Rules for the card game Kentucky. Kentucky is very similar to gin rummy. Hopefully nothing has been omitted.

There are 10 tricks in all. Choose one of the following; either the typical or more difficult. For the first time, use the typical set.

Trick Typical tricks More difficult
1 2 sets of 3, no wild 3 sets of 3, no wild
2 1 set of 3, 1 run of 4, no wild 1 set of 3, 1 run of 4, no wild
3 2 runs of 4, 1 wild each 2 runs of 4, 1 wild each
4 3 sets of 3, no wild 4 sets of 3, no wild
5 2 sets of 3, 1 run of 5, 2 wild 2 sets of 3, 1 run of 5, 2 wild
6 1 set of 3, 1 run of 7, 1 wild 1 set of 3, 1 run of 7, 1 wild
7 3 runs of 4, 1 wild each 3 runs of 4, 1 wild each
8 1 set of 3, 1 run of 10, 3 wild 1 set of 3, 1 run of 10, 3 wild
9 2 sets of 3, 1 run of 5, 2 wild 3 sets of 3, 1 run of 5, 3 wild
10 3 runs of 5, 2 wild each 3 runs of 5, 2 wild each
number of decks 2 decks - 5 ppl / 3 decks - 6 ppl 2 decks - 4 ppl / 3 decks - 5 ppl

The deal:

After the deal, play proceeds as follows. The object is to collect the cards to complete the current trick (eg: 2 sets of 3), meld, and finally have zero cards left by adding to your meld.

This repeats until a player manages to be left with zero cards in their hands or there are no more face down cards and thus the trick is over. That player 'going out' (having zero cards left in their hand) must discard. That is, the trick can not end without a discard. All players count their cards and add it to their total (see scoring below) and the next trick begins with a new deal.

Those are the basics. This flow of play is only disrupted thusly:

Should a card be Kentucky and a player wishes to may I for it, the first to utter Kentucky or May I receives the card. But, once the next player draws, the card on top of the discard pile is dead - no longer valid for play at all.

A player can only meld or add to their meld during their turn and must draw before hand.

To meld, a player must have all the cards necessary to complete the trick. That is, if it were the second trick, the player must have a set of 3 and a run of 4 in order to meld.

After the player has drawn, the cards completing the trick are layed out on the table such that the other players can see them and grouped into the appropriate sets and/or runs. Finally, the player discards.

After a player has melded and during their turn, they may then add cards to other player's melds next to their own (ie: in front of them) and the points will be theirs.

As play continues, the player who has melded may draw other cards that can be added to their or other player's melds. This is how a player can end-up with zero cards in their hand (ie: 'go out'). It also happens to be where things can get confusing since cards added to other melds in front of the player and so on...everyone has to keep track of where things are added.

A player may not add cards to their meld out of turn, except for Kentucky cards.

To explain melding on another player's meld further, consider 3 players Alpha, Beta, and Charlie who have all melded their set of 3 and run of 4 during the second trick.

Assume that Alpha has a set of 2s and 10 through King of clubs, Beta has a set of 3s and 3 through 6 of hearts, and Charlie has a set of Aces and 8 through Jack of hearts.

Now suppose that Charlie draws a 2 of hearts. Charlie may add this in one of two places; either to Beta's run or to Alpha's set of 2s. If Charlie chooses to place it on Beta's run, he places the card in front him (Charlie) with his meld and tells the other players where it goes. Another player can not add another 2 of hearts here, but the set of 2s is still open.

Now Beta draws a 7 of hearts. Beta could add this to her own 3 through 6 run or to Charlie's 8 through Jack run. But, Beta happens to have another 6 of hearts in her hand, so she chooses to place the six and seven on Charlie's run (ie: she get points to two cards). If Charlie had a five of hearts, he might play this on Beta's six and seven on his run when it was his turn again, but neither he nor any other player could place another seven of hearts on Charlie's run.

And so on. Notice how this can get complicated.


Once a trick is done, each player sums the cards in their meld and left in their hand, if any. Those left in the hand are negative points. The card values are in the table below.

For example, suppose Alpha has (positive) 30 points from previous tricks and beta 'goes out' (has zero cards), leaving Alpha with a set of 3 Queens and run of 4 consisting of 8, 9, 10, Jack in his meld and a Joker, an Ace, 5, 8, 10, and a 2 in his hand. Alpha's score would be 30 (3 Queens) + 30 (run of 4) minus 50 + 20 + 25 (Joker + Ace + misc.) = -35 for the trick and -5 in total.

After all tricks are played, the one with the highest score wins.

card points
2 - 9 5
10, Jack, Queen, King 10
Ace 20
Wild (Joker) 50


Meld To declare a score in a card game. What this refers to is the display of your cards for the trick to the other players. For example, a player may display 2 sets of 3 of a kind for trick 1.
Trick A single deal of the cards. That is, from time the cards are dealt until they are dealt again. Also called a hand (in poker anyway). It also refers to a set of cards assembled for scoring in a round of a card game, as in 2 sets of 3 of a kind in trick 1.

Hoyle's probably has a better and/or more accurate dictionary of these generic terms. Corrections welcome.