Common (and not so common) Situations

Setup Related Situations


Situation: We have more than 5 people. I read online that it can be played by up to 8 people. What should we do?

Advice: In our experience, Progressive Rummy with more than 5 players tends to be tedious and less fun. We suggest breaking up into two tables (i.e., two separate games). That said, if you do play with a larger group, make sure to shuffle in a 3rd deck–and don’t forget the jokers!

Play Situations


Situation: Your table played until the entire draw deck but the round isn’t yet finished (meaning, no one has gone out).

Rule: Take the discard pile exactly as-is, and flip it over to become the new draw pile. (If this happens repeatedly, consider adding another deck.)


Situation: Your entire party has lost track of whose turn it is. (It happens.)
Advice: Everyone should count their cards (quantity) to see if they have an even number or odd number of cards (like 8 cards for “even” or 9 cards for “odd”). If one person’s hand is different than all other players, it means it’s that person’s turn and they need to discard.

For example, say it’s Round 2, when all players were dealt 7 cards. Four players count their cards and find they have (respectively) 7, 8, 11, and 13 cards. (It’s likely players will have different totals due to buying.) In this case, the player with 8 cards is the one that’s “different” (an even among all odds), so it’s probably their turn and they now need to discard.

The reason this trick works is because when you buy a card, you always add two additional to the number dealt.

If all players have an odd number or all players have an even number, then do the best you can to retrace your steps as a group.

Situation: You notice a desirable discard from two turns ago that’s now on top because someone just bought the more recent discard. You desperately want to buy this older discard.

Rule: Sorry, Charlie, you’re outta luck. Once a player begins a turn, all previous discards are “dead”.

Situation: Someone accidentally draws a card when they weren’t supposed to.

Advice: “Burn” the card by placing it randomly down into the draw deck.

Situation: You’re ready to go down and you have more than 3 cards for a group and/or more than 4 cards for a run. (Examples: 2,2,2,2 or 5,6,7,8,9) You wonder if you can play these extra cards immediately or if you have to wait until your next turn.

Rule: You’re in luck! You can play them immediately (when you go down).

Situation: You have enough cards in your hand to make an additional run or group. You wonder if you can play it.

Rule: Sorry, Charlie, you’re outta luck. If you’ve already gone down, the only way to get rid of your extra cards is to play them on existing groups or runs (whether yours or another player’s) and/or to discard them one by one when you’re lucky enough to draw a “player”. If you haven’t yet gone down, you may consider getting rid of your higher-value cards.

Basic Strategies & Advice

  1. Go down as quickly as you can–there’s no benefit to waiting to go down.

  2. It’s usually best to discard unwanted high-value cards before unwanted low-value cards–in case someone goes out unexpectedly early. Aces are 15 points each; 10-K cards are 10 points each; 2-9 cards are 5 points each.

  3. For contracts (hands/rounds) that require a combination of groups and runs, it’s usually best to focus on building your runs first.

  4. It might be tempting to never buy discards. However, it’s better to go down with some extra cards in your hand than to get caught before you can go down (because of how scoring works). Also, once others go down, you will often be able to play at least some of your extra cards on their contracts.

  5. On the other hand, if you buy too many cards and get caught, you’ll end up with a very high (unwanted) score for that round.

  6. Remember that for the last round only (round 7), every time you buy a card, you’re committing to fitting these 2 additional cards into your hand. This is because on the last round, you’re not allowed any extra cards when you go down.

  7. Sometimes you get dealt a great hand; other times, a highly challenging one. Don’t despair or get too cocky–things can change rapidly!



  • Designate a score keeper.

  • Decide who will be the first Dealer.

  • Anyone can shuffle, but by default it’s the Dealer.


  • Give everyone a chance to examine their cards.

  • Give everyone a chance to say if they want to buy the first card in the discard pile.

    (Seniority goes to the person just left of the dealer, then clockwise.) If the person to the left of the dealer wants it, they can just take it without a penalty, since they have the first turn.


  • If there are any newbies in the group, allow them an extra beat to decide if they want to buy a given discard. Gently remind them of rules as they come up.

  • If someone buys a discard, then changes their mind, the general ruling is “too bad.”

    However, as long as the next person hasn’t yet drawn, the group may decide to allow it. In this case, the penalty card is “burned” by placing it deep into the draw pile.

When players fight over a discard, the rules are clear: seniority goes clockwise starting with the player to the left of the discarder.


A player is “set” when every card in their hand is part of a valid run; and the player is just waiting to draw a card that fits into th hand so they can go down & out with no discard. A player may announce (if they want) this “set” status–putting all others on notice that they’re close to winning the game.