Basic Rummy Terminologies - Glossary
To best learn the rules on how to play and excel in
Rummy, your first course of action should be to learn the basic
terminologies used in the game. The following are the terms and expressions
that you will encounter in your quest to improve your Rummy skills.
Angling is the strategy where you discard a card that will provoke
your opponent to throw a card one rank away from the one you threw. This can
also be called “side baiting” or “sideways fishing.”
Baiting is also called “advertising” or “fishing.” This is a popular
strategy widely used by more experienced players and should also be the
first strategy that beginners should master. It is done by discarding a card
of the same rank or suit as the card that you are looking for. This will
then provoke your opponent to throw a card of that rank or suit.
Base is the term used in the Rummy variant, Canasta, to refer to four
natural cards that have the same rank. Base is important in making a
The basic count refers to the total of the bonus scores of a player.
This is different from the point value of melded cards. This is also used in
the game of Canasta.
A blind discard is the move where you throw a card without any idea
of whether your opponent can use it or not. The first discard in a deal is
usually a blind discard.
A block is when you intentionally withhold a card to keep your
opponent from extending his meld.
Borrowing means taking a card from a previous meld so you can form a
brand new meld. This term is usually used in the game Panguingue.
A box refers to every entry on the score sheet in a game of Gin
Rummy. Every score given to a player who wins a deal is called a box score.
Calling or calling a card is when you need a particular card
to complete a combination that you are working on.
Canasta is the name of a variant of Rummy. In the game, it is used to
refer to a meld that consists of seven cards, all of the same rank. You can
also form a “mixed canasta,” which is a canasta that contains one,
two, or three wild cards. If the canasta does not have wild cards, it is
called natural canasta or pure canasta.
A combination refers to two cards that are already matched and just
requires another card to make it a complete set.
A concealed hand is a hand that goes out in a single turn without
making any melds beforehand. This is often used in Oklahoma Gin and in
A condition refers to a certain meld for which a player can
immediately collect payment. This is a term used in Panguingue.
A contract is used in Contract Rummy. It refers to a predetermined
combination of melds that players must form at the start of a deal.
A crack is when you discard a card that your opponent needs or when
you meld because keeping the card is potentially advantageous.
Dead cards are cards that are no longer available or usable in the
game because they have either been melded or discarded and left in the
Deadwood refers to the unmatched cards that remain in your hand.
To discard a card is to take one card from your hand and place it on
the discard pile. Discarding is the last move a player has to make in his
The discard pile is the pile of cards that have been discarded during
the game. This is called the pack in some games.
To draw is to take a card from the stock pile or the discard pile and
to add that card to your hand. This term can also be used to refer to the
card that was taken from the piles.
An exposed card is any card that is dropped or held in a way that
makes it possible for the partner to see it illegally. This is used in
To fill is to draw a card that completes a meld.
Forcing means discarding a card that the player next to you must take
as dictated by the rules.
A gin hand is a hand with all the cards matched. This is used in Gin
Rummy. To go gin means laying down that hand. In Rummy, this can be called
Going out means eliminating the last card in your hand.
The initial meld is the first meld that a player makes in a deal. The
value or format of the initial meld is predetermined.
To knock is to end one play in a game of Rummy by placing your
unmatched cards face up on the table.
To lay off cards is to add cards to sets that have already been
To meld is to place all the matched sets in your hand on the table.
Non-comoquers refer to aces and kings that can be part of groups
regardless of what suit they are of. This is used in Panguingue.
The off card is a card that is not matched or not a part of any
A safe discard is a discarded card that you are sure will not be
A shutout means winning the game where your opponent was not able to
score even a single point.
The stock is the remainder of the deck after the player cards are
dealt. This is placed face down on the table to form the stock pile.
The stop card is any wild card or any black three card that has been
To trade the Joker means taking the Joker from a particular group or
set and putting it in your hand, and replacing it in the meld with the card
it originally substituted for.
An undercut is a move where you reduce your deadwood count to the
same value or lower than that of the knocker’s. This is commonly used in Gin
To unload is to discard the high cards or to meld them so you can
reduce your deadwood count and the penalty you will get in case a player
wins the game.
The valle cards are the threes, fives, and the sevens in a game of
Panguingue. They are called such because these cards are equivalent to
special bonuses in the game.
A wild card is usually a Joker or in some games, the two or three
cards, that can be used to substitute for cards that are still missing in
any group or set.
A wild discard is one that the discarder knows can be taken up.