There is not a lot of difference between standard Rummy and the version known as Contract Rummy. What the term “contract” means is that any player must meet the agreed upon terms before they can begin performing the laying off necessary to win the game.
For example, a standard game of Contract Rummy will occur in rounds, and in the first round the players might have to meld two groups of three cards into workable runs or sets before they can begin laying down any other melds during subsequent turns. Sets and runs tend to be the same as standard Rummy – meaning that a set uses three or more cards in the same rank, while runs include at least four cards in the same suit and in consecutive order.
The terms of Contract Online Rummy tend to become increasingly challenging as each round occurs. This could mean that point scores go ever higher and higher as the terms for the initial laying off make it impossible for players to easily reduce the value of the cards in their hands. Generally, a game will run a minimum of seven rounds before points are totaled and a winner selected.
Another variation in the rules of Contract Rummy is the option for requesting the top card in the discard pile when it is not a player’s turn. The rule is called the “May I? Rule” and must be implemented before the next player actually begins their turn. No player is obliged to approve of the request, especially if the round is a particularly challenging one.
Rounds might also be made a bit more difficult through the numbers of cards issued to the players, changes to the way sets and runs are put together, and limitations on how melding can occur.
Clearly, this is a variant of Rummy that demands an advanced level of knowledge and skill, but it is well worth the effort of learning how to play.