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Bored of Regular Rummy? Start Playing Shanghai Rummy, the Fancy Card Game!



Shanghai Rummy

Shanghai Rummy is a captivating card game that offers a delightful blend of strategy and social interaction played with multiple decks of cards. It combines elements of contract rummy and canasta.

Players aim to complete specific sets and runs of cards in their hands while trying to minimize the cards left unplayed. Each round has a different contract or requirement that players must meet. Points are scored based on the cards left in hand at the end of each round, with the goal of reaching a predetermined target score.

This game is known for its engaging gameplay, making it a favorite among card game enthusiasts.

Shanghai rummy rules

Shanghai Rummy is a variation of the popular card game Rummy, typically played with 3 to 8 players. The game is played over several rounds, each with a different contract or requirement and the objective is to score the fewest points possible over the course of the game. Here are the basic Shanghai rummy card game rules.


  1. Use multiple standard decks of cards, usually two decks shuffled together, including jokers. Remove the jokers in a single deck for 3-4 players.
  2. Determine the number of rounds you’ll play. A standard number is ten rounds.
  3. Choose a dealer for the first round. The dealer rotates clockwise in subsequent rounds.


Score as few points as possible over several rounds. The game usually consists of 10 rounds, and the player with the lowest total score at the end wins.


The dealer shuffles the cards and deals ten cards to each player, one at a time. The rest of the cards from the draw pile, with one card turned face-up to start the discard pile.


  1. Each round begins with the player to the left of the dealer. 
  2. Players take turns in clockwise order.
  3. On your turn, you must draw one card, either from the draw pile or the discard pile.
  4. After drawing, you can choose to lay down valid combinations of cards (sets or runs) on the table.
  • Rummy sets: Groups of cards with the same rank (e.g., 2 spade, 2 diamond, 2 club).
  • Rummy runs: Sequences of consecutive cards in the same suit (e.g., 4 spade, 5 spade, 6 spade).
  1. After laying down cards, discard one card onto the discard pile.
  2. Play continues until one player goes out by forming valid combinations with all their cards, ending the round.


  • Players score penalty points for unplayed cards in their hands at the end of each round.
  • Numbered cards (2-10) are worth their face value, face cards (Jacks, Queens, Kings) are worth 10 rummy points, and Aces are worth 1 point.
  • Jokers are worth 25 points each.
  • The player who goes out first in a round scores zero points for that round.

The round’s scores are recorded, and players aim to minimize their total score over all rounds.


  • The game typically consists of 10 rounds, with scores tallied after each round.
  • The player with the lowest total score at the end of the game wins.

Special Rules

Some variations of Shanghai Rummy include specific contracts for each round, such as requiring a certain number of sets or runs to be laid down.

Be sure to clarify any house rules or variations with all players before starting a game of Shanghai Rummy, as rules can differ among groups.

The game is dynamic and strategic, combining elements of chance and skill, making it an engaging card game for players of all skill levels.

Playing Shanghai Rummy can be a rewarding experience for several reasons. It encourages critical thinking as players must plan their moves, calculate risks, and strategize to minimize their scores. Moreover, the game’s ever-changing contracts and diverse challenges keep players engaged and entertained over multiple rounds of rummy play.

Shanghai Rummy is an ideal choice for those seeking an enjoyable and mentally stimulating social activity that can be enjoyed by friends and family alike, making it a timeless and worthwhile card game.