21 Card Rummy, also known as Indian Marriage Rummy, is a captivating variant of the traditional rummy game. While it shares some similarities with the standard 13 Card Rummy, it introduces additional complexities and nuances that make the game more challenging and intriguing. Below are some basic rules of 21 Card Rummy that many may find similar to 13 card rummy rules:-

  1. The Deck and Dealing

21 Card Rummy is typically played with three standard decks of cards, including the printed jokers from each deck. Each player is dealt 21 cards. The remaining cards form the closed deck, and the top card is placed face-up, creating the open deck.

  1. Objective of the Game

The primary objective remains consistent with traditional rummy: players need to form valid sequences and sets with their cards. However, given the increased number of cards, the requirements for valid declarations are also higher.

  1. Forming Sequences and Sets

Sequences: A sequence is a group of consecutive cards of the same suit. In 21 Card Rummy, players need to form at least three pure sequences (without any joker) to make a valid declaration.

Sets: A set consists of three or more cards of the same rank but different suits. Using two cards of the same suit in a set is not allowed.

  1. The Role of Jokers

Jokers play a pivotal role in 21 Card Rummy:

Printed Jokers: These are the joker cards that come with the deck.

Cut Jokers: At the start of the game, a random card is drawn from the closed deck to serve as the cut joker. All cards of the same rank, irrespective of the suit, become wild jokers.

Tunnela and Dublee: Unique to 21 Card Rummy, Tunnela refers to three cards of the same rank and suit, while Dublee means two cards of the same rank and suit. Both these combinations are treated as valid sets in the game.

  1. The Concept of Marriage

The term “Marriage” in 21 Card Rummy refers to a combination of the cut joker, its preceding card, and its succeeding card. For instance, if the cut joker is a 5 of Hearts, the marriage will consist of the 4 of Hearts, 5 of Hearts, and 6 of Hearts. A marriage can significantly reduce a player’s points.

  1. Picking and Discarding Cards

Players, during their turn, must pick a card either from the open deck or the closed deck. They must also discard a card to the open deck. The game progresses in this manner, with players picking and discarding cards trying to form valid combinations.

  1. Declaring the Game

Once a player has formed the required sequences and sets, they can finish the game by placing their cards in the “Finish” slot (in online versions) or by discarding their final card to the designated area (in offline play). Players must then arrange their cards and declare their combinations.

  1. Scoring in 21 Card Rummy

The point system in 21 Card Rummy is as follows:

  • Number cards carry points equal to their face value.
  • Face cards (Kings, Queens, Jacks) and Aces carry 10 points each.
  • Jokers carry zero points.
  • The aim is to minimize your score. Players’ scores are calculated based on the unmatched cards they hold at the end of the game.
  1. Wrong Declaration

If a player declares their cards without meeting the game’s requirements, it’s considered a wrong declaration, and they are penalized with the maximum points.


21 Card Rummy, with its intricate rules and unique combinations, offers a refreshing challenge for rummy enthusiasts. While it might seem daunting initially, understanding the basic rules is the first step towards mastering this variant. As with all card games, practice plays a crucial role. The more you engage with the game, the more adept you’ll become at navigating its complexities and enjoying its rich strategic depth.