Tripoley, Michigan Rummy, or Rummoli is like most games we play here in Michigan, you either know how to play it or hate trying to explain it to someone who has never played it before. Michigan Rummy is like taking Rummy and Poker and putting them in a blender.

Jack Hamilton via Unsplash
Jack Hamilton via Unsplash
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In order to play Tripoley, Rummoli, or, as I will refer to it henceforth, Michigan Rummy, all you need is a deck of 52 playing cards, several poker chips of 3 varying colors (some families use coins like pennies, nickels, and dimes), and a Michigan Rummy bidding mat or tray. A quick search on Etsy will reveal that you can spend a lot or a little on customized boards.

RAHWCuts via Etsy
RAHWCuts via Etsy
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The game starts when the dealer evenly distributes the poker chips. In the prepackaged Michigan Rummy games, the yellow chips are worth 1 point, blue are worth 2, and red are worth 3. There should be more 1-point chips than 2 or 3-point chips and more 2-point chips than 3.

Once the chips are out, it's time for each player to put one chip on each spot on the mat or Michigan Rummy tray. They include The 10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of Hearts, a spot for both the Queen and King of Hearts, the Kitty or Pot, and the 7-8-9 or 8-9-10 slot (depending on your region) for matching runs of a suit.

Alex Toys Store via Amazon
Alex Toys Store via Amazon
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The dealer will now deal all of the cards from the deck, a hand for each player plus one extra hand (for example if you have 4 players you deal 5 hands).

In some versions of Michigan Rummy, the extra hand can be picked up by the dealer if they have no scoring cards in the hand they were dealt. If the dealer has just one card that will score, the extra hand can then be put up for bids and the other players can outbid one another with chips to take it. Otherwise, the extra hand serves to take an entire hand of cards out of play, leaving the players wondering if their strategy will work.

TCG Toys via Amazon
TCG Toys via Amazon
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Game play then begins with the player to the left of the dealer, who plays the lowest card of a suit in their hand. The next player has to play the next card of the same suit in sequence, meaning if the 3 of spades were played first, the next card will need to be the 4 of spades. Turns will continue until the next card in the sequence is missing (in the extra hand) or an ace is played. The person who played the last card can then play the lowest card in their hand of the opposite color that was just played. Confused yet?

The real fun comes from collecting the chips during gameplay. For instance, if a player plays the corresponding card on the mat/tray they collect the chips from that slot. If one player lays the 7-8-9 or 8-9-10 down sequentially, they get the pot from that slot. The first person to play their entire hand wins the Kitty.

The person at the end of each round who had the best poker hand is awarded the Poker Pot.

Some families play until each player has dealt or they keep going until the card table has been flipped over and one person declares "This game is stupid"! Others play until one player has 100 points too, but any way you decide to play will work.

Michigan Rummy is fun simply because it doesn't take a ton of skill—in fact, it's mostly luck. So grab the family, make some Puppy Chow, pour some Faygo, and enjoy a Pure Michigan evening with family and friends.

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