Rules of may I card game

Continental Rummy

Continental Rummy
Alternative names Continental
May I?
Double-deck rummy
Players 4–8
Skills required Strategy
Cards 108 cards
Play Clockwise
Playing time 20 min.
Random chance Easy
Related games

Continental Rummy (also called Continental, May I?, and Double-deck rummy) is a progressive partnership Rummy card game related to Rumino. It is considered the forerunner of the whole family of rummy games using two packs of cards as one. Its name derive from the fact that it is played throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, and also in South America. According to Albert Morehead, it was "at one time the most popular form of Rummy in women's afternoon games, until in 1950 it lost out to Canasta."

The object of Continental Rummy is to be the player with the fewest amount of penalty points after playing all seven hands. Everyone draws 1 card, the high card deals, and the subsequent deals are passed to the left.

  • 4 players use 2 decks
  • 6 players use 3 decks
  • 8 players use 4 decks

Each player is dealt 12 cards, the remaining stock pile is set on the table. Jokers and red Aces are wild. After a card is drawn, one must be discarded, and the next player to the left has the option of drawing either the top discard or top stock card then he must discard.

A set consists of three or more cards of the same face value, e.g., three queens, or three aces, or three sevens. A run consists of four or more cards of the same suit, in sequence. If there is an ace in the run, it can serve as either high card or low card, but not both in the same run. No run may contain more than 13 cards.

For, example, Baccarat use only one deck. If you are interested, you can read Classical Rules of Baccarat.


Seven different deals, or hands, make up one game. Each hand consists of a combination of sets and runs, and there is a different opening requirement for each of the seven hands. The first hand requires a player to open, or "go down, " with two sets. A minimum of six cards makes up the first hand's opening requirements, seven cards for the second hand, etc. Each successive hand needs one more card for the opening requirements, until the seventh hand, which requires twelve cards to open. Everyone moves on to the next hand together, regardless of whether they were able to go down during the previous hand.

Once a player has gone down by satisfying the requirements for that particular hand, he may not create any new sets or runs. While playing the first hand of two sets, no player may play three sets. Cards that remain in a player's hand may only be played onto the sets and runs already established on the table.

The sequence of seven hands is as follows:

Minimum # of cards Sequence & Description Needed to open 1. Two trios 6 2. One trio & one straight 7 3. Two straights 8 4. Three trios 9 5. Two trios & one straight 10 6. Two straights & one trio 11 7. Three straights 12

For those hands that require multiple runs, if a player goes down using the same suit for more than one straight, the straights can be played with contiguous card values. However, the player must separate these cards into two runs of four (or more) and can be played on separately, i.e. Player 1 goes down with 5–8 and 9-Q of spades, Player 2 (who is down) can play a 9 of spades on the first straight and an 8 on the second and so on. Multiple trios of the same value (number or face) can be played in this manner as well.

The deal

All players pick a card at random and return it to the deck, high card dealing first. Each hand starts a new deal, with the turn to deal passing from player to player, to the left. Cards are dealt one at a time, face down beginning at the dealer's left. The dealer deals 11 cards face down to each player, places the remainder of the pack face down in the middle, and places the top card from the stock pile face up next to it. Play starts with the player to the dealer's left and proceeds clockwise. If the first face-up card is a joker, it is played as any other card would be, i.e., the player to the dealer's left would have first choice to pick it up in turn.

The play

Beginning with the player to the left of the dealer, a person's turn begins by selecting either the top card from the stock pile, or the top card from the discard pile. If the player does not wish to select from the discard pile, any player in order of rotation to the left of the player may claim that card, but must also draw the top card from the stock pile as a penalty for picking out of turn, without discarding. In such a case:

  • The order of play is not changed,
  • The player picking out of turn may not play any cards on the table until his or her next regular turn,
  • Any remaining cards in the discard pile are ineligible for selection (dead), and
  • The player whose turn was interrupted resumes play by selecting the top card from the stock pile.

If the player has not yet opened, and has the necessary cards to meet the opening requirements for that hand, he may then lay down the sets and runs appropriate for that hand. Having opened, the player is then free to play (in that same turn and in subsequent turns) additional cards onto existing sets or runs that have already been played on the table. A player may not put any cards into play until he has opened ("gone down").

Wild cards may be used to fill in missing cards in a set or a run, but the wilds can never outnumber the standard cards. Trios of wild cards can be played, however, and only wild cards can be played onto these trios. If a player doesn't verbally declare the value of a joker being played as part of a run, its value is implied by the position in which it is originally placed. If the player changes his mind as to which cards to play where, only the cards played in the current turn may be picked up for re-use. Wild cards cannot be rearranged on a straight to play another card, i.e. Player 1 has a straight of 4–8 of hearts, with a wild standing in for the 5. Player 2 (who is down) cannot play his 5 of hearts and move the wild card somewhere else in the straight.

During a player's regular turn, and only if they have already opened, a wild card already laid on the table as part of any run may be replaced by the card which it represents, taken from the player's hand. The wild card must then be played on the table to represent any card in any set or run. Wild cards that are part of a set may not be replaced.

The end of a turn occurs when a player discards one card onto the discard pile. Play then continues with the next player to the left.


Since Continental Rummy is a game winnable based on the fewest number of points, you get 5 points for cards from 2–9. 10 and face cards count as 10 points. Aces are 20 points and Jokers are 50.

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