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How to Play Progressive Rummy

How to Play Progressive Rummy

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Based on John Eveleigh’s description of Progressive Rummy. The same rules actually apply as with the original game of Contract Rummy.

Deck of Cards: Two packs of cards are used, with 4 jokers (108 cards in all).

Number of Cards dealt: 11 cards are dealt to each player.

There are fifteen contracts and the sequence is as follows:

1. 2 sets of 3
2. 1 set of 3 and 1 run of 4
3. 2 sets of 4
4. 2 runs of 4
5. 2 sets of 3 and 1 run of 4
6. 1 set of 4 and 1 run of 5
7. 2 sets of 5
8. 2 runs of 5
9. 4 sets of 3 Buy 1
10. 3 runs of 4 Buy 1
11. 3 sets of 4 Buy 1
12. 5 runs of 3 Buy 2 and TAKE 2
13. 5 sets of 3 Buy 2 and TAKE 2
14. 14 1 set of 5, 1 run of 5 and 1 pair, Buy 1
15. 2 sets of 3 and 1 run of 5

Rules in Melding

In Progressive rummy, the contracts above are the initial meld requirements. Common to all rummy games, after laying down your initial meld, you can add more cards to your own and other players’ melds in the same or subsequent turns.

In runs, aces are treated as high or low but not both. For example, J-Q-K-A and A-2-3-4 are allowed but K-A-2-3 is not permitted. There is no rule against a player laying down two consecutive runs in the same suit, such as 3-4-5-6 and 7-8-9-10 of hearts, as separate runs. However, once they are on the table separate runs must remain separate. In other words, runs cannot be joined or split.

A set can consist of any three or more cards of the same rank – identical cards can be included. A pair (needed for hand 14) is two cards of the same rank. Again, there is no rule against a player melding two sets of the same rank.

Jokers and twos are treated as “wild” in Progressive rummy. A set or run may contain any number of wild cards to substitute for missing cards. The player must then specify (just in case it is not clear to players involved) whether the meld is a run or a set, the rank of the set, and the rank and suit of a run. Wild cards once melded cannot be moved – a player who holds the real card represented by a melded wild card is not allowed to substitute the real card for the wild card.


To make up the number of cards required for hands 9-14 it is necessary to ‘buy’ the face-up card from the discard pile. Each card bought costs one penny, paid to a kitty, and you place the bought card in your hand. In hands 9-11 and 14 you can buy on one occasion during the hand; in hands 12 and 13 you are allowed to buy twice. In hands 12 and 13, at the same time you buy the up-card you also take the next blind card from the face-down stock.

Progressive rummy also indicates that, if it is your turn you have the right to buy first if you wish and then take your normal turn. If it is not your turn you have to state that you wish to buy the card. The current player may only stop you if they wish to take (or buy) the card themselves. If several players want to buy the face up card, the one whose next turn to play comes soonest has priority, so any player to your right, up to the current player can opt to buy the card you wanted.

When a card has been bought, the face up card underneath it is then available to be bought.

You can only buy in hands 9-14 in Progressive rummy, and you only get one or two opportunities to buy depending on the hand, as detailed on the score sheet.


Play ends when a player “goes out” by getting rid of all the cards from their hand. This can be done by putting down all the cards in melds or by discarding one’s last card. Each of the other players scores penalty points for the cards they are holding:

Wild cards (Jokers and 2s) – 20

Aces – 15

Picture cards – 10

3s to 10s – 5

At the end of the 15 deals, the player with the lowest score is the winner, the next lowest is second, etc. The players settle up in pennies according to their position – for example for a four player game in Progressive rummy the payments are as follows:

Winner: Receives 12

2nd: Pays 2

3rd: Pays 4

4th: Pays 6

In addition the winner takes all the pennies paid to the kitty for buying cards.

Other schedules of amounts are possible. Also, by prior agreement, the kitty can be split between the winner and second player – two thirds for the winner and one third for second.