Paplu Rummy – India’s Most Popular Card Game

Paplu is popular all over India and Maharashtra in particular. It is a hobby enjoyed by people of all backgrounds, enjoyed at home with raksi and masu, or played socially in clubs, or even on trains and buses. The game is an obsession for many Indians. Whilst sometimes played for big money, most of the time it is a social game played for small stakes. In this guide I’ll teach you exactly how the game is played.

Paplu Rummy Player

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To start, let me state: the rules of Paplu vary greatly depending on where it is played. At home in Mumbai we often play it with 21 cards, and sometimes 27 or 28. In other parts of India the game is played with 13 or 10 cards. In this guide I’ll cover the most popular way Paplu is played online, and then note a few rule variations. Also note that online Paplu is often referred as Indian Rummy or 13-card rummy as that’s how it appeals to a more international audience.

How to Play Paplu

The game consists of standard 52 card decks each with one joker. In most games 3 decks will be used and the game will be played with 6 people per table. Each player is then dealt 13 cards, and then one final card is dealt face up for all players to see. Cards that match the same rank of this card are now wild. So for example if the card is a seven, all sevens and all printed jokers are now wild.

Rule Variation: In 21 card Paplu not only is the rank of the card turned up wild, but in this version also are the cards one rank higher and one rank lower that are of the same suit. This is a rule used in most Goan casinos and many clubs, but is not a common rule online.

Paplu Objective

Each player is trying to convert their 13 cards into runs and sets. How it works is as follows:

A run (also called a sequence) is three or more consecutive cards of the same suit. Note that Ace can be used as either high or low.

A set (also called trail, or tio) is three cards of the same rank in different suits.

Rule Variation: In games using three or more decks three cards of the same suit and rank are generally allowed to form a combination. This hand is called tanala and is treated as a run.

Playing the Game

The player to the right of the dealer begins play by picking up either the top card from the face-down stack or the top card of the face-up pile, and then discards one card to the pile. Play continues around the table in an anticlockwise direction, with each player taking turns performing the same action.

Play continues until one of the players manages to get all 13 of his cards formed as stacks and runs and declares Paplu (or in English – Rummy). However one special rule he must have at least two runs in hands to do this, one of which must be a straight run (meaning no wild card used).

Void Games If no cards remain in the stack and no player has declared Rummy the game is void, there will be no winner.

Packing to Save Money

A player with a poor hand may choose to pack, basically fold his hand, before his first turn. When doing so his cards will be added to the bottom of the stack, and he’s then forced to pay 10 points to the eventual winner. If a player chooses to pack at some time other than the start of the game he will be required to pay 40 points to the eventual winner, and his cards are kept to the side as opposed to added to the stack. If all players but one packs, the remaining player is the winner and collects from 10 or 40 points from the other players depending on when they each packed.

Paplu Scoring

After a player declares Paplu (Rummy) each player must score their hand to see how many points they owe that player. Face cards and aces are worth 10 points, number cards are worth their number value, and jokers have no point value. However, players generally are able to exclude many of their cards from counting as points, based on the following rules.

1) All cards part of a straight run (meaning no wilds) are excluded when counting points.
2) If a player has a straight run, then all his other runs also don’t count towards calculating the points either.

When the game is complete each player pays their calculated points to the winner. The winner also collects 10 or 40 points from all packed players, which is determined by when they packed.

Playing Paplu Online

Online the game is referred to mostly as Indian Rummy or 13 Card Rummy. Perhaps the most popular site to play Paplu online is