Contract Rummy is a type of Rummy game that deals with a series of rounds. For every round, there is a requirement for a different contract wherein the players need to collect a certain combination of sequences and groups which are then permitted to meld. As the game progresses, the contracts become very demanding on every deal.
Contract Rummy game is best played when there are three or five players involved. It is considered optimum when there are four players playing. This game is generally played with two decks of cards of 52 each, with Jokers. However, the number of decks is not fixed as it is dependent upon number of players and can vary from 2 to 4. The number of Jokers used for the game should be one less than the total number of players. This means that five players can play with 108 cars, four with 107 and so on. The first dealer is selected on a random basis and this is dealt clockwise. The deal is also done clockwise per card.
There are a total of seven rounds in this Rummy format and the rules for every round are unique. The first four rounds provide the players with 10 cards and the last three rounds will ensure the players received 12 cards. The cards that remain at the end of the deal are placed downwards facing the table. This forms the stock pile where the top card has its face up and becomes the discard pile.
The tabular format of 7 rounds of hands or contract requirements is given below:
|DEAL||CARDS DEALT||ENTRY FEE|
|2||10||One set and One Run|
|5||12||Two Sets and One Run|
|6||12||One Set and Two Runs|
At every round the player needs to get rid of all the cards through a combination of laying off, melding and discarding. The process of melding cards involves completing the contract for the round that is being played. There are two sorts of sequences, melds or runs, and groups which are also called books.
The set or book or group has three cards of similar rank, no matter which the suit like a series of 5s.
The run or sequence of the game has four cards consecutively of the same suit. Here a card can be either low or high but never the same. There needs to be valid sequences.
As the cards have been melded, there can be an extension of more consecutive cards. This can be done at either end as long as the ace is in any of the directions. There can be no more than 14 cards with aces at either end. The extension of the group can be done by adding equal rank cards. The player needs to dispose of the cards and the other players who still have cards remaining will score penalty points. This game requires the player to get the lowest score at the end of the seven series round which will ensure a win.
The player who has to start playing first in this Rummy game variant is the one who is left to the dealer. The game progresses in clockwise direction.
Every player is allowed to draw a card either from stock pile or discard pile.
After picking up a card from either of the piles, the player has to choose a card from his/her hand to discard and place this discarded card face-up on the discard pile. This card becomes the new up-card for discard file, which can be picked by the next player in turn.
The melding requires the player to lay down the combination of sequences required by the contract. This is optional.
Laying off means adding cards to the group which have been melded off already. This is optional as well.