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What Is Contract Rummy

Contract Rummy is a unique variation of traditional rummy games, and chances are you may have heard the commercialized version of Contract Rummy, called Phase 10. It is also popularly known as Joker Rummy and Wild Rummy. The game is played between 3 to 8 players. The number of decks changes as the number of players increase — 2 decks are used up to 4 players, 3 decks are used when 5 or 6 players play the game and 4 decks are used when there are 7 or 8 players.

Rules of Contract Rummy

Contract Rummy is played for seven deals and the rules for each deal are different. There are many variations of the rules, so this article explains the general rules that are used commonly to play the game.

One player is chosen as the dealer in the first hand and the player his/her left becomes the dealer in subsequent deals. Each player is dealt 10 cards in the first four deals and 12 cards are dealt to each player in each of the last three deals.

When all the cards have been dealt, one card from the deck is placed face up to form the discard pile and the rest of the cards are placed face down to form the stockpile. To begin their turn, a player has to pick up a card from either stockpile or discard pile, and then to end their turn, must discard a card to the discard pile.

Objective of the Game

The objective of Contract Rummy is to meld all the cards in the hand into sets and sequences. Melding is the word for setting your cards face up, for others to see. For example, melding a contract, a contract being a sequence of cards and a group of cards fro instance. There are different contract requirements for each deal. For example, the contract requirement for the first deal is two sets. The round/deal goes on until a player goes out or discards the last card in the hand while melding.

Different types of contracts that follow in successive rounds are as below:

• Round 1: Two groups of three cards each (six cards in total)
• Round 2: One group of three cards and a sequence of four cards (seven cards formation)
• Round 3: Two sequences of four cards (eight cards in total)
• Round 4: Three groups of three cards each (a total of nine cards)
• Round 5: Two groups of three cards each and one sequence of four cards(ten cards in total)
• Round 6: One group of three cards and two sequences of four cards each (a total of eleven cards)
• Round 7: Three sequences of four cards each and no discard

Groups are defined by cards of the same value, disregarding suit.

Sequences are defined by cards in sequence, with the same suit. Example: A,2,3,4 – all hearts. Aces can be high or low, but cannot be used both ways in a sequence, meaning the sequence cannot revolve or wrap around, like K,A,2,3. This is an invalid move.

Remember: Rounds 1-4, players are dealt 10 cards each, and rounds 4-7, players are dealt 12 cards each.

Explaining Melding

Melding can only be done once a full contract is in possession of the player. For instance, in round 1, a player can only meld their cards face up for everyone to see once this player obtains the full two groups in their hand. After melding, a player must work to discard his/her remaining cards, which is called “laying off”.

Laying off cards means adding to the existing melded contracts that are face up on the board. Players must meld their own contract before laying off any cards. If an opponent has melded a contract, you can then lay off your own cards to their melded contracts if appropriate. In simpler terms, if you have already melded your own contract you can then add to a sequence your opponent has melded.

Points Calculation in Contract Rummy

Once one player has discarded all their cards, the round is over. The remaining cards that have not been melded or laid off give players penalty points. At the end of each round calculate penalty points. The winner of Contract Rummy is the player with the least amount of points after all 7 rounds/deals.

Aces – 15 points

Face Cards – 10 points

Number Cards – Value on card (ex: 9 of hearts is worth 9 and 4 of hearts is worth 4)

Have fun! And if you still have trouble understanding it, give it another read, because it is a lot and watch the short tutorial above!

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