If you are looking for the fun of playing a relaxed game of proper cards then seven-card rummy is ideal. The simplicity and the ability to play relatively quick games, without any complicated scoring, are why it is so popular.
7 Card Rummy is ideal for teaching kids or beginners how to play, you can then move on to the more involved variations. It is a fantastic game for two or more players who are just killing some time, traveling, etc Its simplicity and the relaxed format also means new players can join in at any time without having to be an expert card player!
Rummy covers a group of card games (e.g Standard, Gin, 500, 7-Card, etc) where players are grouping cards of the same rank and/or creating a sequence in the same suit.
7 Card Rummy: Rules Overview
- Each player is dealt 7 cards
- One Card is dealt into the middle face up – the Discard Pile
- Remaining Cards are placed face down in the middle – Stock Pile
- Players take it in turns, going clockwise
- Each player draws one card from either the Discard or the Stock Pile
- They then Discard one card to the discard pile
To Win a Hand
Winner is first player to have a group of 3 cards and a group of 4 cards and declares ‘Rummy’
A group can be either a Run or a Set:
- ‘Run’ where three or more cards are of the same suit and consecutive e.g 3, 4, 5
- ‘Set’ where three or more cards are of the same rank e.g 4, 4, 4
Overall Winner is Player that Wins the Most Hands
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How to Play 7 Card Rummy – Explained
- Standard 52 card deck, no jokers.
- If more than 6 players use 2 Decks
The dealer deals clockwise, one card, face down, to each player. He then repeats until each player has 7 cards.
The next card is placed face-up in the middle of the table, becoming the ‘Discard Pile’
The remaining cards are placed next to it forming the ‘Stock Pile’.
Each player can then pick-up and sort their cards.
The player to the left of the dealer starts playing.
General Game Play
Every players’ turn consists of two stages:
- Every turn starts with the player drawing (taking a card into their hand of cards) one card from either the stock or the discard pile.
- To end their go the player must then discard 1 card face-up onto the discard pile.
Note: If you pick-up from the Discard pile you cannot then discard the same card!
Winning a Hand
The aim is to arrange the 7 cards in your hand into two groups (melds); a group of 3 cards and a group of 4 cards. (Each group can be either a ‘Run’ or a ‘Set’.)
The first player to arrange all 7 cards declares ‘Rummy’ and is the winner of that round (known as a ‘hand’).
Examples of Winning Hands.
Note: In all these examples the winning player has still discarded one card.
When a player declares ‘Rummy’ and wins a hand, that player gets 1 point!
It is commonplace for the winner to declare ‘Rummy’ and place their discard card facedown on the discard pile, indicating to the other players that they have won, and to then show their winning cards.
Dealt the cards. Plays moves clockwise to the next player.
They have no reason to collect the face up card (6) on the discard pile; it does not help them to create a group.
Instead they have drawn one card (9) from the stock pile.
The ‘Discard pile’ is face-up, so you, and the other players can see what is taken.
The ‘Stock pile’ is face down, so you do not know what it might be! Players simply add the card to their hand without showing it to the other players.
They then discard one card face up onto the discard pile.
After discarding play moves clockwise to the next player.
They like the discarded card (4) and pick it up as it makes a run of four cards (A, 2 3, 4)
could be used to try and build a set 4, 4….
Player 3 then has to discard one card and play moves clockwise to the next player.
Play then continues clockwise with each player, in turn, (1)drawing one card from either the stock or the discard pile, (2)discarding one card.
Finishing the Stock Pile
If all the cards have been taken from the
the next player takes the whole face-up Discard Pile and simply turns it over.
It then becomes the new face-down Stock Pile.
Note: Some players prefer to shuffle the old discard pile before turning it into the new Stock Pile to avoid players who might have memorised the cards!!
Frequently Asked Questions
Aces in 7 Card Rummy: High or Low?
Aces can be high or low, but not both!
So a ‘Run’ could be A-2-3 or A-K-Q but not K-A-2.
In Standard Rummy an Ace is low but we find it more interesting if it is either High or Low.
What is Laying Off?
Laying Off is something used in more advanced variations of Rummy.
In variations where the cards left in your hand score against you when someone declares rummy, laying off is when you play a single card from your hand onto an existing meld already showing on the table. Check out our guide to standard rummy rules for the more advanced variation.
What is a MELD?
A MELD is where players are matching cards of the same rank and/or creating a sequence in the same suit.
In more advanced variation the general aim is to build Melds of all your cards, as unmatched cards left in your hand score against you.
In order to meld, a player must group the cards in their hand into either of two combinations.
- – A ‘Run’ where three or more cards are of the same suit and consecutive e.g 3, 4, 5
- – A ‘Set’ where three or more cards are of the same rank e.g 4, 4, 4
Is a Consecutive Run of 7 Cards allowed?
Yes, as long as they are still valid as a group of three and a group of 4, if they are consecutive then that is still fine.
E.g. 3, 4, 5 & 6, 7, 8, 9
OR 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7, 8, 9
Does not work as a group of 3 and group of 4 as the Ace cannot be High and Low!
K, A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Playing 7 Card Rummy with 6 or more players / Using 2 decks of cards
6 or more players require 2 decks of cards.
There will therefore be two of each card available, however, in any one group/meld you may not use two of the same card!
Note: The two 5 are not in the same group/meld.
3, 4, 5 & 5, 6, 7, 8 OR
3, 4, 5 & 5, 5, 5, 5 OR
Note: You cannot have two 8 in the same group/meld.
3, 4, 5 & 8, 8, 8, 8