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How To Play The Carioca Rummy - Rules Of Carioca Rummy
Carioca Rummy is a variation on the popular game of Contract Rummy. Other Rummy games are sometimes variations on this form and are sometimes regional, which is the case with Carioca Rummy. This particular form of the game is popular in Argentina and Chile and is played by two people, rather than three or more, which is how Contract Rummy can be played. That is only one of the differences that separate Contract Rummy from Carioca Rummy, but it’s one of the more important ones and sets the rules that make up the game, which we’ll discuss now.

Whether you are familiar with the original version of Rummy or not, we’ll go into all the rules of Carioca Rummy so that nothing is left to interpretation. As mentioned before, Carioca Rummy should be played with two people. Two decks of 52 cards are used, giving a grand total of 104 cards needed to play the game. This number could get bumped up to 106 if you plan on playing with two jokers. While this is a completely optional move, it does make the game more interesting.

Once you have your deck ready to go, give it a good shuffle and draw a card along with your partner. Whoever is holding the lowest card (Ace being the lowest, King being the highest) will deal first. This person deals out 12 cards to each player. The rest of the cards go in a pile facedown on the table, and the top card is flipped over and set next to the deck. Now that you have all the cards where they need to be, you’re ready to start playing the game.

The object of Carioca Rummy is to complete “contracts.” These are made up of either sets or sequences. Sets are three or more cards of the same value (ie triple 2’s, 3’s, etc.). Sequences are four or more cards of the same rank (heart, club, etc.) and in consecutive order. Once you have a contract, you set the cards down, and lay off the rest of the cards in your hands onto the sets and sequences you have made. You can also lay off on the contract your opponent has laid down if he has done so. The first person to get rid of all their cards is the winner.

In Carioca Rummy, sets are known as "trios", and sequences are called "escalas". These two are combined to make up certain contracts that are defined by whichever deal you are on. The typical game of Carioca Rummy consists of eight deals, each requiring a different combination of trios and escalas to create the contract for that deal. The following are the contracts related to each deal:
Deal Cards Basic Contract Example of Meld 1 Example of Meld 2 Example of Meld 3
Deal 1 12 Two Trios Q Q Q 4 4 4 Not Required
Deal 2 12 One Trio, One Escala 8 8 8 3 4 5 6 Not Required
Deal 3 12 Two Escalas 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Not Required
Deal 4 12 Three Trios A A A 8 8 8 Q Q Q
Deal 5 12 Two Trios, One Escala K K K 5 5 5 A 2 3 4
Deal 6 12 One Trio, Two Escalas 3 3 3 6 7 8 9 5 6 7 8
Deal 7 12 Four Trios A A A 4 4 4 6 6 6
Deal 8 12 Three Escalas 3 4 5 6 4 5 6 7 A 2 3 4
Note that for deal 7, four trios are required which means four three card sets (ie a total of 12 cards) but we have only shown three example melds as there was not enough space. The heading "Cards" in the above table refers to the number of cards dealt to each player for the corresponding deal. In Carioca Rummy, unlike Contract Rummy, 12 cards are dealt to each player for every round. As you can see, each deal increases the number of cards that are part of a contract by one apart from deal 7 and deal 8 which both require 12 cards for their respective contracts. For example, in deal 1, two trios are required (6 cards) and in deal 2, one trio and one escala (7 cards) are required.

During the game, a player either picks a top card off the discard pile or off the top of the face down deck. He can keep this card and drop one from his hand, or drop the card and move on. This continues until someone has made a contract, laid it down, and got rid of the rest of the cards in his hand. Once this is done, it’s time to score the deal.

The player with cards still in his hand at the end of the deal gets a number of points depending on the cards in his hand. These points are added together throughout the game, and the person who has the fewest points at the end of the game is the winner. Here is the breakdown of the cards and their worth in points:

Cards Value Example 1 Example 2
Jokers 25 points     is worth 25 points     is worth 25 points
Aces 15 points A  is worth 15 points A  is worth 15 points
Faces 10 points J  is worth 10 points K  is worth 10 points
Others Pip value 2  is worth 2 points 8  is worth 8 points
Note that in Carioca Rummy, unlike Contract Rummy, Aces are high and may also go around the corner so therefore K-A-2 is a valid sequence. Other obvious differences between Carioca Rummy and Contract Rummy are that Carioca is mostly a two player game, 12 cards are dealt for every deal and Jokers always score 25 points.

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