There are lots of variations of the traditional rummy games. It is always a question of when a certain one started, who started it and most importantly who plays it. The popularity of Kalooki 51 Rummy is said to be steeped in Chinese history. The accepted origin theory is that it is a card variation adapted from Mahjong. This is said for the entire family of rummy games. You can take your pick of theories as it is said in different regions to have started from such notable games as Conquian, Poker and of course Mahjong.
These theories refer mainly to the origins of rummy games as a whole and not to any particular variation. There is no definitive proof of any of the said theories and this makes the debate an ongoing source of contention in some circles. Although Kalooki 51 rummy’s popularity is mostly regional, it has been deemed as more challenging than contract rummy but it is a lot easier to actually play the game.
The popularity of Kalooki 51 Rummy is rising steadily in the online gaming zone. The game is similar to all other rummy games in a way that to win you must be the first to get rid of all of your cards. There can be 2-4 players in a game, and the game is played in rounds. To get rid of your cards, you either have to meld them or discard them. A meld consists of 3 or more cards of the same suit in sequence or 3 or more card of different suits with the same values. To end play the last card in the hand is used.
Everyone in the game, who still has cards to play, is penalized. This is done via a point system. Each card has a point value and these are added together to get the total amount of the penalty. This is how the players know who is in first, second, third or fourth place. The cards in the deck generally are scored in this manner:
Royal cards – 10 points
Ace – 11 points
And the numbered cards are tallied on their face value.
The game of Kalooki 51 has two options for game play. Draw and discard like most of the other variants. As a player you will want to get as many melds out of your hand as possible and you want to do this quickly. This will lessen the severity of the penalty should you get “caught” with cards still in your hand. The other option is one that is not seen too often and that is called “Going Kalooki”. If you can do this on the first play all of your opponents receive additional penalty points. This is to say they get the points in their hands and an added penalty.
The big difference in Kalooki 51 rummy from the others is that you can only make your first meld if its value is 51 or over. This makes the game a lot more interesting and generally gives everyone a chance to play at least one round.