A Card Game That's Played with Rhum

Second to poker in popularity is rummy. As the game may sound like some strong drink, it is said to be the direct descendant of whiskey poker. Whiskey poker first appeared in the Midwest around 1850 and when it died down, rummy took its place. And since drinking and gambling were not permitted at home, it was done in halls and saloons as we often see on TV in old cowboy films. It got its name for its drinking companion. No wonder at that time the more popular games were called whiskey poker, rum poker and gin poker.

In 1905 those names changed; rum poker became rummy, whiskey as knock poker and gin poker as gin rummy. The transformation was due to various poker types present or known. Poker at that time has sprung more variations than any other type of game.

The goal of all rummy games is to form melds or lays. This can be achieved by forming a set of matching cards (like all twos, all jacks) or you could combine sets to form groups (like five tens plus a pair of jacks). In rummy one deck is enough but additional ones can also be used. All cards from kings down to aces (the ace is the lowest card with a value equivalent to one) are needed. The cards' values depend on their numerical face. No suits have higher value over the other.

Gin rummy became a fad in motion-picture studios and the celebrity set in 1939 and was later called Hollywood gin poker. It spread ripples of nationwide publicity in newspaper, magazines and on radio until millions of players become conscious of the game and made gin rummy the most-played two-handed game in America.

There are countless forms of rummy games being played, of course, they all follow the same basic principles and may differ only in some details such as the use of decks - some only use one while others have more than that. The ways of scoring could be the same; the restriction of melds could be varying. There might be an inclusion of wild cards or bonus cards.

Of all rummy variants, gamblers play straight rummy - it's their favorite in fact - cops, athletes, old ladies, and perhaps all those who played rummy or are about to play rummy. This humble child of whiskey poker is played using a deck of 52-cards and requires two to six players.

Although rummy games have identical rules, disputes may arise because of mathematical defects and rules that never been properly formulated and codified into books. So as a piece of advice, clarify what each player knows about the game, have a common rule before starting the deal. That way no fights can ruin the game and break friendships.