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What are Shanghai Rummy Rules We Need to Learn?

Rummy is a popular card game, but its latest version refers to Shanghai Rummy or Californian Rummy. The game is full of fun and casual. Despite Shanghai Rummy’s similarities to other Rummy games, it has distinctive and unique features. As a result, it is essential to learn some Shanghai Rummy rules if you want to win. Here are some important Shanghai Rummy rules for you to learn and enjoy the game.

Shanghai Card Game Rules

3 to 8 people can play Shanghai Rummy at a time. As with other Rummy games, Shanghai Rummy has the same objective: removing, melding, and laying off all the cards you have. Your victory depends on your ability to do so. If you know Shanghai card game rules it will increase your winning abilities. 

Let’s learn some important Shanghai rummy rules to win and enjoy the game.

Rules of the Shanghai Card Game

To learn the Shanghai rummy rules, let’s first look at some basics of Shanghai rummy rules:

  • Shanghai’s goal: Meld all the cards in hand.
  • Played by: more than three players
  • The number of cards: Two 52 card decks
  • Card rankings: K (high), Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A
  • The type of game: Manipulation Rummy
  • Audience: All Ages

After knowing the brief shanghai rummy rules, let’s learn the rules for the shanghai rummy card game in detail.

Cards and Players

A Shanghai Rummy game is more fun and ideal if played with 3-8 people and no more than eight players. Therefore, the rules for playing Shanghai Rummy display are that you use two standard 52-card decks plus one Joker if you play with 3-4 people. So, if you are playing Shanghai Rummy with 5-8 players, you must use three standard 52-card decks with two Jokers.

Setup and Preparation

Rules for playing the shanghai card game suggest players have to sit in a circle in a comfortable place, to create an interactive and fun game environment. One must distribute a shuffled deck of cards to each player before the game start. For instance, the first dealer is the person whose card value is the highest. One person deals the first hand, then the person to his left becomes the next hand, and so on.

Players move clockwise, starting from the dealer’s left. After shuffling the cards, the dealer passes out 11 cards clockwise to each player, one by one. A deck then refers to the remaining cards from the stock.

After that, the player turns over the top card on the stock, followed by a discard pile formed by placing it on the side. It is the upcard that becomes visible when the player turns over the card. In this case, according to the rules shanghai card game, the player must use the upcard as the starting point for the discard pile.


During their turn, players can draw a card from the draw pile or take the top card from the discard pile. If a player draws a card, they must discard it. If discarded, the player throw it away. They must use their best strategies to meld their cards during their turn.

Shanghai Rummy: A Game of Melding

Using the definition above, a meld is a set of three same-value or same-symbol cards arranged in an increasing sequence. There are two melds: sets and runs. A set is a group of values, numbers, and ranks. Cards in a set are combinations of 3 or more of the same rank, for instance, 7s7d7h. Sequences of melds are called runs.

In the rules for the shanghai rummy game, the term run refers to consecutively three or more cards of the same symbol, such as 6s7s8s. At least three cards are needed to begin a meld. Once a meld is formed, other players can add to it with seven cards because melds are communal.


Jokers act as wild cards when forming a meld, both set and run. On the gameplay table, a Joker in a meld can be picked up by any player if they replace the Joker with the missing card. Players can pick up jokers from melds in the same turn they are used.

Card Values

There are 5 points for 2 through 9; 10 to King; 15 to Ace; 20 to Joker; and 50 to Black with 2 Wild cards.


There are 10 rounds of play in each game of Shanghai Rummy. The first meld combinations are as follows during each round:

Round & Meld Combinations

  1. There are two sets of three cards in each. 
  2. Each set consists of three cards, and each run contains four cards.
  3. There are 2 runs of four cards each.
  4. Three sets of three cards each
  5. There are two sets of 3 cards and one run of 4 cards.
  6. Each set contains three cards, and each run has four cards.
  7. There are three runs of four cards each
  8. There are three sets of cards and ten runs of cards.
  9. Three sets of three cards and one run of five cards.
  10. There are three runs of five cards each.


Before laying down, a player may buy only twice.

It’s your turn to discard a card, but if any other player discards before you, you can ask to buy it (even if you’ve discarded it). Priority is given to the player whose turn precedes the one who discarded. You are permitted to buy if all players, including the discarding player, decline to buy. When you are granted a buy, you can choose the discarded card and two other cards from the top. The game then continues as normal.

The Score of the Game

A player ends the game when all the cards in their hand are played. That player scores no points. Every card left in hand earns one point. However, the game does not officially end. 

Hands are played continuously until someone reaches the target score and LOSES, or the game is called off.

Cardgame24x7 the Best Site to Learn & Play Cardgames

Shanghai Rummy is a fun and popular game that multiplies your joy. Players need to learn Shanghai Rummy rules to win the game as it is tricky to play. 

Playing Shanghai Rummy and learning Shanghai Rummy rules is possible at Cardgame24x7. There are a variety of card games present on the site. It is possible to play various card games on this site without installing any software. Meanwhile, users will download downloadable applications with additional features and functions.