13 Card Rummy vs 21 Card Rummy

There are many variants of rummy. It is an ancient card game that has traveled the length and breadth of the world. In each country where rummy arrived, people put their own spin on the game, which is why so many versions emerged.
Two of the most popular versions of rummy that are extensively played in India are 13 cards rummy and 21 cards rummy. If you are new to rummy and are not familiar with any of the versions, you might be asking, which variant I should be starting with. That is why we will compare the two versions so that you can decide where you want to start.

13 Cards Rummy and 21 Cards Rummy

Since they are both variants of rummy, the ground rules are the same for both. There will be 2-6 players at each rummy table and each will be dealt a specific number of cards.
These cards have to be arranged into sets and sequences. Sets are 3 or more cards of the same rank but from different suits. When you arrange 3 or more cards ranked consecutively but from the same suit, you produce a sequence.
Both 21 cards rummy and 13 cards rummy are played with decks of 51 cards. The cards are ranked from 2 to 10 and each suit has 1 Ace, 1 Jack, 1 Queen, and 1 King valued at 10 points each. In both versions, the Joker card is used and its value is 0 points.


The following are the rules to play 13 card games online:

  • Each player gets 13 cards and the 3 of spades are denoted to be the lowest-value card in the game. 
  • The first player to play all the cards is declared the winner of the 13-card game. 
  • The discarded cards can be of any suit while playing a sequence. 
  • You can play singles, pairs, sets of three or four, sequence, and double sequences. 

Rules of 21 Card Rummy Games

While playing 21 card rummy game, you need to keep the following rules in mind:

  • You need to form at least 3 pure sequences and the remaining cards can be combined to form sets or sequences, depending on the possibilities. 
  • You can also make a minimum of 3 tunnelas of different groups. The remaining cards can be arranged in a single group or left without any combination. 
  • In case you are making doubles, then you need to make at least eight combinations and the remaining cards can be left unpaired. 
  • You can also announce 8 jokers in individual groups during the declaration.

13 Cards vs 21 Card Rummy - which one to go for?

Now that we have covered the similarities, let us see where one version differs from the other.

The number of cards

The most obvious difference is the number of cards dealt to each player. In 21 cards rummy, each player is given 21 cards. Whereas, in 13 cards rummy, each player has to arrange 13 cards into sets and sequences.

Number of Decks

A 13 card rummy is usually played with 2 decks. Since each player is dealt with more cards in 21 cards rummy, this version of rummy is played with 3 decks.

Time taken

Each round of 13 cards rummy takes less time to be completed than 21 cards rummy. The reason is simple. There are more cards involved in 21 cards rummy. Each player has 8 more cards to arrange than in 13 cards rummy. So only if you have a few hours at hand should you consider playing a few 21 cards rummy matches.

Number of Pure Sequences

According to the rules of 13 card rummy, you need to produce at least 1 pure sequence with a supported impure sequence. You have the liberty to arrange the remaining cards into any combination of sets and sequences.
But in 21 cards rummy, you need to create at least 3 pure sequences to win.

More challenging

21 cards rummy is much more challenging than 13 cards rummy. First of all, you will have to play with more cards and secondly, there are more game rules in 21 card rummy than 13 card rummy. If you are a beginner, you should definitely start with the 13 card rummy. But if you have already mastered the 13 card version and want to try a variant that is more difficult and complex, then 21 cards rummy will meet your requirement.


Printed jokers and cut jokers (the top-most card of the closed deck and all the cards of the same rank from different suits) are used in both 21 cards rummy and 13 cards rummy. But in 21 cards rummy, you also have upper jokers and lower jokers. If 6 of Hearts is the cut joker and if you also have 5 of Hearts and 7 of Hearts, then these 2 cards will be your lower and upper jokers. Together they will form a marriage hand.
So there you have it - 21 cards rummy is more elaborate, time-consuming, and complicated than 13 cards rummy which has a simpler and faster format. Both are thrilling and competitive. The version you pick depends on your skill level and how much time is available to you.

More Articles

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  • What is the card game with 13 cards?
    The 13 card rummy game is a strategic game that involves forming sets or sequences to be the winner. Each participant gets 13 cards and the player must form at least a pure sequence and an impure sequence. Without a pure sequence, there is no chance of winning a 13 card rummy game.
  • How do you play 13 card rummy?
    You will be getting 13 cards and you must form at least a pure sequence and an impure sequence to make a valid declaration. Without a pure sequence, there is no chance of winning a 13 card rummy game.
  • What is a triplet in rummy?
    A triplet in rummy is a group of three of the same value that belongs to different suits. For example J♥ J♣ J♦.
  • How do you win the card game 21?
    To win a 21 card game you need to form at least 3 pure sequences and the remaining cards can be combined to form sets or sequences, depending on the possibilities.
  • Which game is better - 13 or 21-card rummy?
    Both the games are popular and involve strategies and planning. However, 13 card rummy is quite easier than 21 card rummy.


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