History and Evolution of Rummy Game

The Rummy game history doesn’t have a confirmed storyline, it has many origin stories and some myths to go around it. There are many stories in different cultures and countries as to how the game came to be.

Most important question, did the game originate in Spain?

The most popular and widely accepted proposition about rummy is that it evolved from ‘Conquian’, a game that originated in Spain or Mexico. It is believed that the Spanish people invented it and it moved to America with Spanish migrants. It is said to have spread throughout America during the nineteenth century.

What about all the Asian stories and the Mahjong connection?

Most of the popular beliefs about the origin of rummy relate it to either Europe or North America. However, there is another notion too that links the game to Asia. There existed a card game known as ‘Mahjong’ in China almost a thousand years ago. It was played with the same pick and drop style as rummy. This fact forms the basis of the assertion that rummy has its origin in China. In the nineteenth century, the same game came to be known by other names such as ‘Khanhoo’ and ‘Kon Khin’. The Chinese loved to play it. Hence, there is a possibility that the game of Rummy may have originated in Asia and subsequently reached India.

Is Rummy a relative or a distant cousin of the popular card game ‘Poker’?

A popular theory in the history of Rummy is that a format of Poker called Whiskey Poker evolved into rummy. It is perceived that the former game was quite similar to contemporary rummy. Later on, it came to be known as Rum Poker and finally rummy.

What caused the popularity of Rummy?

The game is pretty easy to learn and play, but nonetheless very interesting. Moreover, nothing is required except a deck of cards and fellow players. The simple game throws new challenges every time it is played. Players have to apply their mental resources to play the game well. It was quite an attractive way to entertain oneself in an era that had limited amusement options. The game garnered a lot of popularity in the 1930s when it was played by renowned Hollywood stars with great zeal.

How did the name ‘Rummy’ come to be?

It is believed that the word ‘rummy’ comes from the word ‘rum’, which is British slang for odd, peculiar, strange or queer. It could have been the way the British initially saw the game. Many people think that it could have also come from ‘Rum Poker’ as the game is assumed to be the ancestor of all rummy games. It is also believed that the name has come from the alcoholic beverage rum, as in the beginning the defeated player was supposed to pay for the next round of drinks.

So in conclusion..

We cannot be very sure about the origin, evolution and history of the highly entertaining card game. What is worth noting, is that with the passage of time, people’s interest in rummy has not waned. It has, in fact, catapulted over the years and now, the game is setting new benchmarks with Online Rummy breaking all the previous records.

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