Guest Author - Robin Rounds Whittemore
Kaluki is a variation of the card game Rummy. There are even several variations of the game as well as the spelling of Kaluki. It could be Kalookie or Kalooki or even Kalukie. Any way you spell it, the game is pretty much the same. This makes a wonderful card game for any game night.
South Africa is one country that plays this game. Other countries that list versions of this game include Britain, Jamaica, and Sweden; although the rules or order of melding cards may differ. You may even decide to make your own order of melding the cards at a later time.
You’ll need two decks of the standard 52 cards. Include the Jokers for this game, making it 108 cards altogether. The Jokers are wild and can only be used once per player. It would be nice to have multiple copies of the melding order to be included for everyone to see. You will definitely need a scoring pad and pencil as well.
Rummy as you know is played by players melding cards to make groups. The group can be all the same rank of cards, as in three 4’s. A meld can be a straight in the same suit of cards, such as the 3, 4, and 5 of spades. With Rummy, the least number of cards in a meld is three. With Kaluki, the least number of cards in a meld varies.
The object of the game is to be the first player to make the required meld. Once a person makes a meld for that particular round; play stops and points are calculated per player based on the cards left in their hand.
Points are calculated as follows:
Jokers – 25 points
Aces – 11 points
10, J, Q, K – 10 points each
2-9 – each card is worth face value
If you are holding these cards in your hand when someone has made a meld for that round, you have the points deducted from your score. The player with the lowest score is the winner.
To determine who deals first, each player is dealt a card. The player with the highest card goes first. Thirteen cards are dealt to each player starting on the left and play continues to the left. After each round, dealing duties pass to the left.
Once cards are dealt, one card is turned up to start the discard pile. Only the top card can be used in the discard pile. The next player can either draw from the discard pile or the top card of the stock pile. You must discard one card from your hand before play can continue.
When your turn comes, you may lay down only the meld asked for on that particular round. Upon subsequent plays, you may lay down additional melds as in regular rummy. You can also add cards to other players existing melds.
Play continues until one player gets rid of all their cards but the one they will discard. You must discard to go out. If you cannot lay down a discard, you cannot go out.
Should the face down stock of cards be exhausted, it will need to be shuffled and replaced, leaving the last discard face up in play. The play continues as if the game had not stopped.
An Ace stops or starts a meld if used. You cannot have a meld such as 2-A-K.
The melds you are striving for each round:
Round 1: A group of three of the same rank. (three of a kind)
Round 2: A group of three consecutive cards in a suit.
Round 3: A group of four cards of the same rank. (four of a kind)
Round 4: A groups of four consecutive cards of the same suit.
Round 5: A group of three consecutive cards in a suit, plus three of a kind.
Round 6: A group of any five cards in the same suit.
Round 7: Blitz. You must meld of all your cards in groups at once. There is no laying down of cards until all can be used. Three of a kind, four of a kind, same suit, etc.
Draw one card and discard when you are ready to go out if you do not have a discard in your hand.