500 Rum may be played by anywhere from 2 to 8 people, but it is best played with 3 to 5 players.
An ace counts as 15 points whenever it is played. Face cards count as 10 points each. Other cards count their pip value. Some people play where A-9 are 5 points, unless the ace is used high, when it is 15.
The players draw for deal, low dealing first. Ace is the lowest card in the draw. The dealer shuffles, and the player to the right cuts. The dealer completes the cut and deals 10 cards to each player and an 11th to the player to the left who discards. The player to the left of the dealer becomes the dealer in the next game.
The remaining portion of the cards, placed face down, forms the stock; the top card is turned face up and is placed beside the stock as the upcard to start the discard pile. The discard pile should be slightly spread, so that players can readily see all the cards in it. Each player in turn, beginning with the player to the left of the dealer, may draw either the top card of the stock or any card from the discard pile. There are three conditions when drawing a card from the discard pile: 1) the player must take all the cards on top of the selected card and 2) the card so drawn must immediately be used, either by laying it down in a set or by laying it off on a set already on the table. 3) once a card is picked up,either of the stock or the pile, it is final and no other cards may be picked up. The remaining cards taken with the discard may be melded in the same turn or simply added to the player's hand. If you draw only one card from the discard pile, you do not have to use it immediately.
Each player in turn, after drawing but before discarding, may lay down any matched set or may lay off any card that matches a set already on the table. Cards that are laid off are kept on the table in front of the player. The player ends his turn by discarding a single card from his hand.
Sequences may not "go 'round the corner"; thus,Q,K,A or A, 2, 3 may be melded, but not K, A, 2.
Example: If the cards he has shown total 87 points, and the cards left in his hand total 90 points, 3 points are subtracted from his previous net score.
The first player whose score reaches +500 wins the game. If two or more players reach 500 on the same hand, the one with the highest score is the winner.
Also, if the stock is finished then players may continue to draw from the pile only so long as they are able and willing to do so. Otherwise, the hand is finished with all cards in each player's hand counting against him. This is also normally standard. However some play the alternative that the cards should be reshuffled, and play should continue.
If nobody has gone out when play ends (see Boathouse rule):
This again, is meant to speed up the game.
Four players are organized into two teams of two players each, with partners facing each other across the table. The rules are exactly as in 500 Rum, except the partners may play off on each other's matched sets and sequences in an effort to go out as quickly as possible. When any player goes out, the play ends and the score of each partnership is figured as a unit. The game is over when either side reaches +500.
The pack is 56 cards: the standard 52 cards plus four jokers.
Each joker counts as 20 points, and jokers may not be used in sequences or as wild cards, but only in groups of three or four jokers. Any meld of four, laid down all at once, counts double its face value. Thus, four jokers laid down together count 160; three jokers laid down count 60, and the fourth joker when added counts only 20 more. Four 6s put down together count 48, but three 6s count only 18, and the fourth 6 adds only 6 points. If a player gets rid of all his cards, his side scores a bonus of 25.
A game ends after two deals. The side with the best score receives a bonus of 50 points and wins the difference between its final score and the opponents' score.
A rum can also solely exist in the discard pile; for example if a 4S and 5S are in the discard pile then a player discards a 6S then other players may call-out “Rum” then pick up and lay-off the 4S, 5S and 6S without taking any other cards from the discard pile. They may not combine it with cards in their hand to create a new match set or sequence.