Rummy 500 is one of the very many variants of the card game, rummy, and it’s easily one of the most fun and easiest-to-play of them all. It can be played with two to eight players, which makes it ideal for game nights with friends, and requires little more than a pack of cards and a pencil and paper (or tablet) on which to score.
What sets it apart from other versions of rummy is all in its name: the first person to reach 500 points wins. Like other versions of rummy, you win points by making “melds” – sets of 3 or more cards that can be comprised of either a sequence of cards in the same suit (9, 10, Jack of Clubs, as for example) or of three or more of a kind (9 of Spades, 9 of Hearts, 9 of Clubs, for example) – but it’s easier to tally up than some of the other rummy variants.
Here’s how it works.
- Pick a dealer for the first round. With each subsequent round, the person to the left of the person who dealt last, becomes the dealer.
- The dealer deals either 7 (when there are more than three players) or 13 cards (when only two are playing) to each player. All cards dealt are face-down.
- The remaining cards are set as a stockpile or draw pile. The top card is placed face-up as the first card of the discard pile.
Playing the Game
- The person to the left of the dealer plays first. Continue clockwise with each turn.
- The player picks a card, either from the stockpile or from the discard pile.
- The discard pile should be spread out so the player can choose any card from the pile, but whatever card the player chooses has to be picked up with all the cards above it.
- Cards from the discard pile can be used to make melds or to add to your hand. You can only pick up the card from the discard pile if you can use it to make at least one meld that turn.
- The player then places any and all melds in their hands onto the table, face-up. In addition, they can also add cards to existing melds or reform the melds with the cards in their hands.
- This means that if, for example, there is a sequence of 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 of Spades on the table, and you have two 10s in other suits, you may take that 10 of Spades to complete your meld. Alternatively, you can add a Jack or 5 of Spades to that existing sequence.
- In Rummy 500, you may play the ace after a King, but cannot add 2, 3, 4, etc. to that Ace.
- To end their turn, the player places a single card into the discard pile. A card must always be discarded, even if it can be played as part of a meld, like the fourth card in a sequence.
- Each round of play fully ends when one of the players has played all the cards in their hand and finished the round with a discard card or when the stockpile is completed.
- The points are then tallied up for that round and a new round begins if none of the players have reached 500 or more in their total score.
How to Score
- Record the point value of every meld you play as you play them.
- The card values are as follows:
- 1 to 9: Worth their face value in points
- Jack, Queen, King: Worth 10 points
- Ace: Worth 15 points
- Jokers: Worth 15 points regardless of what card you substitute them for
- When cards are added to melds on the table, you usually only add the cards you play to your score. This can be negotiated up front, though.
- Once the round ends, players tally up their scores and add them to their totals.
- If the round ends because one of the players has played all the cards in their hand, the other players subtract the value of the cards in their hands from the cards they played. So, for example, if they have played 100 points and have 40 points left in their hand, they add 60 points to their total. If, however, they play 40 points but have a value of 60 in their hand, they subtract 20 from their overall score.
- If the round ends because the stockpile has been fully drawn, all players discard their hands and tally up the value of all the cards they played. They do not subtract the value of the cards in their hand from their total, though.
- New rounds are played until one of the players reaches 500 points. If more than one player crosses that 500 score in a round, the player with the highest total wins the game.
And that, really, is all there is to it. Gin Rummy or plain Rummy may be the best known versions of the game, but Rummy 500 is an immensely enjoyable alternative that’s easy to score and especially fun to play with how you can manipulate the melds on the table. It’s no surprise that the popular board game version of Rummy, known as Rummikub, plays most similarly to Rummy 500.