I grew up playing Rummoli. My great-aunt introduced our family to it when she made us a game board to play on, basically liquid embroidery on big a piece of cloth. The cloth has something like 9 (?) different pots that can be won during the game.
She made us "chips" by cutting out round disks from bleach bottles. We switched over to using pennies instead, because they are smaller.
The game works well with 3 to 5 people, but more than that, the play doesn't get interrupted much like its supposed to by the dummy hand.
Regular playing cards are used, without the jokers. All cards are passed out to the players, including a dummy hand. Each player starts out the game with the same number of betting chips, and each hand starts with the players setting out chips in each of 9 (?), pots on the board.
The game play is in two parts, first a poker hand to see who gets to play first, and get the chips in the "poker pot". Then they play their smallest card, and everyone continues to play cards in that suit in increasing order. When the play is interrupted because the next card is in the dummy hand, the player who played last then plays their smallest card of the other color, and play continues. The first player to run out of cards wins the Rummolie pot, and play stops. Then the players figure out which cards, or combination of cards they played that won the various other pots on the board, such as the Queen of Clubs, Jack of Diamonds, 7, 8, and 9 of the same suit, etc.
Successive hands are played, with players gaining or loosing chips. We generally play until we get tired of it. Sometimes a player will run out chips, and will be out of the game. At that point, we like to keep the game going for them, and the other players loan that player some chips. We keep it friendly.
I suppose you could play for real money, but we don't gamble with money in our family. This is the only betting-type game we ever play, and it's more like a "winning" game, since everyone "bets" the same amount every game, and win various amounts as the game continues. Pots build up over several hands, since some of the pots are difficult to win.
As for how long it lasts, well, the hands can take only a few minutes, but the fun is in the long term to see who gets the most chips. When we play it, we know it will be for a few hours.
I guess there isn't much skill involved, which is why it makes a great game for the whole family.
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Rummoli can be played by two to eight players on the "Rummoli" playing surface with a standard deck of playing cards (minus the Joker) and counters or chips.
To Start the Game - The players cut the cards to determine the dealer of the original hand - Ace is high. The playing chips or counters are divided evenly among the players. Each player places a counter on each of the nine sections of the playing cover and the dealer deals out the cards, one at a time, dealing an extra hand which is known as the "Widow". Some players may have more cards than others, but this is of no consequence.
After looking at the cards in his own hand, the dealer may, if he so desires, exchange his hand for the "Widow", but must not look at the cards in the "Widow" before the exchange is made. If the dealer decides to play his original hand, he may auction the "Widow" to the highest bidder among the other players, and he, of course, keeps the proceeds. Any player making an exchange of his hand for the "Widow" must accept the "Widow" even though it should turn out to be a poorer hand than his original hand. The hand which is exchanged for the "Widow" is dead, and not used at all in the play. It should be placed face down so that the cards are not known to any other player.
Method of Play - There are two parts to the game which are described in detail as follows:
Poker Play - Each player selects from his hand the five cards which he thinks will make the most powerful poker hand and lays aside, for the time being, the remainder of his cards face down.
This part of the game may be played in two different ways and the players should agree beforehand which method is to be used.
Method No. 1. The players may arrange to have a "showdown" of the poker hands, each player placing his hand on the table face up, and the player having the hand with the greatest poker value takes all the chips in the "Poker Pot"
Method No. 2. The players may bet and raise the bet as in a regular poker game and all bets should be placed in the "Poker Pot". The player who forces all other players out of the game or who has the best poker hand when hands are shown takes all the counters in the "Poker Pot". A player who has been forced out of the betting cannot participate in the Pot even though he discovers later that he had the best hand.
Rummy Play - The players now pick up the cards they laid aside for the Poker Play and arrange their entire original hand in suits. The winner of the Poker hand now places on the table face up the lowest card in his hand calling it aloud. The play passes to the left and the player having the next consecutive card or cards in the same suit plays it or them face up before him. The play continues in this manner until the ace of the suit has been played or until the continuity of play is broken by a card being in the dead hand. When a suit is closed by the playing of the ace or blocked by a card being in the dead hand, the player who played the last card now plays the lowest card in his hand in a suit of a different colour to the suit last played and play continues in this manner until all suits have been run out. If a deadlock occurs, that is if no player is able to change the colour of the suit, the hand is finished and each player must place in the "Rummoli" section a chip for each card he has left in his hand.
Pay Cards - On the Rummoli playing cover there are seven spaces marked with certain cards or combination of cards. As a player lays down one of these cards or sequences he collects the chips on the space marked the same as the card or cards he has played.
The first player to get rid of all his cards collects the chips on the space marked "Rummoli" and this marks the end of one hand. All other players pay the winner a chip for each card left in his hand.
The deal passes to the left and at the start of each new hand each player rises another chip on each of the nine spaces on the cover.
At the end of a hand it is quite likely that chips remain on some of the spaces owing to the fact that the cards are in the dead hand, or that no one player held the proper sequences in his hand, or that one player has got rid of all his cards thus ending the hand before another player had a chance to play his pay cards. Such chips are allowed to collect from hand to hand until a player can play the right card or cards to claim them.
To End the Game - At the conclusion of the game the players must decide among themselves how to dispose of chips remaining in any of the spaces. This may be arranged by simply cutting the pack and high man taking all the chips, or dealing to each player a poker hand (five cards) and the best poker hand wins all the chips remaining on the board.
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Rummoli is fairly uncommon, plus the game can last indefinitely. I don't think there would be very many people who know the game, plus want to spend hours online playing it. Myself, I may play it and like it, but I wouldn't want to play it online. There would be little incentive for programmers to provide it online.
My family used to play a game called Tripoli when we got together. It looks to be the same game. Here is a link to a Tripoli page. Rummoli is mentioned on the page. http://www.pagat.com/stops/3in1.html
We used to play the game for hours. As a kid I never went to Grandma’s house without my penny jar.