Or perhaps it would be better to call this “How to Play Basic Rummy in the CardShark App”. It’s on iOS, not sure about other device platforms. The rules of the game are pretty standard, and should apply to other apps of this game, as well as in real life.

The Game

This post isn’t so much an article about this game, as it is about breaking up the really huge article about getting better at task-switching so it’s not overwhelming to you or WordPress.

Here’s a summary and screenshots of Basic Rummy in case you’re not familiar with it.

CardShark uses an automated second player. Each player starts with ten cards. Melds are in threes, such as three of kind, or three in a row of the same suit. Players can play off of existing melds, such as completing the set of fives in the second picture below.


This game has what I think are really annoying melding rules:

  • Only one set of cards can be melded at a time. Such as three 3s or ace+2+3 of the same suit.
  • You can’t play a meld after playing off of an existing meld.
  • For example, to complete the set of 5s and play three 3s, the 3s have to be put in one of those little boxes first and then the 5 can be added.
  • If the 5 is played first, the 3s have to wait until the next turn.
  • A meld can be more than three cards, such as all of the 5s, or a run from 2 to 8 of the same suit.
  • And aces can only be used as 1s. Meaning ace, two, three is ok, but queen, king, ace is not.


Scoring happens at the end of the round:

  • An ace is one point, two through nine are face value, and ten through king are ten points each.
  • The score is whatever’s left in the hand after hand is over.
  • Whichever player goes out first wins the hand. There’s no bonus for this. You just don’t make any points.
  • The other player adds up all the points of the cards in their hand.
  • Note that their points go to the person who won the hand.
  • This is why it’s a good idea to play those melds, so you’re not stuck with these points!
  • If the draw pile is played out and both players are still holding cards, both players add up the cards in their hand.
  • And yes, you each get the number of points in the other player’s hand.
  • The game is played to 100 points.
  • But wait! See that shaded out Rummy button under my cards?
  • This is when I save up the plays, meaning keeping sets and offs in my hand, and then play them all at once.
  • In this case, the opponent counts up their points and then doubles it. Woo hooo!


There’s not a lot of strategy in this one. Relative to other games, at least. It’s definitely more strategy than figuring out what the dog is gonna get into tonight.

Wait. Nope. The dog’s whims need more thought on my part so things I care about aren’t damaged, including the dog.

Figuring out whether to pick up the top card of the discard pile is straightforward. If it completes a meld, pick it up. If it might make a meld with at least two other cards, pick it up.

For an example, check out the first picture. I will pick up the King of Hearts. It completes a meld of kings. It can also be used as a run with the Queen of Hearts.

Whether to meld, or hold on, takes a bit more thought.

This hand has just started. Meaning the other player probably isn’t likely to go out right away.

And I already have the Jack, Queen, and King of Clubs. I’ll hold on to all of these for a few draws to see if the Hearts run can happen, or if the other player melds something that makes that impossible, such as the Jack of Hearts.

When that happens, the three kings get played the very next draw.

Deciding which card to discard is fairly formulaic for me.

Which cards are not in use as a possible meld in the future? Before the other player goes out, that is.

Of those, can any be played off of any of the existing melds?

Of what’s left, which card will be the most points if the other player goes out?

Ok, get rid of that one.

Yep, this game definitely helps my brain chill, giving it time to reset for doing something else, without taking a nap. Thank goodness.