In Rummy, there is a library of terms that are commonly used. For the beginners, these terms can sound like a completely different language. A big part of learning the game of rummy is becoming acquainted with and knowing how to use special vocabulary associated with the game. Some rummy terms and phrases are obvious in their meaning, while others are less apparent.

Rummy Terminology for Beginners

Here are the terms where you can find explanations of various frequently used rummy terminologies so as not to be lost at the tables when these terms and phrases are used.


The cards from two decks are shuffled well. Each of the players is distributed 13 cards. This is called dealing the cards. The dealing can only proceed after the toss of the game.

Dead Cards

Those cards no longer available either because they are in the discard pile or because they are melded in a player’s hand.


The one who deals out the cards.


The set of cards used to play a game.


A two of any suit.


To take a card into the hand from the stock or the discard pile – a card so taken is drawn


The amount of money taken out of every pot by the house. This is the Rummy room’s income.


A card’s name and hierarchy (ace, ten, king, queen, or jack) as distinguished from its suit (hearts, diamonds, spades or clubs) .


Another deal by the same player after one which was nullified.


The players discard a card in their every move. This discarded pile of cards is kept facing up. This group of discarded cards is called open deck.

Once the cards are dealt among the players, the remaining cards are separated keeping their face down. This group of cards is known as the closed deck.


When you pick the card from open or closed deck of cards, the process is termed as ‘Draw’. And, when you pick a card from the closed deck or from the open deck, you need to drop one card. This process is termed as ‘Discard’.


After the cards are dealt among the player, one card is picked randomly from the closed deck. This card becomes the joker for that particular game. This card is also called with the name – ‘paper joker’ or ‘cut joker’. Apart from this card, there are two more jokers having Joker printed on them. These two joker cards are used for completing the set. But, there must be a pure sequence to make a valid set at the time of ‘Show’.


When you make a proper sequence from your 13 cards then the act of arranging these cards in sequence is called ‘Melding’. Once these cards are melded into the proper set players can send these cards for validation i.e. Show.

So, these are some of the most basic terms used in a rummy game. You can enjoy playing rummy game online after learning these terms. If you know about these terms and the basic rummy rules, you are ready to play. Pokabunga is one of the websites that has its own Rummy Android and IOS app. The users can download its app from the Play Store/App Store and enjoy playing rummy on mobile.

Aces High

This applies where Aces can be counted with a higher point value – where Q-K-A is valid but not A-2-3. In some games, Aces may be both low and high. This rule is sometimes used in conjunction with another – see “Round The Corner”.

Aces Low

This applies where aces are always low and counted as 1 point – where A-2-3 is valid but not Q-K-A. In some games, Aces may be both high and low. This rule is sometimes used in conjunction with another – see “Round The Corner”.

Add On

A card deliberately discarded to an opponent who needs it for a meld.


Discarding a card to induce your opponent to discard a card one rank away. This is a strategic move, also known as “side fishing” or “side baiting”


An ante is a forced placement of funds whereby all players put an equal amount of money or chips into the pot before the deal begins. The amount will have been predetermined by the stakes allocated to that particular table.


To discard a card in order to induce an opponent to discard another card of the same rank or in suit and sequence with it. This is a strategic move which is also known as “Advertising”, “Baiting”, “Chumming”, “Fishing” or “Tempting”.


Four natural cards of the same rank, essential to making a canasta. (Canasta)

Base Count – The total of one’s bonus scores, as distinguished from the point values of cards melded. (Canasta)

Basic Contract – This is a term used to refer to the requirement of a specific deal in a hand of a Rummy where the melds needed are of a fixed character. This applies in a number games, Contract Rummy in particular. It may be said that a player has fulfilled the “basic contract of the deal”. Also see “Contract”. (Contract Rummy, Liverpool Rummy)

Basic Count

See “Base Count”.

Blind Discard – A discard made without a clue as to whether an opponent can use it. This is often the first discard of a deal.


To withhold a card that would allow an opponent to complete a meld.

Bonus Box

The added score for winning a hand or box, which is usually worth 25 points. (Gin Rummy)


See “Set”.


Taking extra cards from one’s own previous melds to form new sets. (Rummy, Gin Rummy, Panguingue)


Each entry on the score sheet is known as a box. Extra awards of 25 points each, given for a knock, gin or gin off. (Gin Rummy)

Box Score

The score for winning a deal. This is also sometimes called the “Line Score”. (Gin Rummy)

Buy In

The buy in is usually the minimum amount required to enter into a money tournament but can sometimes be quoted with a maximum buy in. For example, a table can have a $100 minimum buy in with a maximum buy in of $500.


A meld of seven cards of the same rank. A “mixed canasta” is a meld containing one to three wild cards. A “natural canasta” or “pure canasta” is a meld containing no wild card. (Canasta)


One player playing against two who alternate in their play against him, or two players playing against three, or three playing against four.


Two cards that will become a matched set by addition of a suitable third card.

Concealed Hand

The hand carried by one who goes out in a single turn having made no previous melds. (Canasta, Oklahoma)


The pre-fixed number and type of sets or runs that a player must meld on the first occasion in a specific deal. Also see “Basic Contract”. (Contract Rummy)


The point value in any given hand after deducting the total melded cards.


After the shuffle, to divide the deck of cards into two portions, to place the second portion on top of the first and thus to change their order.