Push is related to Contract Rummy in that there are specific requirements for the initial melds of each round, but there are some important differences: Push is a partnership game, and the draw and discard mechanism is different from the typical Rummy game.
Players: Push is for four players, two against two in fixed partnerships; as usual, partners sit facing each other.
Cards: 2 standard decks of cards are used, including the 4 Jokers, making it 108 cards total.
The Deal: There are 5 rounds in Push, each of which has a different number of cards dealt. Six cards are dealt in the first round, seven in the second round, and so on until 10 cards are dealt in the final round.
The first dealer is chosen at random and the turn to deal passes clockwise. The dealer deals the appropriate number of cards to each player, one at a time. The next card is placed face up to start the discard pile, and the remaining undealt cards are placed face down beside it to form the stock. The first face-up card is not allowed to be a wild card; if the card turned up is a two or joker, the dealer buries it in the stock and turns up a new card to start the discard pile.
Objective: During each round, the object is to get rid of as many cards as possible from your hand by playing them to the table as melds, also known as Sets and Runs. When one player gets rid of all their cards, the cards remaining in the other team's hands score penalty points. The team with the lower total of penalty points after the fifth round wins the game.
As in most rummy games, the possible melds are Sets of equal cards and Runs of consecutive cards in the same suit. Wild cards can be used as substitute for any number of cards in a set or run. The minimum size of sets and runs is three cards, but a longer run is required for the initial meld in some rounds.
- A set consists of three or more cards of equal rank - for example three sevens or four queens. Since a double pack of cards is used there are two of each card, but a set cannot contain two cards of the same suit. Therefore a set cannot contain more than four cards. However, a player can meld two separate sets of the same rank, for example 8-8-8 and 8-8-8.
- A run consists of three or more cards of the same suit in sequence, such as 3-4-5-6, or 9-10-J. Aces can be used as a high card in a sequence (as in J-Q-K-A) or as a low card (as in A-2-3-4), but not both (K-A-2-3 is not allowed). A player can meld two separate runs in the same suit, for example 4-5-6-7 and 8-9-10-J, or these eight cards could be melded as a single run: 4-5-6-7-8-9-10-J, but once melded, runs cannot be split up or joined together, only extended.
- Wild cards
Deuces and jokers are wild and can be used in any set or run to represent any desired card. If a meld consists entirely of wild cards or has just one natural card and the remainder wild, then the player must specify whether it is meant to be a set or a run. In the case of a run, the player must specify exactly what any wild card represents; in the case of a set it is only necessary to specify the rank of the set.
For example, if you put down 6-2-Joker you must say whether it is a set of sixes or a run in diamonds, and if it is a run you must specify whether it is 4-5-6, 5-6-7 or 6-7-8.
A two can also be used as a natural card (i.e. representing itself) in a run such as A-2-3-4.
The Contracts (Initial Meld Requirements)
In each round there is a specific meld that must be formed first, before any other melds can be formed or any cards can be laid off on existing melds on the table. This is known as the "basic contract" and forming these melds is called "fulfilling the contract". Each player must fulfill their own contract, even if the player's partner has already formed their own initial melds.
|Round||Cards Dealt||Basic Contract|
|1||6||2 sets of three cards|
|2||7||1 set of three, 1 run of four cards|
|3||8||2 runs of four|
|4||9||3 sets of three|
|5||10||2 runs of five|
Play commences with the player to the left of the dealer taking a turn and continues clockwise until the hand ends.
Players do the following actions when it is their turn:
Draw: There are two options for the draw step of a player's turn:
- If the player wants the top card of the discard pile they can draw it and add it to their hand.
- If the player does not want the top card of the discard pile he or she will take the top card of the stock pile, put it face down on top of the top card from the discard pile, and then pushes these two cards to the opponent on their left. (Hence the name of the game.) The opponent must add these cards to their hand, and then the original player takes the next card from the top of the discard pile and adds it to their hand. Because of pushing players can sometimes accumulate a large number of cards in their hands.
Meld and Lay off (optional): After having draw a card the player has the opportunity to meld cards by placing them face up on the table in front of the player in valid sets and runs. Before the player can make and arbitrary melds they must have fulfilled the contract for the round, and they must do it for themselves. If the player's partner has fulfilled the contract it does not count for the current player.
Once the player has formed the meld(s) for the basic contract they can, on the same or subsequent turns, form additional melds, or lay off cards on existing melds of their own or those played by their partner of opponents, extending those melds. The extended melds must remain legal combinations.
While melding the player may rescue wild cards if they have the natural card in their hand that the wild card is representing by replacing the wild card with the natural card. The player must then use the wild card immediately in the same turn, it can not be held in the hand for later turns. If a two is used as a natural card in a meld such as A-2-3-4 then it can not be rescued and reused in this way.
- Discard: The final part of each player's turn is to discard one card from hand face up onto the discard pile.
If the stock pile runs out of cards then as soon as a player wishes to draw from the stock and there are no cards available then the round is over.
End of Hand
If a player manages to go out by meldding/discarding all of their cards then the round is over. It is allowed to go out by melding and laying off all of the cards, or to meld/lay off all but one card and then discard the final card.
As soon as a player goes out, the round is scored. The team of the player who went out counts nothing for this round (the cards belonging to the partner of the player who went out do not count). The two opponents count the total value of cards remaining in both their hands. If the stock ran out before any player could go out then both teams score the penalty points in their hands. The values of the individual cards are as follows:
|Joker, 2||20 points|
Optional Rules and Variations
The following rules may be added to the standard game if all players agree to the variation before the first player takes their turn. It’s not an all or nothing deal, the game participants can pick and choose which variations they like.
- 10 cards for all rounds: Some play Push with 10 cards dealt in each round.
- Single players: Some play Push without partnerships, and it is possible to have 5 or 6 players in this way. If there are more than 4 players then add a third deck and its 2 jokers to the game.
- Three and Seven: The contract for the 5th round can be replaced with a run of three plus a run of seven.