The components of the play constitute three different sections, such as
Initiating the play
Playing the cards
Winning the round and scoring
In European Kalooki a pair of decks with 52 cards and a joker is used for the play
thus handling a total of 106 cards. Whereas in North American Kalooki a pair of decks
with 52 cards and two jokers is used thus working with a total of 108 cards. Kalooki can
be played by anywhere between 2 to 5 persons.
North American Kalooki
Number Of Players
to 5 Players
2 to 6
Numbers Of Decks
2 Decks (104 cards and 2 Jokers)
2 Decks (104 cards and 4 Jokers)
To choose the dealer and to determine the seats to be assumed by the players a small procedure is
employed in the game. The cards Ace, 2,3,4,5 are taken and shuffled, now each player is made to draw
a card. The player holding the Ace card is the dealer and this player is free to assume the seat he
wishes. The remaining players holding the cards 2 through 5 assume the seats starting from the dealers
left and moving counter clockwise. An example as how the players assume the seats can be seen in the
figure below, player 'P5' is
considered as dealer.
The chosen dealer now shuffles the cards and leaves the cards to be cut by the player on his right. Once
the player cuts the deck the dealer lifts these cards and deals 13 cards to each player. In the North
American kalooki the cards dealt to the players as the players rise in the game can be known from the
North American Kalooki
Number Of Players
The main objective of the player in kalooki
is to play all the cards in the hand
on melding and later go out to win
the hand. Winning the game in this
way is reffered as "Calling Up" in
the player standing with the least score after a series of deals are played is the winner. After a
player goes out in a deal the other players sum up the scores of the cards remained in their hand and
these scores are counted as penalty points for the players. In playing a chain of deals the player who
reaches a score of 150 points is eliminated from the play. Thus the player persisting till the end of
the game and the one standing with the least score wins the money from the pool.
The players agree upon a stake for each of the constituents involving the play, before
starting the game. The different stakes that are agreed upon can be seen in
the scoring section.
Playing The Cards
The main course of play involve two important moves
The player on the dealers left starts the play on drawing a card from either the stock or
discard pile. In the first round of the play the players can draw the card from any of the
two piles, but once the first turn of the players comes to an end they are not allowed to
pick the card from the discard pile until they meet an initial meld requirement of 40 points. But in
a move to meet the initial meld count the player can pick a card from the discard pile.
In the case of North American kalooki the initial meld requirement is 51 points and here in this
version the cards laid onto the existing melds are also accounted under the initial meld count if the
player has formed at least one meld of his own. But this is not a valid operation in European kalooki.
Melding is forming the combinations out of the cards
in the round. The two valid combinations that can be formed
are Sets and Sequences.
The run with six or more cards as in the above example can be laid on the table as a single run or
as two or more runs. It is preferably laid in as a single run since this could bar a
player from expanding on these cards.
These melded cards are placed face up on the table. There is no
obligation on the part of the player to place the melds but it is
desirable to place them as these cards can count against the player
if any other player goes out.
The Ace cards carry a high rank value in the game and hence the meld
cannot be formed.
Similarly a meld
is also invalid as the
Aces invariably bear a higher rank. Thus only a meld like
The Initial Meld:
The players to draw a card from the discard pile in the later turns of the play are
bound to meet an initial meld requirement. In European kalooki the meld requirement
is 40 points whereas in North American version it is 51 points. This meld requirement
is the count got on summing up the card values of the first meld that is to be laid on
the table. For example, a meld with cards J Q K and A can account for the initial meld as the total
point value of these cards comes up as 41 that is higher than 40 points.
Joker is a wild card and can be worked out to replace any card in a meld, let it be
a Set or a Sequence. The card the joker is standing for has to be revealed when a
player is willing to form a run with the joker, as this cannot be changed later by
any player. This revelation is also demanded when a meld like the one following
is built by a player. The
player has to specify whether the formed meld is a Set or a Run.
In the game the Jokers can be reused or precisely moved among the melds. On a turn when a player
lifts a card (stock pile/discard pile) which a joker has stood in till then, the player can replace
the joker with the card and the picked joker has to be laid on to a different meld immediately. Hence
a joker can never be taken in to the hand. The player has to be mindful of the initial meld requirement
before going for replacing a Joker, as a player is allowed to switch a joker only on meeting the initial
Consider a meld on the table similar to
, now if a player holds
in the hand, he can lift the joker with the cards. But if he has just a single
and wants to pick the joker, it cannot
happen as adding
would make it a closed set
. In another case with the meld
on the table, a player
can add two cards and
to just lift a single joker.
Laying off is the process of adding the cards to the existing melds by a player
on his turn and this is called “Building” in Kalooki. Laying off is done in European
kalooki only on reaching an initial meld requirement.
If a meld of three 5’s is on the table, a player on his turn can add the fourth 5 on
to the meld and he should be careful enough to see that the set of 5’s has all
the cards of different suits.
An existing meld of a sequence can be built on either ends, but the only matter of
concern is that no side can be added with more than 2 cards. Consider a meld with the
and thus a player can add
but the cards
If the stock pile is drained out of cards the discard pile is lifted leaving its
top card and upon shuffling is placed as the new stock pile. The top card left works
as the upcard for the new discard pile. If the stock pile runs out of cards for the
second time in a deal, such a deal is ceased and no scores are counted for the players
and a new deal is started with the same dealer.