How did Indian Rummy become as popular as it is today?

Development is a process and it takes years sometimes even decades. Every game that we are playing now had a history of being played differently and has evolved to its present form. This evolution is often caused by the influence of an external force and also in tune with socio-cultural changes. Just like all card games, Indian rummy too has interesting theories of its origins.

History of Indian Rummy

There are many theories associated with the origin of Indian rummy with a different source indicating different locations all around the world and it is very difficult to ascertain the exact location. Based on the popular theories floating around on the internet, we can narrow down a few connections which might be close

  1. Spanish Connection

Rummy game is very similar to Spanish Card game Conquian. According to historians, it was played during the time Spanish invaders conquered Americas and set up their colonies there. There is also a theory that the game has its origin in America and it further spread to Mexico.4

  1. Poker Connection

According to some historians, French settlers adopted the game from Poker because of its ideal gameplay. This form of poker was earlier known as rum poker and the new game was named Rummy.

  1. Asian Connection

There is another theory that links the game to China. There existed a card game known as “MahJong”, which followed a similar pick-and-drop game pattern like rummy. Chinese were absolutely intrigued by the game. According to this theory, the game must have reached India through Chinese settlers who came here for spiritual reasons. There exists another theory linking rummy with the Japanese game “Hanafuda”. However, concrete evidence linking both the game isn’t available at present.

Legal Clearances

Though Indian Rummy was incredibly popular as a past time in homes and during festival gatherings, problems began when it was played in clubs. Critics of rummy were contending that rummy is a game of luck and it constitutes as gambling which is unlawful, so they took the matter to the court. After a thorough examination from both the ends, Supreme Court of India, in the year 1968 delivered a landmark judgment declaring Rummy as a game of skill and ruled that playing rummy with stakes does not constitute as gambling.

In another judgment in 1996, Court mentioned (i) competitions where success depends on a substantial degree of skill are not “gambling” (ii) despite there being an element of chance, if a game is preponderantly a game of skill it may be called a game of “mere skill”. Rummy is a game that relies more on skill than chance. However, in states like Telangana, Kerala, Assam, and Odisha, the gambling laws do not provide a clear exemption for games of skills, so we do not offer rummy online services there

Popularity of Rummy

Though the game was already popular in India, its popularity skyrocketed after the game went online. Online version solved all the problems physical version had – getting people, setting up accouterments, and visiting clubs. Now at a click, you can be part of a community that houses millions of players and can play the game anytime you like. With the availability of many Rummy mobile apps, games that can only be played only in casinos are now available at the touch of your finger.

The future

Like Poker, there is a huge market for Rummy going ahead. Looking at the exciting gameplay and lucrative rewards, the game is slowly making its inroads in the international gaming arena. Just like the poker circuit, the days for international rummy tournaments like WSOP, World Poker Tour, Asia Pacific Poker tour are not very far off. As far as Indian market goes, there are already hundreds of rummy sites available that are offering plenty of options to the Indian gamers and the existing leaders will be looking to consolidate their position and increase their user base with exciting rummy promotions and offers. It’s a low hanging fruit for the players at the moment and they are already pouring in droves to enjoy the game!



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