How to play Florida Rummy (Ten Step)
Ten Step or Florida Rummy is a multi-player and a multi-round card game where contracts are involved wherein a set of prerequisites are needed in order to lay down melds. It is a variant of Rummy that adds features like buying and going out, and is probably most similar to Liverpool Rummy.
Deck: 54-card decks (52 cards, plus 2 Jokers), one deck for 2 players, two decks for 4 players, 4 decks for 8 players. For odd number of players, the best solution is to round up (7 players – 4 decks). Aces are considered high cards. Deuces or twos and Jokers are wild.
The Deal and the Cut
The deal is determined from drawing a card from the deck for every round before the beginning of the play, the player that gets the lowest card deals. Eleven cards are dealt to each player in Florida rummy. One card or the upcard is placed down in the center as the discard pile and the remainder of the card or faced-down becomes the stock pile.
The cut in Ten Step is an important part of the game (this is done before the dealer hands out cards to players). The player to the right of the dealer always execute the “cut” in the hope of leaving the exact of cards to deal to every player, plus one as the up-card. Say, the cutter should aim for 11 x number of players + one up-card. If the cutter gets the exact number of cards, 100 points is deducted to his score as reward.
The player to the immediate left of the dealer plays first in Florida rummy. A turn is composed of the following:
- A player may be allowed to buy the top card from the discard pile.
- He can draw from top card of the discard (provided that a player has not recently bought from the pile) or one from the stock.
- Players may lay down a collection of sets or runs according to meld requirements.
- Any player can add to melds of other players, IF he has melded himself.
- Every person must do a discard, and if the discard can form a meld to his or other any player’s melds, then, “rummy” can be called. However, if the next player started the play by either drawing or allowed buying, he cannot call rummy.
A turn in Florida rummy is composed a draw and a discard. Laying-off of sets and runs should be done in between. Play continues in alternate order clockwise until one player goes out. A score-keeper is appointed so that points are tallied.
In any event where the deck is exhausted before any player goes out, the up-pile is re-shuffled which becomes the new deck and if it happens again, then there should be a re-play and additional set is included in the deck.
A set (4♣, 4♠, 4♥) or a run of 4 or more cards (i.e. 4♣, 5♣, 6♣, 7♣) maybe placed down. Aces are considered high cards in this variant; deuces are wild. K-A-2-3 or K-A-3-4 is illegal.
A player in Florida rummy cannot lay down, unless he has completed the number of sets or runs and must done so during his turn by placing all required sets and runs face-up on the playing surface.
Requirements for each round:
1. 2 Sets of 3
2. 1 Set of 3 and 1 Run of 4
3. 2 Runs of 4
4. 3 Sets of 3
5. 1 Set of 3 and 1 Run of 7
6. 2 Sets of 3 and 1 Run of 5
7. 3 Runs of 4
8. 1 Set of 3 and 1 Run of 10
9. 3 Sets of 3 and 1 Run of 5
10. 3 Runs of 5
In Florida rummy, conditions for each round must be met precisely as stated (meaning, it is an upper and lower bound, steps is not interchangeable). Although number of cards for sets and runs may exceed for what is required, for example, on the 1st round, 1 must have 2 sets of at least 3 cards to lay down; additional sets cannot be laid down.
In order not to get confused players may write the meld requirements down. Also, note that the required number of sets increases as each step progress. Steps 7-10 requires more than 11 cards, so these steps require players to buy during the hand in order to lay down.
As soon as a player has laid down, she can now try to reduce his cards by “playing off other players’ laid cards or add cards to other players hand. In runs of clubs 4♠-5♠-6♠-7♠, a player can add 3♠ or 8♠ granting that he has laid down for the current step. During subsequent turns, any player may add to his own meld.
A discard of a player after laying down should not match or fit to any player’s melds. Otherwise, his turn to call rummy must be on the next turn of the offending player, in which case every player has the option to give that player one card from their hand. This action is not required especially if all cards are needed. This rule can be taken out depending on the house rules.
Going Out and Floating
If a player has successful discarded his entire card, it marks the end of the game. Floating is when a player exhausts her cards and is not able to do a discard. If this happens, the hand continues until someone successfully goes out. It is also not acceptable to draw a card from the up-card and discard the same card during the same turn. So it goes without saying that a floater must draw a card from the stock pile in order to go out. It is customary to knock on the table if a player has only one card left. This act alerts other players that you’re close to winning the round.
Points of each players are tallied by counting remaining cards.
- Deuces & Jokers – 20
- Aces – 15
- Face Cards – 10
- Other cards are counted at face value (In some popular games, 3-9 are 5 points each).
The player with the lowest scare at the end of Step 10 wins. Thus, the name “Ten Step.”
This is one between players’ turns, during the start of each hand or before the first player draws.
- Players may ask others to buy the top card by saying “I’ll buy it.” Whoever has the next turn has the first option on the card, being able to draw (but not buy) it. Otherwise, any other player may buy it. The victorious buyer buys the card by taking the desired card plus the top card from the deck and should not discard. Play resumes as is.
- Steps 1 through 9 – each player can buy only three times per step.
- Step 10 – each player can buy four cards. If rummy has not been called, players can determine the number of buys they have used by subtracting eleven from the number of cards in hand and dividing by two. For example, if a player has fifteen cards in hand, he has bought (15 -11) / 2 = 2 times.
- If two people want to buy a card, the card goes to the person whose turn is closest (to the left) to the present player.
- The up pile is unavailable immediately after a card has been bought from it.
- As a strategy, players often buy cards they don’t need in order to have cards to discard or to confuse opponents about what they are saving.
- Deuces and Jokers are wild and can represent any card and unlike Liverpool Rummy, Ten Step has no limitations on the use of wildcards. If a player has a Joker, he may replace an exact card in a run to either top or bottom of the same run. Replacing a Joker to a 5♥ in a run of 4♥-Joker-6♥-7♥ is ok.
- It is acceptable to move the joker “above” an Ace or “below” a three, regardless of the length of the run, making use of Jokers to its fullest capacity.
- It is never acceptable to move a card (joker or otherwise) from one laid set or run to another set or run.