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.