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People playing rummy card games

What Happens When You Run Out of Cards in Rummy

One of the more common questions that is asked about rummy is what to do when your cards run out. It should be an easy enough question to answer (and it mostly is) but it really depends both on which cards we’re talking about and which version of rummy.

Just as a quick reminder, here are the three main groups of cards that you encounter in virtually any version of rummy.

  • Your deck. These are the cards in your hand. Depending on the amount of players playing and the variation of rummy, this can range between four and fourteen cards at the start of the game and you add or discard cards according to whether you have to pick up or can create melds.

  • The discard pile. This is where you put those cards in your hand that you don’t want and in some variations of the game, where you have to discard cards into every round, including after making melds. Players may draw from this pile.

  • The stock. These are all the remaining cards after each player’s hand has been dealt at the start of the game. They are placed face down in a pile. Players can draw from this pile or from the discard pile each round.    

People playing rummy card games

Now, when it comes to running out of cards, in pretty much all versions of rummy, once all the cards are gone from your deck, the round ends and scores are tallied. The discard pile, on the other hand, never really runs out as people are always discarding. This just leaves the stock.

In classic rummy and most other versions, the last player to play may choose either to draw from the discard pile or they may gather up the discard pile and without shuffling, turn it over and start drawing from it again as a new stock. After the new stock is formed, the player draws the top card to form a new stock and may then either pick up from the single-card discard pile or from the stock.

Some variations of rummy, but most importantly one of the most popular variants, gin rummy, do things quite differently. Simply put, if the stock runs out then the game immediately ends and all players have to tally up their points based on what remains in their hand and adds it to their total.

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