» How to Play Rummoli

Rummoli is a popular board and card game in Canada. It is meant for groups of two to eight people, and the larger the number, the faster the game.

To play requires a Rummoli board, a deck of cards with the jokers removed and various chips or coins for placing bets. The layout of the board has eight different regions and before the game begins each player is obliged to place one chip into each area.

The dealer then gives out the cards, until they are gone. This may mean that a few players have one card more than others. The dealer also deals to one extra space, called the “widow”. The dealer has the option of swapping his hand with the widow, and if he does not want it, it will be auctioned off to the other players.

This begins the first phase of the game, which is simply a traditional hand of Poker. The player to the left of the dealer starts the betting, or may pass. The betting continues until the limit established before the game began is reached. The player with the winning hand takes the pot, and then lays down the lowest card from their winning hand.

This initiates the Rummoli phase of the game. The next player with the next card in sequence with that suit must lay theirs down on the board. If no one has such a card, the last player from the Poker phase lays down their lowest card in the opposite color suit.

Should this player not have the correctly colored card they are fined one chip, which is put in the Rummoli pot. The play then continues in a clockwise direction until a card can be played.

For example, if the first card down was the two of spades, and no one held any spades, the next player would place a three of diamonds or some other red card. If this player didn’t have a red card, they would pay the chip, and the next player would need to place a red card on the board or face the fine.

This black and red variation continues, with fines being paid into the pot for each time a player does not have a card to play, until one player is out of cards. The others place a chip into the pot for each card still in their hands and the winner gets all of the chips.
What makes Rummoli fun is the fact that the board is separated into eight different “pots” and each pot is designated with the name of a card or sequence that could easily appear. The player who plays the card or sequence then claims the pot. They are:

• The poker pot
• Ten of Spades
• Jack of Diamonds
• Queen of Clubs
• King of Hearts
• Ace of Spades
• Ace-King of Diamonds
• Sequence 7-8-9

Some players add a final round of Poker to their games of Rummoli, and this is a very high-stakes venture for some of the players because it requires all of the pots being put back into the center of the board. This is a winner takes all, single game of Poker.

58 Comments on How to Play Rummoli

  1. Rajes says:

    rummoli sounds stupid

    • Ken says:

      Obviously, you have never played it. It’s a great family or party game with some subtle strategy involved at the beginning of each deal.

      • Karen says:

        Rummoli is a great game!
        We used to play it every Saturday night… very fast paced, good strategy game, lots of fun and you can win a nice chunk of change if you used dimes or quarters … of course you can lose a lot too! ☺

      • Nathan says:

        Agreed just played it tonight with family and friends m…great time …Dec.30.2017

    • GT says:

      Everyone here is a winner!
      This game is both exceedingly stupid and fun!!

  2. That guy says:

    I agree, it does sound stupid. We have to research it for my class.
    >_< Make it stop….

    • assfart says:

      why does everyone say it’s stupid

      • Marion says:

        They are being stupid.. Anyone who has actually played this game would never say that it is stupid. It is a classic family game that is a lot of fun for family and friends.of all ages. We grew up playing rummoli. It is our favorite game.. My family just played it last night while we waited to ring in the new year at midnight. We had a blast. Young and old together. Not many things nowadays can boast this kind of relationship builder.

    • Bev says:

      The best and easiest/fastest way to learn the game is to play with others who already know how. Super fun. A ton of laughs. And I’m betting if you go into it with an open mind, it will quickly become a favorite. Not a kids game per se, but easily played by 10/11-year-olds playing with adults.

    • Darryl says:

      Then go back to video games moron. It’s easy to play and is a lot of laughs.
      Traditional Canadian game!
      Maybe tiddlywinks is more your speed.

  3. Richard Kyer says:

    The game Rummoli is not “stupid” and considers a lot of stategy. It is somewhat like Poker therefore, only mature people should play (adults). Anyone that says this game is stupid may say that because they have no clue how to play or may be a bit too young. Perhaps you’d enjoy it if you knew how to play or have played. Age is definitely a factor considering if they’re is money and betting. 🙂

  4. Laurie speirs says:

    We play it as a tournament. Everyone starts out with the same amount of chips or coins. We set a time limit. At the end everything that is left goes into the middle for on last hand of poker. Dealer deals cards out face up 5or7 cards depending on how many are playing. We usually have small prizes ie.. Choclate bars or chips. Highest coins gets to pick first, second, third and so on. The game is fun but the banter and conversation is what it’ s all about.

  5. Charles Fitzgerald says:

    La traduction en francais laisse a desirer. il vous faudrait engager un traducteur merci a la prochaine

  6. M. Campigotto says:

    Question–What happens if a player doesn’t play the next sequence card by mistake?

  7. Denise says:

    Rumolli is so much fun. We have couples night and play for quarters. Makes it more interesting and worth playing.

  8. Teena Hunter says:

    Rommoli is not stupid. Any game or sport that gets people thinking and involved socially and making new friends, is certainlly not stupid. The STUPID here are the people to dull and closed to see the opportunity to be involved in something that incourages this kind of interaction!!!!! As Tom Hanks said in Forrest Gump “stupid is as stupid does”

    • Patricia says:

      I agree with you. We have been playing this game for many years and instead of chips we use pennies. So the winner at the end of the evening may walk away 2 or 3 Bucks.

  9. cosman says:

    Rummoli is a good night of light entertainment for a group of friends. We have one question on rules for alternating color of suit during play. Can anyone confirm if when switching color of suit it must be the lowest valued card in that color that must be played or does the player have the choice of selecting the suit in the opposite color and then playing the lowest valued card of that suit? Any rules we have read seem to leave this point open to interpretation.

    • Roger Hickson says:

      When switching it’s lowest of the other colour, in the next player’s hand. If the next player doesn’t have the other colour it goes to the next player, and so on, until it goes through everyone. If no one has that colour anymore, play goes back to the first person that didn’t have that colour. They would then play the remaining colour. To further answer your questions… If the person playing has to play red and has the 2 hearts and also the 3 diamonds, they would have to play the 2 of hearts, even if they really want diamonds to be played. Makes sense I hope! (Colour – I’m Canadian! Cheers)

    • Carolyn says:

      We’ve always played the lowest card in your hand. Example, if you were switching to a “red”suit and you had a 3 of hearts and a 2 of diamonds, you must play the 2 of diamonds. Hope that helps!

  10. Tim Clayton says:

    In the rummy face if you are playing one card at a time. For the sequence pot is it just the person who ends the sequence with a nine that gets the pot?

    • Charmaine says:

      The same person has to have all the three Cards …789 and does not matter if it is hearts clubs diamonds or spades
      so long as it’s the same suit

  11. John palov says:

    For rummoli 789 sequence, does it have to be black or just in sequence?

    Can we play the poker hand, can it represent any card or do you discard it?

    Thanks, john

    • Ken says:

      I believe the rules demand the 7-8-9 sequence be in the same suit, but I find this to be too difficult a requirement, so we have arbitrarily changed the rules to be simply in the same colour. Feel free to improvise.

  12. Dee says:

    Does the winner of the poker hand have to show their winning cards to the players that they beat?

    • Ken says:

      As in regular poker, obviously they do. Otherwise, how would the other players know that the “winner” had actually won?

      • Kathie says:

        If a player misses a play and there are a couple of cards played after, should you back up the game so they can play their card or carry on with the game?

  13. Elisapee says:

    when we have sequence 789, with ten following, are we allow to take the pot from sequence 789 on the board pot?

  14. Anita says:

    When I was a kid we would play this at my cousins’ cottage and we used penny candy as our betting chips. At the start of each round the dealer would decide which penny candy we would be betting (some more desired than others). If you didn’t have that candy then you would have to put in two of another kind.
    I am planning on introducing this to my kids this summer when we go camping.
    Bulk Barn- here I come.

  15. Kelly Clarke says:

    Is the 7-8-9 in any suit or just in clubs

  16. Ed Byrne says:

    If the dealer has a money card can u still option for the widow hand or would it have to be sold.

  17. cavell says:

    question if a player has a card in his hand that is on the board == is that player allowed to discard his hand and bid on the widow hand

    • Gayle says:

      No, Rules I learned is that any player, including the dealer, cannot bid on the widow/ghost hand if they have any of the paying cards (or cards on the board), and must “pass” in bidding for the widow hand (they don’t have to say why they are passing). This is because one of the paying cards would then end up in the “dead/discarded” hand and you don’t want that.

  18. Sam says:

    We play CANDY rummoli, kids are learning how to play cards, win and loose, card suits, group patience, planning, how to deal, it’s a fantastic family fun!

  19. Amy says:

    Once you get to the Ace card in a sequence, do you then start at the two of that suit or do you then change to the opposite’s lowest number?

  20. Karin Newberry says:

    I have a question. Once the widow hand is bid on does the players hand he/she was delt discarded and those cards no longer in play. Also regarding the 7 8 9 sequence what if the number of players makes it hard to have them in the same suit or color would you win that pot with the sequence in different color suits

  21. Ron says:

    what is the average number of coins/tokens each player starts with?

  22. Diane says:


    So I just played this game with a couple of peeps and actually enjoyed it a lot. It was very interesting and fast to learn how to play. I played off my babies hand, so I didn’t loose nor win, but next time I play gonna bring my coins!!!!!!

  23. Pkay says:

    We found a used game and we’re going to buy poker chips. Approximately how many chips would we need to play.

  24. Simp says:

    Honesty is a requirement for rummoli
    When playing the poker hand. We would call out our best hand..But there was no need to show it.
    If we’re were putting in..We were honest about doing so.
    If we were putting down..We were honest about our lowest colored card of any suit.
    When paying up..We were honest.

  25. Kim says:

    How do you determine who starts the game. Cut the cards and highest card is dealer?

  26. Tammy says:

    If there are two hands that are the same, what happens then? I assume that there is an order of suit that determines which hand wins?

    • Mike says:

      When we play we use the following: If two players have the exact same poker hand, they would split the pot evenly. If it can’t be split exactly down the middle, an odd number, the remaining one would be left in the poker pot.

  27. Brigitte says:

    What if no one has a good poker hand and two p,ayers don’t go into the poker, does the third Player automatically get the poker pot. We have a bit of a disagreement going on about this.

    • Mike says:

      As in poker, if the other players fold, the remaining player would receive the pot and would not have to reveal his/her hand.

  28. Scott says:

    I haven’t played this game for years but use to love it as a kid. We played all of the time when we went camping with our family and friends. I think it is totally suitable for kids 10 and up. I don’t gamble at all now but I played Rummoli. We improvised quite a bit at times. Card games are fun bu the computer games seems to be taking over.

  29. Me says:

    If no one has a black card what do we do?

    • Marion says:

      What we do is, once round and back at the initial person, that person starts it again by laying down another lowest red..

  30. Tyler says:

    How do you get the ace-king pot? Cannot find ruling anywhere

  31. Karen Chambers says:

    We played this as children with a minor change. Instead of starting with a round of poker to win the poker pot, we began with the Rummoli part of the game, that is, after the auctioning of the Widow, the player to the left of the dealer laid down their lowest card and so on. At the end of the round, everyone would pick up their cards and then lay down their best poker hand to decide the winner of the poker pot. This change meant younger children could play the game while they learned a bit about the hierarchy of poker hands without the adult side of betting.

  32. Gordon says:

    When laying cards, is the ace high or low?

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