- Deck of 52 standard playing cards (Jokers optional)
- Paper to keep score on
- K,Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, aces can be played high or low
- Jokers, if used, are wild
- Face cards (K, Q, J) are worth 10 points
- Aces are worth 15 points
- Jokers are worth 15 points if used
- Other cards are worth their face value
The objective is to score 500 points before your opponents.
Deal each player 7 cards and put the rest in a stack in the center of the table (with two players you can deal 10 cards to each player). Flip over the top card and place it next to the pile. This will be the start of the discard pile.
Starting to the left of the dealer, each player starts their turn by either drawing a card from the face-down deck or from the discard pile. If they can, they can then lay down any three or four-of-a-kinds or runs of at least three cards (ex. 7, 8 ,9) of the same suit in front of them. These are usually called melds. The turn is ended when the player discards one card.
When drawing from the discard pile, you can take either the top card, or another card in the middle of the pile (it’s best to lay the cards so that all the previously discarded ones can be seen). If a player draws a card from the middle of the discard pile, they must take all the cards on top of it and must play the bottom card they drew in a meld that turn.
If a player has a meld in front of them, they can also play off of other players’ melds. For example, if player two has the 6 of hearts and has already played a meld, they can play their card on player one’s meld of the 3, 4, and 5 of hearts and count the points for themself. Aces can be played high or low, but can’t be used as a bridge. For example, Q, K, A and A, 2, 3 are valid melds, but K, A, 2 is not.
The round ends when one player runs out of cards. The player does not have to discard on the turn when they run out of cards. Everyone then counts the points they have from their melds. They should then subtract the number of points from the cards remaining in their hands to get their total score. It is possible to get a negative score so watch out!
The game is over when someone reaches 500 points. If more than one player reaches 500 in a round, whoever has the higher total score wins. If they are tied, play another hand to see who wins!
Rummy 500 Variations and Alternate Rules
Boathouse Rule: When you play with the boathouse rule, you have to discard every turn, including when someone goes out.
Reshuffling the discard pile: You can either play that when the stack of cards runs out the round is over or you can reshuffle the discard pile (except for the topmost card) and refill it. Decide before you start!
“Rummy”: When someone plays a card that could have been played on someone else’s meld, the first player to call out “Rummy” can take that card and claim the points. It can be any player, not just the one whose turn is next.
Wild Rummy: Check out our page on this variation!