Friday, December 31, 2010

Deal the cards and dole out the monies!

As far back as I can remember, a huge part of my Dad's side of the family gathering for Christmas Eve included playing Dummy Rummy around the big dining room table. I did a Google search for Dummy Rummy and came up with several sets of rules that vary from how we play, so I'll just include our house rules in this post. If you ever come up with us to the North GA mountains for Christmastime frivolity, you'll know how to play and can jump right in!

Being allowed to play Dummy Rummy was like a rite of passage into adulthood in my family. No one under 13 was EVER allowed to play their own hand and I can remember being about 8 or 10, under the table with my drawing paper and pencils and Grandmama's dachshund, Duchess and listening to all the hilarity going on above me. It was always a packed room, with Granddaddy at the end, and Grandmama on his right (they didn't do it on purpose, but that's always where she sat). The other family crowded in around- My dad and very rarely my mom, Dad's sisters Gail and Sally, their husbands who are both named Jim, Gail's daughter Laura and post 1990 Laura's husband Matt, and Sally's children Amy and Nathan. So altogether, a minimum of 10 people, not including me.

The game starts with 4 decks of cards, Jokers removed. Everyone gets 3 pennies or other trinkets to use as "money". We usually used pennies, but sometimes we would use bread twist ties or paper clips, etc.

The dealer shuffles the cards and deals to his left a total of 11 cards for the first 6 hands. The last hand gets 12 cards, as it is more difficult than the previous hands. A set is 3 or more cards of the same card (any suit), and a run is a sequence of 4 or more cards of the same suit (3,4,5,6 of hearts, for example).

After the dealer deals the cards, he places one up on a discard pile, which is then free to the player on his/her left to pick up if they so choose. If they want it, they may pick it up and then must discard a card they do not need into the discard pile, which is then of course free to the player on their left.

If, however, they do NOT pick up the card that was free to them and wish to draw from the remaining cards of the 4 decks (the draw pile), they must offer the unwanted card up for "sale". Any player may then "spend" one of their pieces of "money" to obtain the card, and must also take 2 additional cards from the top of the draw pile along with it.

Our house rules say that generally if two players want to buy the card, first purchase option goes in playing order around the table, but sometimes if a player is not paying attention, the card may be bought by someone further around the table and play resumed without the closer player's knowledge (the key is to PAY ATTENTION and speak up if you want to buy!). Once a player has used all 3 of their "monies", they can no longer buy a card out of turn and may only use the discards that are free to them, so using the 3 monies wisely is key. Each player gets their 3 monies back at the end of each hand to use in the upcoming hand.

  • Two Sets
  • One Set, One Run
  • Two Runs
  • Two Sets, One Run
  • Three Sets
  • Two Runs, One Set
  • Three Runs

When a player has the required sets and/or runs for a hand, they may lay their cards out in front of them (called "on the board") during their turn. They either draw, or take their free card and then put down their set and runs for the other players to see. The object then is to go out to win the hand. If any other players are on the board, the player just down and for the remainder of their turns, may play on other players cards. Once a card has been played, however, it may not be reconfigured into any other sequence. (Example: if a player has gone on the board during the hand of 2 sets and 1 run and their board has a set of 3s that includes a 3 of clubs, a set of Ks and a run of 6,7,8,9 of diamonds, and the other player has a set of 6s, a set of Qs and a 4,5,6,7 of clubs, no one may remove the 3 of clubs from the set and play it in the run of clubs in order to play a 2 of clubs.)

Usually, all of the players get on the board before someone goes out, but not always. The play continues to the dealers left, with players buying as they need to and trying to go out by either playing or discarding their last card. When someone does win the hand, the points are tallied thus:
Aces- 15 points
8 through Kings- 10 points
2 through 7- 5 points

Dealing moves to the left with each hand.
At the end of all 7 hands, the player with the lowest score is the winner.

With so many people playing, I can remember hearing my aunts both be on the verge of being able to go on the board or out or both, if they could only get ONE card that eluded them. There were always cries of protest when their "Miracle Card" was either up for sale and they had run out of monies to buy, or it was snatched up by the player it was free to, or a buyer quicker on the draw than them.
Sally: "THAT'S my Miracle Card!!!"
Laura: "Too bad! I got it first!"
Gail: "Throw me something good, Amy."
(Amy plays)
Gail: "That wasn't it!"

It was so much fun to listen to. :)

I hope that's a complete picture of the game. I'm looking forward to the next get together to play, even though I normally get caught with a mitt-full of Aces before I can go on the board and therefore end up losing spectacularly.

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