They say there’s more than one way to skin a cat. While I’m not sure why that’s such a popular adage, it definitely applies to the game of Rummy 500. In a previous segment, we covered the complete, traditional rules of the game. This time, we’ll discuss a multitude of extensions and rule variations that are applied in different player groups.
Before we continue, this section assumes you already know how to play the base game. If not, be sure to read our initial guide to Rummy 500 Rules.
Common Rummy 500 Rule Variations
With so many variations of Rummy games played all over the world, it’s no surprise that this one has so many amendments to the original rules. We’ll start with the most common Canadian variations, and work our way down.
Many groups do not use jokers, instead opting for a traditional, 52-card deck. In fact, the original rules of Rummy 500 did not call for jokers, but their use became so mainstream, it’s now considered standard to play with them.
Scoring by 5’s
Instead of scoring number-cards by their face value, a lot of groups use only multiples of 5. By this rule, all 2-9 cards are worth 5 points. Tens and face cards are still worth 10 points, Aces and Jokers 15 points. If played at the low end of a run (A-2-3), the Ace is only worth 5.
Call Rummy on Last Discard Only
By this rule, a player can only call Rummy on the last discard played. This eliminates the option to dig deeper into the discard pile for cards that can be laid off. When Rummy is called, the player who calls it takes the card and melds it, or lays it off on an existing meld. Play resumes with the next player whose turn it was prior to the call of Rummy.
In some groups, there is no option to call Rummy. Only the next player can take the last discard, or leave it, whether it can be melded/laid off or not.
Discard Required with Floating
In this version, players must be able to discard a final card to go out and end the hand. If a player melds all of their cards, and has no discard left, they are said o be “Floating”. The game continues until a player is able to discard their last card. A player cannot discard any card that can be melded or laid off.
Discard Required, No Floating
Without the Floating rule, players cannot meld all of their cards to go out. They must have a card left to discard—one that cannot be melded or laid off—in order to go out and end the hand.
Go Out to Win
To make things a bit harder, this rule requires a player to go out in order to win the game. If you exceed 500 points, but another player goes out first (without exceeding 500), the game is not over. The winner is the player to reach or exceed 500 points, and go out. Note that these games can be much longer and more challenging.
There’s more to learn about this popular Canadian card game. Continue your Rummy 500 education with the following links:
Rummy 500 History
Rummy 500 Strategy
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