As much you have already understood from the name of this rummy variant, it is assumed to be invented in Penang during the late 1980s and then gotten its popularity in Malaysia. The word Si means dead in the Hokkein language of Penang, and it also reflects the nature of the game. You will discover that the hand is dead in this game, and a player is not allowed to draw any new cards or exchange one throughout the game. This particular feature is what sets Penang rummy apart from other rummy variants. If you stumble upon Rummy Tournaments Online, where Penang is being played, remembering these details will be necessary.
Getting Familiar with the Core Concept of the Game
The core concept of this game is like any other rummy variant, and you form melds here. You will be eliminating the "Deadwood" cards which won't help you in forming any melds. These are undesirable cards. At the end of the game, they will also contribute towards the points a player will accumulate. Therefore, as a player, your objective will be to gather fewer points than your opponent. That means getting rid of these cards as much as possible.
The Decks of Cards Involved and the Jokers
Penang is played with two standard 52-card packs and 6 jokers, which are used as wildcards. So, a total of 110 cards are used, which may change, as sometimes, instead of 6 jokers, 8 jokers are used. Ideally, there are 4 players, but sometimes there can be 3 players as well. In such a situation, every player will be receiving more cards. A two-handed game is rare, but if there are 5 or more players in a game, additional card packs are used.
Details of the Dealing and How You will be Handling it?
In a game of Penang, the first dealer gets determined randomly, but with every new game, the dealer keeps on changing. To select the dealer, two different systems are used. If the game is so where points are not being recorded, the player who had the highest points in the last game will be dealing. This action is considered a minor forfeit on the player's part because they are doing a service by taking up the task of dealing the cards. If points are being recorded in the game, the player who won the last game will be dealing. This is considered the benefit they have gained from the previous game by winning, especially if money was at stake. By taking this responsibility, they are providing a service, and that is their gesture of appreciation for the win. The dealer will start dealing from their immediate left and will continue in a clockwise manner till every player receives 20 cards each. When it is a 3 player game, every player will receive 25 cards each, and the rest of the deck will be put aside and won't play any further role in the game.
How will the Game Proceed, and will You Take Part in it?
The game will begin with the player immediately to the left of the dealer and will continue in a clockwise manner. Each of the turns will require every player to either meld the cards or laying them off, and if needed, a player can decide to do them both but cannot skip their turn. The number of actions to be taken by a player per turn has no upper limit. For instance, a player is allowed to make 2 melds, lay off 1 card to an existing run, or lay off 2 cards to a current set or both, and all of these can happen in a single turn. During every free rummy game, a player has to do a meld before they are allowed to do any lay-offs, and the very first meld of the game is called a passport. As there is no action like drawing a card or discarding the unwanted ones, there is no introduction of new cards.
Melds and Sets in the Game You Should Know About
While playing, if you have 3 or more cards that meet the criteria of a run or set, they may create melds by laying the relevant cards in a face-up manner on the table. The melds follow the rules of typical rummy, which means the runs will be of 3 or more cards in a sequence and of the same suit. The sets can have 3 or more cards that share the same rank but belong to different suits. As there is more than one deck of cards involved, duplication of suits is allowed in the same set. Theoretically, a set can comprise a maximum of 14 cards, including 8 standard cards and 6 wild cards. As a player, you may decide to lay off a few cards and that too in an existing meld. There is no upper limit to the number of additional cards a player can add to a run or set during a turn.