up to sarah-marie belcastro's home page

Rules for (our special version of) Contract Rummy

First, I need to explain why this page exists. Contract Rummy is a card game. My immediate family has been playing Contract Rummy at least since the late 1970s. As far as we can tell, we learned the game from friends in Bellevue, Iowa. In July 2010 we had a rule question not covered by our rule sheets and so we turned to the internet for a judgement---and could not find any reference to a version of Contract Rummy with our set of contracts or rules. So, here it is for others to enjoy!


1) One pair of aces and three of a kind.
2) Two sets of three of a kind.
3) One set of three of a kind and a run of four.
4) Two runs of four.
5) Three sets of three of a kind.
6) Two sets of three of a kind and a run of four.
7) One set of three of a kind and two runs of four.
8) One run of five and one run of six.
9) One set of three of a kind and one run of seven.
10) Three runs of four---played at once.


A) Use 2 decks of cards for 2, 3, or 4 players, 3 decks for 5 or 6 players, 4 decks for 7 or 8 players, etc. (Keep the 2 jokers in each deck.) The jokers and deuces are wild cards. 11 cards are dealt to each player.

B) If a player inadvertently discards a card that can be played on any exposed card on the table, s/he must take back the card and take two more from stock pile. The player who calls attention to this error can also discard one card, and if this is her/his last card, s/he goes out. If it is not her/his last card, the discarded card cannot be picked up.

C) When it is not her/his turn to draw, any player may ask to pick up a discarded card for his/her hand by saying “May I”. The player who says “May I” first may pick up the card if it is not wanted by the player next to draw. If there is a tie, the next person in rotation gets the card. This player adds the card to her/his hand (but cannot discard one card, as in usual play) and picks up two additional cards from the stockpile for her/his hand. Note that the card under the "May I"ed card cannot be picked up!

D) Only three “May I”s are permitted per person per contract---no more than 21 cards may be used by one player during play, except when extra cards are picked up following the play of wild cards or playable cards.

E) Extra cards can be laid down with each initial contract. Aces are used at either end of a run (ace, king, queen, jack etc.) or (ace, 2, 3, 4 etc.). Runs of 4 or more cards in a suit must omit a continuing card: K, Q, J, 10 - 8, 7, 6, 5.

F) If a player holding only one playable card picks up an identical card as held, s/he must keep one, discard the other (freezing it), and pick up two cards from the stockpile. The frozen card cannot be picked up.

G) Wild cards (deuces or jokers) must alternate with natural cards in sets or runs (i.e. one can’t have two wild cards in a row). A wild card can be used at either end of each set or run.

H) A player must go out playing her/his last cards on exposed cards on the table only, except for the 10th contract. In Contract 10, one must go out while laying down one’s contract. Hence, only one player will lay down his/her contract in the 10th hand.

I) Before drawing from the stockpile, a player may discard a wild card, freezing the card (so no one can pick it up). This player then picks up two cards instead of one for her/his hand from the stockpile.

J) Only the most recently discarded card can be picked up. That is, cards beneath the top of the discard pile cannot be picked up should they rise to the top.

K) In the event that the stockpile is exhausted, shuffle the discard pile (except the top card) to create a new stockpile.

L) Points: Joker = 50, deuce = 20, aces = 15, face cards = 10, other cards = 5.

up to sarah-marie belcastro's home page