There are numerous variants of the famous card game, rummy. Some are based on location (Chinese rummy, for example), some are based on when you play your melds (gin rummy ends a turn with a player playing all their melds) and some are based on the intended audience (Rummikub for families, rummy 500 for real-money tournaments).
“Melds”, incidentally, are sets of cards that are either made of three or four of the same number in different suits (say, three 9s; one each of Clubs, Spades and Hearts) or a sequence of numbers of the same suit (say, 4, 5, 6, 7 of Spades) and they are the defining feature of all versions of rummy.
One of the most intriguing versions of rummy is rummy 500. It’s not as popular as gin rummy, but it has some of the most exciting gameplay of any rummy game. The thing that sets this variant apart is, as its name suggests, that the way players win this version of rummy is by reaching 500 points.
It’s not quite that simple, though, when it comes to working out how players reach 500 points. Here are a few essentials to help understand the scoring of the game:
- 2 thru 10 are all worth their face value. Jack, queen and king are each worth 10 points. Ace and joker are worth 15 points each.
- The game ends when either one of the players has played all of the cards in their hand (made melds and had one card leftover to discard) or the stock (the pile of cards players draw from) runs out of cards when a player needs to draw from it.
- Players then tally up the scores for that game by adding up the value of all the melds they played and subtract from that the value of all the cards that remain in their hand. So, say, their various melds gets them 76 points and they end the game with an ace and a 4 of Clubs in their hand then they would minus 19 points (15 for the ace, 4 for the 4 of Clubs) from 76 and their total for that game will be 57.
- If the cards in their hand are worth more than the melds they played (say, their melds added together comes to 50 and they end with 3 aces, a 10 and a 7, which equals 77), they carry that negative score (in this case -27) into their total.
- A new game is then started until one one or more of the players reach a total of 500 by tallying the total of each successive game. If more than one player crosses that 500 line, then the one with the higher score wins.
It’s actually really straightforward, though you will definitely want either an electronic device or an old fashioned pen and paper at the ready to keep track of everyone’s score. Rummy 500 is especially good to play for money by having players put in some money into the pot every round and then whoever wins the whole thing by crossing that 500 threshold wins the pot.