Push

This page is based on a contribution from Paul Welty.

Push is related to Contract Rummy, but there are some important differences: Push is a partnership game, and the draw and discard mechanism is different.

Players and Cards

Push is for four players, two against two in fixed partnerships; as usual, partners sit facing each other. Two standard packs of cards are used, including 4 jokers, making 108 cards in all. The jokers and twos are wild cards.

Outline of the Game

There are 5 deals. The first deal is 6 cards to each player, the second 7, the third 8, the fourth 9, and the fifth 10 cards. During each hand, the object is to get rid of as many cards as possible from your hand by playing them to the table as melds. When one player gets rid of all their cards, the cards remaining in the other team's hands score penalty points. The team with the lower total of penalty points after the fifth hand wins.

Melds

As in most rummy games, the possible melds are sets of equal cards and runs of consecutive cards in the same suit. Wild cards can be used as substitute for any number of cards in a set or run. The minimum size of sets and runs is three cards, but a longer run is required for the initial meld in some deals.

Sets
A set consists of three or more cards of equal rank - for example three sevens or four queens. Since a double pack of cards is used there are two of each card, but a set cannot contain two cards of the same suit. Therefore a set cannot contain more than four cards. However, a player can meld two separate sets of the same rank, for example club8-heart8-spade8 and heart8-spade8-diamond8
Runs
A run consists of three or more cards of the same suit in sequence, such as 3-4-5-6 of spades, or 9-10-J of diamonds. Ace can count as high (as in J-Q-K-A) or low (as in A-2-3-4), but not both (K-A-2-3 is not allowed). A player can meld two separate runs in the same suit, for example 4-5-6-7 and 8-9-10-J, or these eight cards could be melded as a single run: 4-5-6-7-8-9-10-J, but once melded, runs cannot be split up or joined together, only extended.
Wild cards
Twos and jokers are wild and can be used in any set or run to represent any desired card. If a meld consists entirely of wild cards or has just one natural card and the remainder wild, the player must specify whether it is meant to be a set or a run. In the case of a run, the player must specify exactly what any wild card represents; in the case of a set it is only necessary to specify the rank of the set.
For example, if you put down diamond6-spade2-joker you must say whether it is a set of sixes or a run in diamonds, and if it is a run you must specify whether it is 4-5-6, 5-6-7 or 6-7-8.
A two can also be used as a natural card (i.e. representing itself) in a run such as A-2-3-4.

Initial Meld Requirements

In each deal, there is a minimum requirement for each player's initial meld, as follows:

Deal No.Cards dealtInitial meld
162 sets of three
271 set of three, 1 run of four
382 runs of four
493 sets of three
5102 runs of five

The deal

The first dealer is chosen at random and the turn to deal passes clockwise. The dealer deals the appropriate number of cards (see above table) to each player, one at a time. The next card is placed face up to start the discard pile, and the remaining undealt cards are placed face down beside it to form the stock. The first face-up card is not allowed to be a wild card; if the card turned up is a two or joker, the dealer buries it in the stock and turns up a new card to start the discard pile.

The play

The player to dealer's left begins, and the turn to play continues clockwise. A turn consists of drawing, melding and discarding.

Drawing
There are two options:
  1. If you want the top card of the discard pile, take it and add it to your hand.
  2. If you do not want the top card of the discard pile, take a face-down card off the top of the undealt stock cards, put it on top of the card from the discard pile, and push these two cards to the opponent on your left (hence the name of the game). The opponent must add these two cards to their hand, and you then draw the next card from the stock and add it to your own hand. Because of the pushing, players can sometimes accumulate quite a large number of cards in their hands.
Melding
Having drawn, you may if you wish meld cards from by placing them face up on the table. Your first meld of each deal must meet the initial meld requirements for that deal. Each player must meet these requirements before they are allowed to do any other melding. If your partner has already melded, this does not entitle you to meld, until you have met the initial meld requirements yourself.
Having met the initial requirements you can, in the same or subsequent turns, put down any further melds you wish to, or add ("lay off") cards onto any melds that are already on the table. You can lay off cards on your own melds, and on those of your partner and opponents.
While melding, if you have in your hand the natural card that is represented by some wild card on the table, you can substitute the natural card from your hand for the wild card, and then use the wild card as part of a meld you are making. Note that the wild card you replace must be used immediately in a meld - you cannot take it into your hand. Note also that a two used as a natural card in a run such as A-2-3-4 cannot be claimed and reused in this way.
Discarding
The final part of each player's turn is to discard one card from hand face up onto the discard pile

The objective is to meld or discard all of one's cards, and the play continues until one of the players manages to "go out" by getting rid of all the cards from their hand. It is possible to go out in the melding part of a turn, by melding all of your cards, or to meld all but one of your cards, and go out by discarding your last card.

In the unlikely event that the stock runs out, then as soon as a player wishes to draw from the stock and there is no card available the play ends.

The scoring

As soon as a player goes out, the hand is scored. The team of the player who went out counts nothing for this hand (the cards belonging to the partner of the player who went out do not count). The two opponents count the total value of cards remaining in their hands. If the stock ran out before any player could go out, both teams score the penalty points in their hands. The values of the individual cards is as follows:

each 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 95 points
each 10, J, Q. K10 points
each ace15 points
each two or joker20 points

The value of the losing team's cards is added to their running total. The score is kept like this:

WETHEY
6 --- 40
7 120 40
8 120 100
9 300 100
10 300 280

In this example, "THEY" win after the last round.

Variation: Cap-It

Wayne Ostrowski describes a variation known as Cap-It in which 10 cards are dealt in each of the 5 rounds. The contracts are the same as in Push, except for the fifth round, in which a run of 3 and a run of 7 are needed.

There are no partnerships, and it is possible for 5 or 6 to play, in which case a third deck of cards with its two jokers is added.

All contribute equally to a pot at the beginning. The winner of each round takes an agreed amount from the pot and the remainder is collected by the overall winner - the player with the lowest cumulative score after round 5.

Other Push Web Pages

Here is an archive copy of Bill Whitnack's page on Push, which is largely based on this page.