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Ditch Rummy

Invented and contributed by Gabriel Arthur Petrie

Players: 2, 3, or 4. Four players may play individually or in teams.

Object: Players may determine a scoring goal before playing. Two possible recommendations: the winner is the first player or team to reach a predetermined score (such as 500 points); or, the winner is the player or team to score the most points out of a predetermined number of hands (such as a dozen).

Dealing: There is no dealing out; the dealer just shuffles the full deck of 52 cards (A-K, all four suits), and sets it face-down where it's reachable. This is the draw pile. Make room next to the draw pile for the discard pile.

The player clockwise from the dealer goes first, and turns continues clockwise.

Begin turn: Player draws any number of cards from the draw pile, bringing their hand to no more than three cards.

End turn: Player may discard any number of the cards in their hand face-up to the discard pile, or just say "pass". Playing from the hand is not required to end the turn.

Playing: Playing is optional each turn. On their turn (before discarding or passing), player either plays a new meld of two or three cards, or plays a single card off any existing meld belonging to any player, or plays any combination of melds and singles.

There are two types of melds in Ditch Rummy, a "set" and a "blind run". A "set" is any two or three cards of the same face value, and a "blind run" is a sequence of any two or three cards in face-value consecutive order (and not necessarily of the same suit; In Ditch Rummy, the "run" is called a "blind run" to distinguish it from a "run" in a game of Basic Rummy in which the sequence of cards must be of the same suit).

To play a single card (or "single"), player indicates any two- or three-card meld on the board in which the intended card would fit (such as another card of the same face value in a set, or the card that would come before the lowest or after the highest card in a blind run). However, singles can't be played off other singles, and singles don't "add to" melds; the melds stay the same as they were before they were played off.

For the purpose of scoring, melds and singles are referred to as "plays".

Playing from the discard pile: Players can use any number of cards from the discard pile to complete or create any number of plays possible of singles and melds. The cards used must be taken from the top of the discard pile and used immediately (they cannot be kept in the hand).

Scoring: Players keep all of their melds in front of themselves face-up so they are visible to other players and also distinguishable as their own plays.

Furthermore, players must use some method of keeping track of whether the cards in their plays were played as singles, two-card melds, or three-card melds. One easy way of doing this is to overlap the cards in one direction showing they are in a meld, and overlap new melds over old ones in the other direction just to save space.

Single plays can be kept in a single, face-up pile.

Player's score total is determined by how the hand ends.

Ending: There are two ways to end the hand. Either someone plays a blind run consisting of either Jack, Queen, and King or Queen, King, and Ace("completed"); or the draw pile runs out ("tied"). When the hand ends, any cards anyone is holding are counted against their score.

Totalling: For the lone player who completes, their own score (as well as their teammate's score) is totalled like so: two points per single, five points for two-card meld, and twenty-five points for three-card meld. For all other players, meaning every player if the game ties, ten points are earned for every face card and ace they played and one point for all other cards they played. Any cards players were holding are counted the same way as their plays but in the negative. Teams total their scores together.

Digging: Upon reaching the bottom of the draw pile (as the last card is drawn from the draw pile), if all players (or at least one player from each team), agree they "dig", the discard pile may be overturned (notshuffled) to continue as the draw pile.

"Ditch Rummy" by Gabriel Arthur Petrie copyright © 2006, all rights reserved (with permission to John McLeod to revise, reprint and reproduce with original copyright intact).

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Last updated: 2nd February 2006