Card Games/Vegas Rummy

Vegas Rummy is a variation of the card game Rummy. Vegas Rummy differs from other versions of Rummy in that it incorporates a betting system and improves upon haste of individual rounds. Vegas Rummy incorporates some of the similar features of all Rummy variants, most notably including melds. Vegas Rummy is a game that was slowly developed over the course of about one year. The goal of creating this variation of Rummy was to introduce a system of betting into Rummy.

General Method of PlayEdit

Vegas Rummy can be played by any number of players, providing of course that there are at least two players. It is much more desirable to play with more players as the game becomes much more interesting to play. Vegas Rummy is played in rounds. Each game consists of at least one round, and although it is entirely possible for a game to last only a single round, it remains very unlikely. Each round begins with a shuffle and deal, and ends with the scoring of the round. The game ends once all players have reached or exceeded the maximum allowed points except for one player, namely the player who won the final round. All players start with a score of zero, and the maxium score defaults to 100 points. Player handicapping may occur by setting certain players' starting scores at a positive value. Game length can be changed by setting a lower score (shorter game) or higher score (longer game).

Setting Up the GameEdit

Before the game can being, all players must agree upon some details.

  • The value of a buy in
    • This is how much each player must pay to start playing, and to continue playing after having expired. This can be zero for a friendly game.
  • The maximum score
    • This will determine how long the game will take to complete
  • Player handicaps
    • If some players are exceptionally good at Vegas Rummy, then they may handicap themselves to provide an advantage to other players
  • Cards per player
    • This will determine how long rounds will take to complete
  • Meld Solidarity
    • Without meld solidarity, wild cards may be swapped out of melds for their actual card, making rounds much faster
  • Pot Split
    • This will determin who wins what amount of money at the end of a game
  • Meld Strictness
    • If a longer round is desired, melds may only contain a single wild card. Otherwise melds may contain any number of wild cards.

The DeckEdit

Since Vegas Rummy allows for any number of players, a single deck may often not be enough to satisfy the entire group of players. For this reason multiple decks must be used in situations where a single deck is not satisfactory. The following is a general guide for how many decks to use:

  • 2 - 4 Players: 1 Deck
  • 5 - 8 Players: 2 Decks


  • # of Decks = RoundUp  
    • m is the number cards per player (default is 7)
    • n is the number of players per game

This formula accounts for each player in the game to be able to play at least 5 rounds before a reshuffle is necessary. This formula is a guideline and as long as all players agree upon how many decks should be used, there is no strict ruling on the number of decks required for a certain number of players, excluding of course not enough cards in total to deal out to the players.

Vegas Rummy makes use of the Jokers in a deck of cards. There should be two jokers in the deck, if there are more, you must remove the additional jokers. Jokers are considered a wild card and therefore can be equal to any other card in the deck (other than the other joker of course). Aces are considered High or Low (the player's choice).


Each player has a number of cards after a deal. This number should be 7 by the rules, but an alternative number may be used if it is agreed upon by all players. Lower numbers will mean faster rounds, higher numbers will mean longer rounds.


After the deal, there will be two piles. The draw pile is always face down, the discard pile is always face up. The draw pile contains new cards not yet used since the last shuffle. The discard pile contains cards that have been previously picked up or dealt.

Choosing the Score KeeperEdit

The score keeper simply tracks each players' score. The score keeper does not have to be a player in the game, but often is. The score keeper can be decided upon by the players of the game. There is no advantage to being the score keeper. The score keeper requires a pad of paper and a pen or pencil.

The Score SheetEdit

The score sheet is divided into columns, one column for each player, with each player's name at the top.

Choosing the First DealerEdit

After having shuffled the deck, one player deals out one card to each player face up. The player with the highest card is designated as the first dealer. If two or more players have the same ranked highest card, then, without gathering any cards, a second round of choosing the first dealer begins containing only those select players. This process continues until a single player emerges as the first dealer. If by some chance the deck runs out of cards when choosing the first dealer, all cards must be collected, reshuffled, and the process begun again.

After a dealer has been chosen, the first round starts. Players continue to play rounds until the game has finished.

The RoundEdit

Each round is composed of a deal, several turns, and finally scoring.

The DealEdit

After having shuffled the deck, the dealer deals a single card face down to each player, including himself, until each player has 7 cards, including himself. Players may look at there hand as it is dealt. Once each player has their 7 cards, the dealer places the remainder of the deck face down in the middle of the table and flips the top card over placing it face up beside the remainder of the deck. This card is the designated wild card for the remainder of the round. If the wild card turns out to be a joker, then the only one wild cards for the round are the jokers.

After the deal is complete, the player to the dealer's left may start his or her turn.


A turn is a players opportunity to play his hand. A turn always begins with drawing a card, and always ends with discarding a card. A player may either choose to draw a card from the draw pile or the discard pile. It should be noted that the player who plays first in a round may not pick up the card from the discard pile. Once a player has drawn a card, he or she may choose to create or add to a meld. The player is not required to do anything other than the mandatory draw and discard. The card that the player chooses to discard must be placed face up at the top of the discard pile.


A meld is a grouping of 3 or more cards such that one of the following is true

  1. All cards are of the same rank and different suit
  2. All cards are of the same suite and in sequential order

When playing with multiple decks it is extremely important to make sure that suiting of melds is proper and follows the above rules.

When melds contain wild cards, special consideration must be taken. For type 1 melds, the suit of the wild card(s) must be specified upon laying down the meld. If the player omits specifying the suit before the end of his or her turn, then all other players may assume that the wild card(s)'s suit is open and my accommodate the next player who adds to the meld. For type 2 melds, the suite of the wild card(s) is determined by its position within the meld.

When a player creates a meld, he or she puts the melded cards, grouped together on the table face up in front of them.

A player may play as many (even all) of his or her cards on his or her turn. There is no limit to the number of cards that you can meld on your turn.

A player may also use another player's melds to play his or her cards. To use another player's meld, simply add your card(s) to the other player's meld.


Once a player has run out of cards by creating or adding to melds (over one or more turns), and then discarding his or her final card, the round ends. At the end of the round each player counts the value up his or her cards. The scoring of cards follows these rules

  • Cards 2 through 10 are valued at their face value
    • A 6 of spades is worth 6 points, a 4 of diamonds is worth 4 points
  • Aces may be valued at either 1 point or 13 points, the player's choice
    • Most players will want to choose 1 point, but 11 points may be desired in certain circumstances
  • Face cards (Jack, Queen, King) are all worth 10 points
  • Jokers and wild cards are worth 25 points
    • If a 2 of clubs is wild, then it is worht 25 points, not 2 points

A players round score is equal to the sum the point values of the cards in his or her hand. This score is repeated to the score keeper who increases the player's game score by their round score.

After scoring is completed, the score keeper determins if the game is won. If the game is not won, the score keeper determins if any players have expired.


A player expires once he or she has reached or exceeded the maxium allowed score set at the beginning of the game (usually 100 points). Once this happens, the player is allowed to buy in for the decided upon buy in amount. If a player decides to buy in, he or she must pay the buy in amount, then he or she will have her score reset to the same score as the player who has the highest score without expiring.

Once all players wishing to buy in have done so, the deal passes to the player to the left of the dealer. The new dealer collects the cards, shuffles them, and a new round begins.


Players may join in to the game at the beginning of any round, however, the new player(s) must pay the buy in amount times the number of expires by the player who has expired the most in the game. The new player will also start with the same score as the player who has expired the most in the game.

A player may choose not to buy in after having expired, however this player cannot be in contention for winning the game until he has bought back in as a brand new player. It is not advisable to drop out of a game and then rejoin as it can be quite expensive.


Once a player has won, the runners up are determined by their final score, the lower the better. The pot money is divided up amongst the winner and runners up as decided at the beginning of the game.

Common Values When Setting Up a GameEdit

Here are the values that you should use for a standard game of Vegas Rummy

The Value of a Buy InEdit

This can actually vary greatly from game to game. It really depends on how much everyone is comfortable spending. A standard game of 100 points will usually never see more than 10 buy in's. So keep that in mind when choosing a buy in amount.

Good amounts are $1, $2, and $5.

The Maximum ScoreEdit

This should almost always be 100 points, unless players want a different game length.

Player HandicapsEdit

Because of the nature of this game, a handicap doesn't necessarily hurt the player all that much. It does give the other players a slight advantage, but in most cases the handicap will vanish after a couple of rounds.

Cards Per PlayerEdit

This should always be 7 cards. In some cases, like when playing with only 2 players, you may consider 9 or 11 cards.

Meld SolidarityEdit

Games should be played with meld solidarity, without it games can get a little wild with all the card swapping. Playing without meld solidarity will definitely speed up each round.

Meld StrictnessEdit

This is not really necessary for games, it will help force melds to be created properly, and in that respect take a little longer to create, but in most cases it won't change the game that much.

Pot SplitEdit

This can vary from game to game, a good split is usually 70:30 split between the winner and the runner up. Optionally, the second runner up can receive a single buy in from the runner up.


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