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Rummy History

History Of Rummy

A deeper dive into rummy history shows there is no clear cut version of where the game of rummy originated. Some say Spain, some say Mexico, or Romania, and some believe it was in China. What is known, is that it is the third most popular game played all over the world today.

Known by Multiple Names

RUMMY has had a number of names in its relatively short history ( believed to have originated sometime in the 18th century ), such as Whiskey Poker, Conquian, Coon Can, khanhoo, but when the game was exported to Britain it was called Rum ( English slang for odd or queer ). The name stuck, and when it went back to the USA it became known as RUMMY.

Cooncan is simply a mispronunciation of the Mexican name for the game of cards which has been a favorite in the Southwestern States of America, and ultimately world wide for the past fifty years or more. The correct spelling of the word is “conquián”.

Initially Played With 40 Cards

Cooncan was originally played with the Spanish pack of forty cards. From this deck the eights, nines, and tens are missing. These cards were in common use throughout the southwest for a banking game called Monte. Although in other parts of the country the regular pack had to be used. Research shows it was suggested that the kings, queens, and jacks were the proper cards to throw out, so as to leave a sequence of ten cards in each of the four suits. This is believed to have taken place in 1873.

Years Before Rules Defined

Like poker, cooncan took a long time before getting into print, and there were no published rules for the game until 1897, where it was then explained at some length in “Foster’s Hoyle,” published by F. A. Stokes Co.

Since then a number of newspaper articles and books have been written about the game. It is considered a common card game now and can be found in all the standard books on card games as one of the best games for two players.

Rummy History Shows Migration to Europe

At some point the game made its was to England, where it was called “Rum” (“rum” being English slang for “odd”; or “queer”). The name then made it back across the Atlantic, where it became “Rummy”.

Many Variants

There are over thirty variations of this game played all over the world, the most popular being Gin Rummy. Speculation is the name came from the famous Hollywood stars who enjoyed a fast game between takes. The name is partially derived from their enjoyment of a drink of gin to go with it. During the depression of the 1930’s and 1940’s, rummy was the entertainment of the populace and passed on to following generations. Today there are over 50 million players in the USA alone.

Common Theme in Rummy History

All versions of Rummy have a common theme. They all have similar structure in that they share a pattern of play where cards are taken and discarded in each round, so that players can make sets of cards (cards of the same value ), or ‘runs’ (cards of the same suite that run sequentially). Three or more cards are required to form a run or set.