21 Cards Rummy – A Unique Rummy Variation

Several variants of Rummy are played in different parts of the world. Two of the most commonly played rummy variants in India are 13 cards rummy and 21 Cards Rummy. There are minute differences in the 21 card rummy game rules compared to the 13 card rummy.  21 Cards Rummy is a unique variation of rummy which is one of the most popular card games played in the Indian subcontinent. It is popularly known as ‘Indian Marriage’ and is widely played during the festive seasons of Diwali and Dussehra .

The gameplay is a bit different as compared to the 13 card variant. In this article, we will be covering the rules on how to play 21 card rummy. It can be difficult to play the traditional variant of the 21 cards rummy as the player needs to hold all the 21 cards in his/her hands. The rummy websites help you to play the game easily online so that you will not have to hold all the cards in your hands. The gameplay of the 21 cards rummy is quite longer, incorporating more sophisticated strategies and improvised skills.

Major Rules of 21 Card Rummy

If you are familiar with the 13 Cards Rummy rules, it would not be difficult for anyone to grasp the 21 card rummy game rules.  Before you learn how to play 21 card rummy, you need to understand that the objective of the game, like all rummy games, is to arrange all the cards in valid sequences and sets.

Sets: A set is an arrangement of 3 or 4 cards of the same rank and different suits. For example, Spade of 3, Diamonds of 3, hearts of 3 can be considered as a valid set. A Joker can be used to substitute the missing cards in the set.

Sequences: A Sequence is a combination of 3 or more cards of the same suit and consecutive ranks. For example, Hearts of Jack, King and Queen could be considered as a valid sequence. Once the missing cards are substituted with the Joker, the sequence will be known as an impure sequence.

How to Play 21 Card Rummy

It is quite easy to learn how to play 21 card rummy, once you get the hold of it. The basic strategy is to pick and discard cards to make sets and sequences. This rummy variant is played using 3 decks of cards, unlike the Indian card rummy which commonly uses 1 or 2 decks of cards for playing. The significant difference in the 21 Card Rummy Game Rules as compared to Indian rummy is the addition of Value Cards, which adds quite a bit of twist to the game.

The value cards are extra cards that can be used as a Joker. There are 3 types of value cards namely Cut Joker, Upper Cut and Lower Cut. The Cut Joker is the card that is selected at random from the cards that are left after serving, similar to the Indian rummy. Whereas the Uppercut is the card that has a higher rank to the Cut Joker (Example: If 5♥ is the Cut Joker, 6♥ will become the Upper Cut). The Lower cut is the card that has the lower rank to the Cut Joker. In the scenario mentioned above, if the Cut Joker is 5♥, the Lower Cut will be 4♥.

Also, the other facets that you should know while learning how to play 21 card rummy are as follows:

  • Three decks of cards are used in 21 Cards Rummy. This involves a lot of improvised strategies as there are three cards of the same value. For example, three 5 of hearts are used during the game – 5♥, 5♥ and 5♥ which when combined is known as a ‘Tunnela’. It is important to note that a Joker cannot be substituted for a missing card for a ‘Tunnela’.
  • ‘Dublee’ is another kind of meld which is the combination of 2 cards of the same rank and same suit. Similar to ‘Tunnela’, Joker cannot be used to substitute the missing card in a ‘Dublee’. For example, 10♣, 10♣ can be considered as a ‘Dublee’.
  • 21 cards are dealt to each player in 21 cards Rummy, which are 8 cards more than the cards dealt in 13 cards rummy. As there are more cards, the gameplay is longer and requires extended strategies to defeat the opponents.
  • The game of Indian Rummy requires a minimum of one pure sequence out of two sequences to win the game. However, according to 21 card rummy rules, you need to make a minimum of three sequences to win. This is three fold complicated and challenging than Indian Rummy. Other rules of winning the 21 card rummy is to combine 3 ‘Tunnelas’ of separate groups together; in this case, other cards need not be melded. Another rule is the combination of 8 ‘Dublee’ of different groups melded can be considered a winning hand. The combination of 8 Jokers in a single group is also seen as a win.
  • As suggested before, value cards are used in this variant. They are similar to Jokers, except the fact that additional roles are attached to them. Value cards can substitute any card in the game to form sets and sequences; but, they carry extra points that could change the game. Those who hold any of these cards will carry 20 points from the opponents.
  • Marriage is another meld in which the player gets additional points from the opponents. If the Upper Cut, Cut Joker and the Lower Cut of the same group are combined, it is known as a ‘Marriage’. If 4♥ is the Cut Joker, then the player who holds a sequence of 3♥, 4♥ and 5♥ of Hearts carries a Marriage Hand, which carries 100 points from the opponents.

The 21 cards rummy is more exciting than the 13 card rummy. However, it takes some time to master the game as there are many rules for the game. Once you master this and learn how to play 21 card rummy, you can easily be an expert in the game. So, you have seen that 21 Cards Rummy is as easy as 13 Cards Rummy. Grab some extra decks of cards and play this fun-filled game to have a very good time with your friends!

Category: Rummy Variation
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