Rummy is a game played with 2 decks of 52 cards each + 2 jokers. 52 cards are comprised of 13 cards of the suit of diamonds, hearts, clubs and spades.
- Within the classic game format of 13-card rummy, which is played with these 2 decks, there is no ranking within the suits of diamonds, hearts, clubs, and spades. In some other card game formats, you may have a ranking of suits. In the classic rummy format, however, there is no ranking. So each suit is plain and simply just a suit of color which gives you the guidance to make sets and sequences. (To know more about sets and sequences and other rules of playing rummy, please check our rummy sequence rules article). In this article, we are specifically focusing on the joker, its purpose, its rules and its significance.
In rummy, there is a no-joker format, as well as a Joker rummy format. Both the game formats are played with two decks of 52 cards + 1 joker each. However, there is no bonus joker card. Only face jokers are allowed in the game.
The key to note here is that in the game of rummy, there are two kinds of jokers:
- joker playing card – i.e. the face card joker which has no other value other than being a joker: The joker playing card in the deck can be clearly identified with the symbol of the joker in place of the number and suit symbol in the card. Note the infographic below to understand how a joker card looks in the card deck.
Bonus joker card – This is a card such as 2 of hearts, 3 of clubs, 10 of diamonds, or any other card, which has a value of its own, such as the number and the suit that it represents, but also has the value of acting as a joker. It is not a face joker, but a joker card for that specific game. For example, if a 7 of a diamond is drawn as a joker during dealing the cards, card 7 can be used as a 7 of hearts to make a sequence, or any suited card of 7, ie. 7-spades, 7-clubs, 7-hearts, 7-diamonds, can also be used as a joker.
what is the purpose of joker cards?
These joker cards, both face joker cards, as well as bonus joker cards can be used to create sequences and sets incase your sequence or set is incomplete. Please note that in the game of 13 cards rummy, at least one pure sequence is required. I.e. a pure sequence is a sequence of 3 or more cards of the same suit which does not contain any joker. However, the bonus joker card can be used for its face value in the formation of the sequence, instead of a joker, to make a pure sequence. For example, if 7 of diamond is the joker, you can create a sequence 7-8-9 of hearts as a pure sequence, because in this case, 7-heart is being used for its face value and not as a joker.
Are joker cards counted in the points tally?
Both face joker as well as bonus joker cards not counted in the final points tally. They are assumed to have a points value of 0 for the purpose of the game.
How to use a joker in a sequence game?
You can use the joker in the following formats:
Bonus joker cards:
- Use them for their face value – such as 7-8-9 hearts (here 7-hearts is being used for its face value
- Use them in a Triplet set for their face value such as 2-2-2 of different suits (here face joker can be used for triplet.
- Use them as a joker in an impure sequence
- Use them as a joker in an impure set
can we use 2 jokers in a set in rummy?
You can use any number of jokers in an impure sequence. There is no limit to this. You can use one or two or three jokers in any impure sequence.
So, the key to understanding here is that the number of jokers, essentially, in a classic rummy game of 13 cards with 2 decks of 52 cards + 1 joker is
- 1 face jokers in each card deck: i.e. 2 face jokers, plus
- 4 bonus jokers of the bonus joker card of each suit, in each deck – i.e. 2 sets of 2-hearts, 2-clubs, 2-spades, 2-diamonds – total 8 here
That is a total of 10 jokers in the game of 106 cards.