The basic goal in any form of rummy is to build melds, which consist of sets—three or four of a kind of the same rank—or runs, which are three or more cards in sequence of the same suit.
In manipulation rummy, also called carousel, the game is based on rummy with melds played on the table that can be rearranged as long as the player adds at least one new card.
How to Get Started Playing
- Players: Requires two to five players; best with three to five
- Deck: Two players, standard 53-card deck (with one joker); three or more players, two standard 53-card decks
- Goal: Score as many points as possible by playing your cards onto the table in legal groups and sequences.
- Setup: The first dealer is chosen randomly. The cards are shuffled and 10 cards are dealt to each player. The remaining cards are set aside to form a face-down draw pile.
The player to the left of the dealer takes the first turn. A turn consists of the following phases:
- Draw one card, then (optionally) meld.
- If no meld was played after drawing the first card, draw a second card, then (optionally) meld.
- If no meld was played after drawing the second card, draw a third card.
A player who draws a third card is not permitted to meld on that turn. Play then proceeds in a clockwise direction.
A meld can take two forms: a group or a sequence. A meld must include at least three cards. A group is three or four of a kind, such as 8-8-8 or queen-queen-queen. A group cannot contain two identical cards. For example, only one 8 of spades can appear in a group of 8s.
A sequence is three or more cards in a row, such as ace-2-3 or 9-10-jack. In sequences, aces can be high or low, but it is not legal to "turn the corner." In other words, king-ace-2 is not a legal sequence.
To meld, a player must play one or more cards from his hand onto the table, face up. All of the cards on the table must be arranged in legal groups or sequences. The first player to meld must play at least one legal group or sequence of at least three cards. Later players to meld can form new groups and sequences and manipulate existing groups and sequences to form new ones or extend existing ones.
Summary of melding rules:
- The player must add at least one card to the table from their hand.
- The player cannot remove any cards from the table.
- All the cards on the table at the end of the player's turn must be arranged into legal groups and sequences.
A joker can be used to stand in for any card. When a player uses a joker, the player must say what card it represents, both rank and suit. The joker's value cannot be changed unless it is replaced by the actual card it represents. That card can come from a player's hand or from another group or sequence on the table. It is legal to change a joker's position on the table as long as the card it represents is not changed. If a joker is replaced by the actual card it represents, it cannot be removed from the table. It must be used immediately.
End of a Round
Cards have the following values:
- Jokers: 25 points each
- Jack, Queen, King: 10 points each
- Number Cards: Face value (two through 10)
- Aces: One point each
After taking their turn, a player may end the round (or knock) with five or fewer points remaining in hand. The rounds end immediately and scoring takes place. A knock is performed by the player physically knocking on the table.
The player with the fewest points remaining in hand is the winner of the round. This may or may not be the person who knocked.
In a two-player game, the winner scores the difference in points between the two players' hands. With three to five players, the winner scores the difference in points compared to all of the other players. The differences are all added together to determine how many points the winner scores.
If the winner is not the person who knocked, the player scores an undercut bonus of 10 points.
If the person who knocked ties with another player, that other player wins and scores the 10-point undercut bonus. If the person who knocked ties with two other players, those other players both score like they had won; both score the 10-point undercut bonus.
If a player wins by playing all of their cards, that player scores a 25-point bonus.
If the draw pile is exhausted and no player has knocked, every player (including the one who exhausted the draw pile) has one more turn to meld. At that point, the cards in each hand are totaled and the player with the lowest total wins the round.
When one or more players' score totals 150 or more, the game ends. That player (or those players) receive a bonus of 100 points. Each other player receives a bonus of 25 points for each round they won. The player with the most points is the winner.