack is put in the center as the stock, and the top card is turned face up to begin the discard pile next to the stock.

Object of the Game. Each player tries to get rid of all his cards by laying down matched sets of three or more (regardless of suit) and sequences of four or more cards of the same suit, in accordance with the "Basic Contract" rules of the deal.

Basic Contracts:

First deal: Two matched sets (sometimes called books), which
a player must lay down at the same time before he can lay off any other cards.

Second deal: One matched set and one sequence (sometimes called a run).

Third deal: Two sequences, or runs.

Fourth deal: Three matched sets, or books.

Fifth deal: Two matched sets and one sequence.

Sixth deal: One matched set and two sequences.

Seventh deal: Three sequences, but no cards may be laid down until one player can lay down his entire hand, matched in sets, to form the basic contract. The game ends after the seventh deal.

It should be noted that the basic contract in the first deal requires six cards, in the second deal seven cards, and so forth, increasing by one card each time.

When two or more sequences are required, they must be in different suits (or, if in the same suit, not in consecutive order, such as 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10; but not 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, which counts as only one sequence).

The Play. Beginning with the person to the dealer's left, each player must draw either the top of the stock or the top card of the discard pile, and then discard. Just before discarding, provided he has laid down the basic contract, the player may lay off any cards that match a set already on the table, but may not lay down any more matched sets.

If the player does not want the top of the discard pile, any other player, in order of rotation to his left, may claim that card and must also draw the top card of the stock, as a penalty card, without discarding. The original player then draws the top card of the stock and play proceeds.

As the ace counts as either high or low, it may be laid off as a low card on a sequence that already includes the ace as high card, and vice versa. For example: A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A - would be a 14-card sequence. A sequence cannot contain more than 14 cards.

Wild Cards. A joker may be used to stand as any card in a matched set or a sequence. When a joker has been laid down as part of a sequence, any other player (provided he has laid down the basic contract) may take the joker into his hand by substituting the card it represents. If more than one player is able to do this, the one with the next turn to play has precedence.

When a joker has been used in a sequence, any card not already in that sequence may be laid off on it, and the wild card moves to either end. For example: if 9, joker, 7, 6 are shown, the 8 may be added
and the joker moved to either end.

Scoring. In each deal, play ends when any player gets rid of his last card. Each other player is then charged the pip value of each card remaining in his hand. The player having the lowest score at the end
of the seventh deal is the winner.