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Are There Rummikub Tournaments?

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Do you love playing Rummikub but always finish the game wanting  more? Maybe you are so good that playing with your friends and family is simply boring as you always win. Well in this article we will tell you everything you need to know about Rummikub and if they have tournaments or not. 

So are there Rummikub tournaments?

Rummikub is a professional game that has tournaments to see who is the best in the world every three years. Although most people think of Rummikub as just a simple kids game it is far more than that.

If you want to know more about playing Rummikub and the Rummikub tournaments, you will want to keep reading. You can also watch this short video to learn all of the history of  Rummikub and what they are doing today. 

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When was the first Rummikub tournament?

When the creator of the Rummikub game, Ephraim sadly passed away at the age of 75, it motivated his children to set in motion the first Rummikub Championship tournament. The tournament was for the first time hosted in Jerusalem. It was called the Olympics of Rummikub. All Ephraim’s children played the famous version of the Sabra during this tournament.

This created the 1st ever Rummikub tournament to be recorded and gave birth to consecutive championships worldwide. There are three different versions of the game which are known worldwide. They are American, Sabra, and International. Present Rummikub sets, which are the modern ones, include only the Sabra version rules.

In the version called Sabra, which is the one that is famously played, the first player who uses all their tiles scores a positive score based on the total of all the other players’ hands.

Rummikub tournaments

The Rummikub championship tournament takes place once every three years. The championship typically takes a total of four days from start to completion. It premiered in 1991 in Jerusalem, with a total of 12 countries taking part. 

Holding the tournament in Israel made a great deal of sense, considering that the game was originally an invention of Israel. However, the Netherlands has won the tournament four times since 1991, Japan three times.

The countries of Brazil and Egypt have each won once. Dutch, Japanese, Egyptian, and Brazilian winners have all been crowned winners. The winners are awarded the most coveted Rummikub World Cup and a pair of airline tickets for round-the-globe travel.

Are there still Rummikub tournaments today? 

The most recent tournaments are the ninth, which took place in Germany in 2015 and the tenth tournament that took place in 2018. In 2015, a total of 31 nations participated in the competition. They included, among others, South Africa, Bulgaria, New Zealand, and Hong Kong.

In this tournament, Japan won first place. South Korea ended up taking second place, Slovakia third and Holland came in the fourth position. Coming in fifth representing the United States Alexander Siedband from Chicago.

The 2018 competition hosted contestants from Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Poland, Romania, Switzerland, Taiwan, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Rummikub Tournament Rules

Rummikub tournaments typically follow the standard Rummikub rules with some additional tournament rules that include the following

  1. At the beginning of the game, each player is to take a total of 14 tiles from the pool where they are 2 face-down stacks of the seven tiles.
  2. The Players have a duration limit of 1 minute per turn. If a player has not succeeded in making a successful play, then all tiles remaining on the table have to be returned to the player’s rack.
  3. A set on the table, which includes a joker, may not be manipulated while it contains the Joker. It can be added to and you can remove the joker by placing a tile of the same number or number and color. However, you cannot manipulate the set or run until the joker is replaced. (Note these are only tournament rules. The normal game rules allow manipulation to remove the joker from a meld).
  4. The tournament takes three rounds of four games each. The player that emerges the winner of the most matches is the winner of the round. On the occasion that there is more than one player with the same number of victories, the player with the highest points will be considered the winner.
  5. Age Limit of the game. There is no minimum age requirement for one to participate in the tournament. However, a participant under the age of 18 is required to be accompanied by a parent or guardian to retrieve the prize on the occasion where they win the National Championship.

Rummikub Tournament Gameplay

The tournament contains four-player matches. It has five qualifying rounds, with the finishing round of three increasingly scored games. The objective of the game is to be the number one player to place all the tiles from the rack to the table.

The players make their sets and put them on the table, customarily known as a ‘meld.’

The first set must accumulate up to at least 30 points when the values of the tiles are added. This is known as the “initial meld.” If one is not able to make an initial meld or one of the players’ delays in doing this, then they must get an additional tile from the pool. This typically finishes the turn of the player. 

Each player is required to put down an initial meld without manipulation, which is to add or remove tiles away from a present set before putting down the first meld.

Players have a time constraint of 30, 60, 90, 120 seconds, as stated by the tournament director per turn. If one of the players has not completed their move before their time ends, then they have to put back all tiles to their previous spot and get three tiles from the pool as a penalty.

The Joker in the Rummikub tournament

During the tournament, all of the guidelines and rules apply to both of the jokers with no regard to color (If it is either red or black). Either Joker can be utilized to finish any group or run. Two jokers can be utilized in one set.

A joker can be used for the initial meld according to tournament rules (as it can with the normal game rules). A joker can only be removed from a set on the table by any player who can replace it with another tile of the identical number and color as it was used.

The tile that replaces the joker can be picked from the table or even from the player’s rack. In the event of a group of three, then the Joker can represent either of the unavailable colors since there are four colors in the game. 

Once a player replaces a joker, then it is mandatory to use it in the same turn as part of a set or run. Sets that contain jokers cannot be split and manipulated like the usual sets in tournament rules. Even though there is a specific tile that is already on the meld area twice, a player can use a joker to play for that particular tile a third time.

If a joker is still on a player’s rack at the finishing point of the tournament game, then its penalty score is 30 points.

Rummikub Tournament Points and Scoring

During the tournament, once a player has finished their rack and a winner has been proclaimed, the scores of the other players will be added together.. The score is calculated as a negative number as the purpose of the game is to have minimum tiles, which accumulates up to a smaller score.

The winner gets the added total of all of the players’ points as a negative number. At the end of the rounds, the player with the least number of points is declared the winner. 


Now that you know there is a Rummikub tournament and that the Rummikub tournament is once every three years, you can start preparing to make your place in Rummikub world history by winning the tournament.