Kooky Kalooki Rules

Kooky KalookiFor 3-6 players, Ages 8 to adult, 45-60 minute playing time

Kalooki is very popular in Jamaica, and it differs from other rummy games because it is a "contract" rummy game. This means that in order to lay cards down, a player must satisfy a specific requirement, as specified below.

The Object – Be the first player to lay down all the cards in your hand in order to avoid penalty points in each of nine rounds. The player with the lowest score at the end of the game wins!

The Cards – Kooky Kalooki consists of a deck of 112 cards, including 8 "Kooky Kards." The object of the game is to lay down all of your cards. If another player puts down all of their cards and you are stuck with cards in your hand, you are penalized. The penalty values of the cards, if left in a player's hand when someone goes out, are:

  • Kooky Kards: 50 Points
  • Black Ace: 15 Points
  • Red Ace: 10 Points
  • Gold Ace: 5 Points
  • Green Ace: 0 Points
  • 2 to 13: face value

Sets & Runs – A "set" is a set of three or more cards of the same rank, such as 12-12-12 or 8-8-8-8-8. The colors of the cards don't matter, and it is legal to include duplicates. A "run" is a run of four or more consecutive cards in the same color, such as 8-9-10-11-12, all in the red suit. Aces can be high or low but can only be used at the end of a run, but not inside the run, so A-2-3-4 and 11-12-13-A are legal, but 13-A-2-3 is not. The Kooky Kard can substitute for any card in a set or run, with the following restrictions:

  • In a "run", Kooky Kards cannot be used for consecutive cards - so 5-Kooky-7- Kooky is OK but 5 - Kooky - Kooky - 8 is not allowed.
  • In a "set" there must be at least two genuine (non-Kooky) cards, so in a minimum "set" of three cards you can only include one Kooky Kard. 13- 13- Kooky and 6 - 6 - Kooky - Kooky are OK, but 13- Kooky - Kooky is not allowed.

Kooky Kards that have been laid down in a set or run can never be removed. A Kooky Kard used in a set cannot be moved at all, however a Kooky Kard used in a run Can be moved to the high edge of the run when it is replaced by the real card that it represents (see "The Add-On," below). Unlike in some other rummy games, a player may not under any circumstances replace the Kooky Kard with the card it represents and then take it into their hand as an exchange.

The Deal – The first dealer is chosen at random, but in consecutive hands, the loser of the last round shuffles the deck and deals. There are 9 rounds in the game, and the winner is the player who has the lowest total score at the end of the game. The number of cards dealt to each player is determined by the round, shown in the chart below. After the cards are dealt, the remaining cards form a draw pile, with the first card turned face up to start the discard pile.

The Contract – Each round has a different minimum contract that each player must lay down in order to win the round. Once this contract has been met (if the player is not now out of cards and the winner of the round), a player may add extra sets or runs down next to them. The amounts required for each round are as follows:

Round Cards Dealt Contract
1 9 3 sets
2 10 2 sets, 1 run
3 11 2 runs, 1 set
4 12 3 runs
5 12 4 sets
6 13 3 sets, 1 run
7 14 2 sets, 2 runs
8 15 1 set, 3 runs
9 16 4 runs

Note: When more than one run is put down by one player, they must be of different colors, and when more than one set is put down by one player, they must be of different ranks.

The Play – The youngest player present goes first in the first round, but in consecutive rounds, the winner of the previous round goes first, with the play passing clockwise. A player's turn consists of drawing a card from the top of the face-down stock or from the top of the discard pile, laying down some cards (if the contract has been met), and discarding any one card face up on the discard pile.

The Call – If a player has not yet laid down any cards, and that player wants to take a card discarded by another player when it is not their turn to play next, that player can call the card. The player whose turn it is to play can do either of the following:

  1. Allow the call – The player whose turn it is allows the caller to take the face-up card. The calling player takes the discard and must also draw one extra card from the stock, but cannot lay down any cards or discard at this time. That player will now have two extra cards in their hand, making it more difficult to lay down all their cards. The player whose turn was interrupted then must draw from the stock and continue their turn normally. The player may not draw from the discard pile, since the card seen would be a card discarded in the previous round.
  2. Refuse the call – If the player whose turn it is has not yet laid down, they have the right to take the discard for themselves, rather than giving it to the caller and drawing from the stock. In this case, the call is not counted against the caller. If a player refuses a call, that player must take the card called for. If several people try to call the same card, the person who calls first gets the card, if the person whose turn it is allows the call. There can only be one call per turn, and the card underneath the called card cannot be called. Each player is allowed a maximum of three calls per round. Since each call adds two cards to a player's hand, you can easily check how many calls you have made by counting the cards in your hand. A player who has laid down cards can no longer call for a card because they are not allowed to draw from the discard pile at all.

Note: A player might carelessly call more than three times in one game. This can be verified by counting how many cards the player has - for example in game 1 nobody should ever have more than 15 cards. If this happens, the player in question is penalized 100 points for the round. Additionally, a player who lays down cards but is found not to have the required sets and runs for the current round must pick their cards back up into their hand and is penalized 50 points for the round.

The Lay-Down – The first cards a player lays down must satisfy the contract for the round. Players place these cards face up in front of them, where they stay for the rest of the round, and then discard as usual. For example, in round 6, players must lay down 3 sets, plus 1 run. If a player is not able to do so, they cannot lay down any cards yet. A player who has laid down is no longer allowed to take cards from the discard pile or call for a card. Additionally, if another player calls during the turn of a player who has laid down cards, that player must allow the call, because they cannot take the card themselves.

The Add-On – After laying down the required sets and/or runs, players are allowed to lay down additional sets or runs (to their own or other players cards) in the same or a later turn if they have collected the appropriate cards, provided that they adhere to the rule that a player cannot put down two runs in the same suit. This is called adding on. Kooky Kards can always be added onto a set. They can be added onto a run provided that the rule prohibiting two adjacent Kooky Kards in a run is adhered to. Also, if a Kooky Kard has been used in a run, the holder of the real card that the Kooky Kard represents can add on by placing the real card in the run in place of the Kooky Kard, and moving the Kooky Kard to the high end of the run, provided that this has not already reached the ace, in which case it is moved to the low end. However, this cannot be done if there is already a Kooky Kard at the end where the displaced Kooky Kard would have to be put, since it is not permissible to have two Kooky Kards next to each other in a run. In this case, the Kooky Kard cannot be moved. No player may add cards onto a set or run until they have laid down their contract. Once a player is out of cards, another player who has also laid down may add on any cards they can before the points are tabulated.

The Score – As soon as a player lays down all their cards, the play ends. The other players count the total value of the cards they have in their hands (see the chart) and add the result to their cumulative total of penalty points. Even if a player has sets or runs in their hand, if they had not previously laid down the contract during their turn, they are stuck with those points.

At the end of the nine rounds, the player who has the lowest total score is the winner.

Kooky Kalooki Set
Kooky Kalooki Set


  • These rules were OCR'd from a vintage game, and are provided as an educational resource for players, researchers, and students of the game. Any grammatical or typographical errors are an artifact of this process, and should not be attributed to the original document. © 2002 Playroom Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
  • As of this writing, Kooky Kalooki appears to be out of print, though a few copies are still available through Amazon.
  • See Also: Contract Rummy Rules at Rummy-Games.com.
  • Play Kalooki online, against players from all over the world, at Rummy Royal.
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Last Update: December 17th, 2013