How to play Rummoli

A guide for playing the popular card game rummoli, also know as tripoley or Michigan rummy

Rummoli? What is that? This may be a game that not many people have heard of but that does not mean it isn’t worth checking out. Rummoli is a great game that is easy to play and can be played by the young and old, with many or with few. It works well for those rainy days or for some after dinner family time.


Step 1

Set up the board

Use a table or space that is big enough for your players, rummoli board and leaves space for all the chips and pennies. If you do not have a board, do not worry, it is possible to make a board yourself from a large piece of paper or even an old table cloth. Just find a picture of the board online and copy the sections out for yourself.

Step 2

Deal out the chips

Every player will start with the same number of chips. The exact amount that each player receives will vary depending on how long you want the game to last.

A good amount to play with is 25 poker chips and 10 pennies each (the pennies being equal to five poker chips apiece).

Step 3

Choose the dealer

You can simply choose the first dealer by age, experience or rock-paper-scissors but the most fun way it to let the cards choose.

Simply have each player draw a card from the deck. The player with the highest card will be the first dealer.

Step 4

Ante up

Each player is responsible for placing one chip on each space of the board, including one in the centre rummoli zone. Depending on the number of players and your math skills it is possible to figure out a system where each player places a set number of chips on only a few spaces, rather than one on each space, which can be easier (once you work out the math).

Step 5

Deal out the cards

The dealer deals out all the cards by making one hand for each player and one extra hand off to the side. This means that not all hands will have the same number of cards, but this is okay, because as each player get to be dealer everyone will equally get a chance to play the hands with fewer cards.

Step 6

Buy the extra hand

The extra hand is there as an optional replacement for one of the players’ hands.The dealer is the first to decide whether or not they want the extra hand. If they do they can take the extra hand for free, and replace their dealt hand, which they now place face-down off to the side of the play area.

If the dealer decides they do not want the extra hand they announce to the other players that the «hand is for sale». The other players, to the left of the dealer, now have a chance to bid on the extra hand, so they can replace their dealt one. The bidding continues around the table as many times as it takes until one player is the highest bidder, who pays the dealer and replaces their hand.

Step 7

The poker pot

Now the players must decide if they want to take part in competing for the poker pot. Any player that thinks they have the best five-card poker hand (starting to the left of the dealer) puts a chip onto the poker pot space (adding to the ones already there). If a player does not want to challenge the others for the poker pot or does not have a good poker hand they do not add a chip.

All players that placed a chip in the poker now announce their poker hand, starting to the left of the dealer. The player with the best poker hand wins all the chips in the poker pot.

Step 8

Playing the hands

The person that won the poker pot is the first to play, placing down the lowest card in their hand face up in front of them, announcing what the card is to the other players. If anyone else has the next card in sequence with the same suit to the one played they play it now. If no one else has the following card and new low card is played, of the opposite colour.

For example, if a 3-of-hearts is played and another player has the 4 and 5 in their hand they would play them now, saying «4 and 5 of hearts» so the other players know what was played. If the 6-of-hearts is not in play (it must be in the extra hand) than the person that played last would now start with their lowest black card, either a spade or club.

Step 9

Collecting the chips off the board

While playing their cards, if a player puts down a card that matches one of the sections on the rummoli board that player receive the chips off that space of the board.

For example: If while counting a person plays the 10-of-spades they would collect all the chips off the 10-of-spades space on the game board and play would continue.

Step 10

End of the round

Once a player runs out of cards the round is over. The players with cards remaining must count those leftover cards and place that number of chips in the rummoli space on the board. The person that got rid of all their cards gets all the chips in the rummoli pile.

Sometimes it is possible that no one is able to get rid of all their cards. This happens when everyone has only one colour of cards left and so cannot play a low card of the opposite colour. When this happens the round is over and, like any other time, they must count their cards and put that number of chips on the rummoli space. All the chips in the space are now up for grabs in the next round.

Step 11

Winning the game

The game ends when one or more players run out of chips, whether they run out while anteing or paying for their cards at the end of a round, does not matter, the game is still over. The winner is the player with the most chips.

Things Needed
• Set of regular playing cards with jokers removed
• Rummoli board
• Poker chips or something that can be used in the same way, such as coins or beads
• Pennies can be used to equal five coins, making the game go longer without having to hold too many poker chips
• Some people that want to play! You can play with as little as two players, although four or more (up to eight) make for the best games

Tips & Warnings
• The 7-8-9 sequence and King-Ace of diamonds are the spaces usually worth the most amount of chips because they are rare to get in a hand and hard to play, keep a hand if you have one of these combinations
• A good math lesson at the end of the game is to have children count their chips and compare it to how many chips they received at the beginning of the game, seeing whether they gained or lost chips overall


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